Culture of Poverty Essay

394 WordsSep 30, 20132 Pages
According to Oscar Lewis, there is a failure to distinguish between poverty and what he has called “the culture of poverty.” He defines the culture of poverty as, “ The label for a specific conceptual model that describes in positive terms a subculture of Western society with its own structure and rationale, a way of life handed on from generation to generation along family lines.” The culture of poverty theory (Oscar Lewis 1966) seeks to analyze poverty not as a matter of deprivation or lacking something but as a culture, which is something that provides human beings with a design for living. This is the approach that I would be taking to assess a community in Laventille on Thomasine Street. In the study “Cultural Diversity and Poverty Eradication by Michèle Lamont and Mario Small (November 30, 2007) ” they choose to examine the relationship between culture and poverty by paying close attention to cultural diversity, economic development, and the challenges facing the reduction of poverty in a culturally complex world. This study builds on the work of Harrison (1985) who believes that individuals continue to live in poverty because of cultural beliefs and attitudes, and society’s failure to triumph underdevelopment because of their collective values. According to Harrison and Huntington (2000) countries in the Caribbean remain underdeveloped because of a lack of social cohesion, inclination to justice and interest in engaging their full potential. They suggest that in order for poverty to be reduced, the culture must be addressed more seriously than many have been willing to in the past. According to Oscar Lewis, this “culture of poverty” wherever it occurs, the structure of family, interpersonal relations, spending habits and value systems all exhibit similar characteristics. He believes that in order for this way of life to come

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