Discuss How Far Sociologists Would Agree That the Causes of Poverty Lie in the Attitudes and Values of the Poor Themselves.

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Sociologists explain poverty in a number of different ways. Some sociological explanations of poverty say that the problem is with the attitudes and values of the poor, while other explanations say that the problem is with society and the economy. One explanation of poverty is the culture of poverty, which refers to the attitudes and values that people in poverty have. Poor people think that they can't change their situation and will always be poor, so they tend not to aim high and don’t make sacrifices as they feel that they won't achieve much. They also live for the moment (present gratification). Some sociologists say that these attitudes and values prevent people from escaping poverty. For example, the attitudes and values of the poor mean that many don't stay in education, so they can't use qualifications to escape from their poverty. Some sociologists criticise this explanation of poverty because although it shows how people in poverty might adapt to their situation, it doesn't explain why people are in poverty in the first place. Another explanation of poverty is the poverty cycle. The poverty cycle means that poverty is passed on through generations. In the poverty cycle, children who are born into poverty have a deprived childhood - they experience material and cultural deprivation, and as a result of this they are less likely to do well at school, gain qualifications and stay in education beyond the minimum school leaving age. This means that their future opportunities are limited because their lack of qualifications means that the jobs available to them are mostly unskilled and low-paid. Consequently, they are likely to live in poverty as adults. If they become parents, their children will be born into poverty and the cycle of deprivation is continued. Some sociologists say that this is the reason why poverty continues to exist - by having children,
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