There are three frameworks or approaches in the examination of poverty: the neo-classical conservative, the liberal and the radical schools. In this paper, I argue that the radical school of thought best approaches poverty from a standpoint that allows for the liberation of minorities from hegemonic norms. First, I will examine the conservative school understanding of poverty and how they inadequately address the values and views of minorities that result in oppressive policies. Second, I will critique the liberal school and how that paradigm also ineffectively acknowledges the perspectives of minorities that also lead to policies that are unjust. Finally, I will review the radical school and demonstrate how this framework best understands poverty from a viewpoint that allows for comprehensive liberating policy for the economically excluded.
The Conservative View:
The conservative school of thought fails to address the perspectives of the impoverished that results in oppressive social welfare policies. The conservative school understands the poor consisting of minorities (women, blacks and immigrants). As Schram (1995), suggest the conservative thought views the behavior of individuals as the cause of poverty. For example, Mead (2000) postulates that poverty results from negative behavior of non-working people. The objective supposition from the conservative view results in biases that avoid bringing in individual interpretation in research (Schram, 1995). The policies advances leave out any analysis of the needs and imaginaries of those minorities the conservatives perceive as impoverished. As a result oppressive paternalistic policy materially enforces appropriate behavior standards that are set by the non-poor.
The Liberal School:
Like the conservative school, the liberal school fails to understand and inadequately addresses the standpoints of the people they study resulting in oppressive policies. Unlike the conservative school, the liberal schools sees the cause of poverty resulting from loss of jobs, super ghettos, poor education (Wacquant, L., Wilson J. 1989). Essentially poverty to the liberal occurs naturally resulting from the relationship an individual has with his or her geographical space. The liberal school also postulates their policy research as independent and unbiased (Schram, 1995). Wilson (1996) shows how the above liberal assumptions result in research whose methods focus more on the impoverished individual relationship as being formed by the space the individual lives in (Schram, 1995). Space impacts upon the individual and the liberal school avoids any suggestion of wider mutually constituted relationships. Like the conservative school, the impartial supposition from the liberal view results in bias that avoids bringing in individual interpretation in research (Schram, 1995). As a result, the liberal ideology results in oppressive policies imposed upon the poor from outside sources and fail to...