Sociology Of Poverty Midterm Essay

4901 words - 20 pages

Mid-Term QuestionsQuestion 1: Discuss in detail three of the four perspectives on what causes some people to be poor. Also discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each perspective.Poverty is a social problem that has hit the world in full force, especially in the United States. In 2008, 13.2 percent of the U.S. population was in poverty. This is the highest poverty rate since 1997. There have been many discussions as to what causes poverty. There are three important perspectives that give insight as to what causes poverty: Flawed Character Perspective, Restricted Opportunity Perspective, and Structural Perspective.The first perspective that will be addressed is the Flawed Character Perspective. The basis of this perspective says that it is the victims fault for being poor. There are four important things to remember when looking at the Flawed perspective. Innate Inferiority: Elites believe that the poor are innately inferior, which is like social Darwinism. They believe that poverty is nature's way of keeping the "unfit" from gaining wealth. Cultural Inferiority: The elites also believe that the poor keep themselves poor, by the way they adapt to life. This implies that the way they handle their surroundings is causing them to stay in poverty. Liberal Individualism: In American society it is believed that people, who take care of themselves, have good responsibility and diligence, will get ahead and make it in life. America is placed with this ideal that there is opportunity for everyone and we measure people by their success and stability. Human Capital Theory: People, who get ahead financially, get ahead because of smart investments and those who don't chose incorrectly. This whole perspective blames the individual for matters out of their control.The next perspective is the Restricted Opportunity Perspective, which is in opposition to the Flawed Character Perspective. This perspective states that the conditions the poor are in are beyond an individual's control. The poor are unable to get good schools and jobs; therefore, they are unable to get ahead in life. There is a drive to get better jobs but society discriminates based on race, sex, and class so they can never reach their goals. There are four reasons why people are poor: 1. Structural factors, 2. Structural opportunities, 3. the poor are discriminated against, 4. the poor are not harnessed by government structure. This perspective is one of the more viable options, similar to the structural perspective.The last perspective is Structural Perspective, which views poverty as a permanent societal problem. Society is set up so that minorities are given lower quality jobs, education, and income. The Critical Race Theory exemplifies what this perspective states. The United States is characterized by race. Race is a social construct in place to reserve the privileges of whites by suppressing people of race. Minorities are less likely to be wealthy than whites in America. Because America is a...

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