When discussing the issue of poverty and ‘the poor’, it is crucial to identify and explore the forces that lead to the social exclusion of the poor rather than focusing on the characteristics of these individuals. By focusing on these forces, it becomes easier to identify and explore possible ways to lessen poverty, empower the poor and alleviate social exclusion whereas focusing on the individual will not create a solution.
No one person is born poor, although they may be born into a poor family or community, and therefore the focus should be on the society and the forces which created poverty that affect the lives of these people and cause them to be socially excluded. There are many forces which contribute to the exclusion of poor people from society, some of which include but not limited to Power, Class, Gender and Racial discrimination etc. These causes goes on to having negative such as poverty, Unemployment, inequality, Poor Health, homelessness, lack of education and training, poor social welfare etc. on the lives of these group of people.
Clearly, there are quite a number of factors that could be explored when discussing the issue of social exclusion of poor people within the society. This essay will however, only explore two of these factors including their effects and also look at some sociological views on the issue.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary class is defined: “as a system of ordering society whereby people are divided into sets based on perceived social or economic status”.
This definition suggests that social class is a system whereby people within the society are divided into groups based on how much wealth and privileges they have or do not have, meaning; the rich and the poor. Social class remains a largely discuss theory amongst sociologist, and each one take a completely different approach.
Karl Marx: 1818-1883
Throughout his work, Marx showed great concern about the existence of social class within the society and therefore was interested in exploring its impacts on the people, particularly, the lower class group and how they are being treated. In His finding, Marx soon realized the predicament of the lower class which made him feel that it was imperative to strive for changes in the class structure of society.
In his earlier work, Marx argue that there were two social classes – the owners of the means of production (capitalists) and the workers and added that the ability to work, was the only thing the workers owned, Marx called this “labor power.” Furthermore, Marx also shared his views on social relations between these classes which he says depend on who controls the primary mode of economic production, such as land or factories. Marxist approach to the study of class is helpful in highlighting the importance of class is a factor that contributes to the social behavior and the major separation of these two classes; the poor and the rich.
Max Weber: 1864 – 1920
Unlike Marx, Weber’s views on class are...