Preview
Preview

Essay about The Culture of Poverty: Oscar Lewis

:: 3 Works Cited
Length: 1947 words (5.6 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Culture of Poverty is a theory that was introduced by Oscar Lewis, and is defined as “a 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.” (Lewis, p19) This concept which has helped shape the liberal discourse of the 1960s, purports that there are persons who remain mired in poverty because their lifestyle entrenches them in the low socioeconomic bracket which in turn obstructs their social mobility. David L. Harvey with contribution by Michael Reed, analyzed Lewis’ theory in their paper The Culture of Poverty: An Ideological Analysis. In this writing they concluded that Lewis was rooted in a Marxist background and argued that liberal and conservative thinkers have misinterpreted its application over the years. Harvey and Reed’s critique will be used to examine the conservative position on poverty that Lawrence Mead uses in his writing of The Logic of Workfare: the Underclass and Work Policy, and the validity of Harvey and Reed’s position will also be assessed.
In 1958, Oscar Lewis began to research the subject of poverty, the results of which provided the foundation for his theory “The Culture of Poverty.” Lewis’ research revealed that those living in poverty displayed an ongoing pattern which was passed on through generations and therefore, their social trajectory was predictable. Data was collected from families in Mexico and Puerto Rico and Lewis (1966) documented the observations made on aspect of these groups of families, including “residence and employment history of each adult, family relations; income and expenditure; complete inventory of household and personal possessio...


... middle of paper ...


...scar Lewis makes a statement to this effect…” and “Along similar lines, the position taken by Daniel P. Moynihan…[emphasis ours].” (p.472) This is a direct example of a writer manipulating a work to prove their argument. The second writer was Carol Stack who piggy backed off of Valentines discussion of how Lewis victimized those living in power by highlighting that he viewed the poor in a negative manner.



Works Cited

Harvey L. D., Reed M.H., The Culture of Poverty: An Ideological Analysis, Sociological Perspective, Volume 29, NO.4 (Winter 1996), pp. 465-495
Marx, K. & Engels, F. Manifesto of the Communist Party
Lewis O., The Culture of Poverty, Scientific American, Oct. 1966, Volume 215, No. 4, pp. 19-25
Mead L., The Logic of Workfare: The Underclass and Work Policy, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 1989, pp. 156-169



Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
The Cycle of Poverty Essay - America is one of the wealthiest nations on earth with having a high inequality than other industrialized country. Inequality exists in income, wealth, power and education. Persons who are legally and socially poor in the United states tend to stay in a cycle through life, not always by choice but because they are given fewer opportunities, education and tools to achieve success. Poverty class has a much larger income gap than the upper class, the American Dream is lessens through opportunity and is shown through statistics....   [tags: US poverty essay, social issues]
:: 7 Works Cited
1204 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Evaluating the View that Poverty is Caused by Economic Inequality Rather than Cultural Attitudes and Lifestyles - Evaluating the View that Poverty is Caused by Economic Inequality Rather than Cultural Attitudes and Lifestyles There is much debate in sociology that poverty is caused by structural factors such as economic inequality and those who state that it is caused by cultural factors such as attitudes, values and lifestyles. The first group say that the poor are made to be poor by the economic and political systems, they state that the poor are prevented from achieving a good standard of living by the actions of the more powerful in society and that those with the least power are poor....   [tags: Poverty Essays] 1336 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Poverty and Sociology Essay - In 2010, about 46.2 million people were considered poor. The nation’s poverty rate rose to 15.1 percent, whereas in 2009, 14.3 percent of people in America were living in poverty (Censky, 2011). That is an increase of 2.6 million people in 2010. In the United States, the federal poverty line – an absolute measure of annual income – is frequently used to determine who is categorized as poor (Ferris & Stein, 2008, 2010). Currently the government defines the poverty line as an income of $11,139 for an individual and $22,314 for a family of four (Censky, 2011)....   [tags: Sociology Essays] 1330 words
(3.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Assessment of the Usefulness of Individualistic Theories of the Causes of Poverty - Assessment of the Usefulness of Individualistic Theories of the Causes of Poverty An individualistic (cultural) perspective suggests that poverty comes as a result of behaviour and lifestyle more likely to result in poverty. This perspective is often referred to as ‘victim-blaming’. They are said to be ‘work shy’, preferring instead to live on state welfare benefits. This explanation of poverty argues that the poor' subculture may be so pervasive that these deviant attitudes are reproduced from one generation to another by parents who act as ‘deviant role-models’ to their children....   [tags: Papers] 902 words
(2.6 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay on Selling in the Barrio: The Culture of Poverty - ... In a most basic sense Primo did not have the cultural training to fit into this middle or upper class world. Bourgois referred to this culture as an alien culture because it was significantly different from anything Primo would have known. On the one hand his boss did not respect him nor did she trust his abilities. Yet on the other, Primo was not willing to conform to this foreign culture. In reality he was not physically or mentally able to assimilate. This idea of the minority or “inferior” culture being forced to conform to the majority or “superior” culture is due to cultural causes....   [tags: social, problems, success, poverty] 1168 words
(3.3 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Poverty in Canada: Relative Poverty Measurement Essay - ... It looks to see if what would happen if you bought only that was required and nothing else. This is different from the LICO measurement which looks to see if Canadians have enough income after necessities are purchased to live like a Canadian. It is the availability to have necessities that defines poverty in the MBM whereas the ability to have after It appears quite obviously then that the LICO measurement is most helpful to Canadian policy makers. The key word here is Canadian. If these policy makers are determining how poverty is affecting Canadians than a world standard is ineffective since Canada is a wealthy, highly advanced capitalist country....   [tags: culture, history, absolute poverty]
:: 5 Works Cited
1788 words
(5.1 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Morality In C.S. Lewis' That Hideous Strength And Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray - The crucial theme present throughout C.S. Lewis' "That Hideous Strength" and Oscar Wilde's "The picture of Dorian Gray" is morality, and how it can be influenced. The main characters in C. S. Lewis' novel, Mark and Jane Studdock, go through very contradicting paths and join opposite in objectives, organizations; at the same time they share similar feelings (solitude, confusion, paranoia) and carry out immoral actions in the attempt to run away from the problems. On the other hand, in Oscar Wilde's novel, the young, beautiful, inexperienced, naïve, Dorian Gray; influenced by his new friend Lord Henry Wotton, forgets his moral values and lives in constant pursuit of individual pleasu...   [tags: Wilde CS Lewis ] 754 words
(2.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis Essays - The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis         The Abolition of Man is perhaps the best defense of natural law to be       published in the twentieth century. The book is outstanding not because       its ideas are original, but because it presents so clearly the common       sense of the subject, brilliantly encapsulating the Western natural law       tradition in all its Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian glory. Interestingly,       Lewis' defense of objective morality here resonates not only with ideas       from the giants of Western thought (including Plato, Aristotle, Augustine,       and Aquinas), but also draws on the wisdom of the East, including Confucius...   [tags: Lewis Abolition of Man Essays] 1199 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Marriage in Babbit by Sinclair Lewis - Marriage in Babbit by Sinclair Lewis In the novel Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis touches upon various issues that characterize American society. Marriage was one of these various issues that Lewis focused on. In the story, George Babbitt was married and his best friend, Paul Riesling, was married. They both seemed uneasy about their marriages and were not pleased with their situations. George always seemed to care less for Myra, "she was as sexless as an anemic nun... no one, save [except] Tinka, was all interested in her or entirely aware that she was alive" (Lewis 7)....   [tags: Lewis Babbitt Essays] 1724 words
(4.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Poverty and Deprivation Essay - Poverty and Deprivation Absolute (or subsistence) Poverty is a term used to describe poverty that is measured as being without the resources to maintain health and physical efficiency. Basic human needs such as an amount of food, clothes and shelter are ways that ‘being in’ absolute poverty is measured. “a family is poor if it cannot afford to eat”. (Keith Joseph, 1979). The concept of absolute poverty was developed by Rowntree in the 19th century. Usually measured as a minimum sum of money....   [tags: Global Poverty Essays] 1720 words
(4.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]