Preview
Preview

Urban Sociology: The Underclass Essay

Missing Works Cited
Length: 2168 words (6.2 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



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

What does the concept of the underclass refer to? Pay particular attention to the work of W. J. Wilson or similar contributions to urban sociology.



The following essay will examine various analyses on the concept of underclass, particularly in relation to American society. It will put forward the main definitions and characteristics of the theories that are attempting to define and understand underclass. A historical definition will be given introducing the concept, followed by factors that help identify underclass. Unfortunately these defining and identifying characteristics are plagued by different perceptual viewpoints. These viewpoints, in the debate on the subject of underclass, are the foundational divisions between the two main theoretical opinions of the Structuralists and Cultural Determinists. The claims of both the Structuralists and Cultural Determinists as to the conception and development of the underclass will therefore be highlighted. The Structuralist views and theoretical contributions of in particular W.J. Wilson, Van Haitsma and Auletta will be dealt with as to provide a more congruent understanding of the origin and persistence of the underclass.

In the past the concept of underclass has been characterised by four primary factors: A continuous lack of basic human resources; Financial earnings and family structure that are below society’s standards; A concentrated area characterised by extreme lack of socio-economic resources; And transference of conduct, that is deemed inappropriate by society, across different age groups (Van Haitsma, 1989:27). Identifying the underclass can also be understood in terms of: A physical location of people living in close-proximity to each other with certain tr...


... middle of paper ...


...underclass, it is important to take into account that each group’s analysis of the factors determining underclass is based on different classification of topics, such as ethnic background, occupation and family unit, and even the perceptions in the community are to be taken into consideration (Marks, 1991:446). Therefore since the reasons and explanations have not been quite clear-cut or black-and-white, theorists have in recent times begun to review the archaic concept of underclass in both Cultural Determinist and Structural explanations, and combine the relevant parts of both theories upon which a stronger, more coherent theoretical explanation could be built. This holistic approach, will then provide better and increasingly relevant information for policymakers responsible for devising effective plans that will benefit society as a whole, subcultures included.


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 Underclass and Structural Racism Essay - William Julius Wilson, a sociologist, refers to the urban poor as the "underclass". The primary issue facing members of the underclass is "joblessness reinforced by an increasing social isolation in an impoverished neighborhood". (1) They not only suffer from lower socioeconomic status, minimal education, and lack of opportunities, but they are further victimized by a lack of community safeguards and resources. The underclass’s defining characteristic is the absence of job opportunities coupled with the absence of societal supports....   [tags: Sociology Essays 2014]
:: 3 Works Cited
580 words
(1.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Urban Poverty: The Underclass - In tackling the problem of urban poverty, William Julius Wilson calls for a revitalization of the liberal perspective in the ghetto underclass debate. He claims that liberals dominated the discussions with compelling and intelligent arguments until the advent of the controversial Moynihan report in 1965, which claimed that “at the heart of the deterioration of the Negro society is the deterioration of the Negro family” (Moynihan), After that, liberals avoided any research that might result in stigmatization of particular racial minorities....   [tags: Urban Decay, Urban Poor, 2014]
:: 5 Works Cited
2600 words
(7.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Two Major Causes of the Urban Underclass Essay - Soc. 456 The Two Major Causes of the Urban Underclass Today in the United States, as well as in many other affluent, industrialized nations, there exists an urban underclass, which is defined as a class of people that comprises members of low-income households who have little or no participation in the workforce (Gilbert 2003, p. 274). Currently there are predominantly two distinct, conflicting views of why the underclass exists. On one hand, there is the notion that the underclass is simply the result of its members, who lack values and morals, and advocate unemployment (Whitman and Thornton 1986)....   [tags: essays research papers] 1881 words
(5.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Urban Sociology - Order for Sociology Degree - Modernity Module Introduction In metropolitan areas urban sociology is the sociological research of life and human interaction and their role in the growth of society. Urban sociologists use statistical study, as well as immigration, financial side, scarcity, race relations and style. Modern urban sociology creates from the work of sociologists such as Max Weber and Georg Simmel who intentional and put forward the economic, social and intellectual development of urbanization and its consequences....   [tags: Human Interaction, Growth of Society]
:: 7 Works Cited
2279 words
(6.5 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Urban Inequality Essay - The contemporary field of urban sociology provides substantive examinations that engage both a macro- and micro-lens into the construction of urban spaces and inequalities. In the discussion that follows I address some of the leading theories and common threads that enable urban sociologists to engage in the comprehensive examination of how and why urban inequality persists. In the final section, I draw upon theorists and propose a research perspective that I believe might help to further advance the sociological inquiry of urban inequality....   [tags: Urban Sociology Research Paper]
:: 26 Works Cited
3286 words
(9.4 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
Modern Urban Sociology Essay - Introduction One of the mainly electrifying essentials of contemporary period is the urbanisation of the globe. For sociological reasons a city is a comparatively great, crowded and lastingly community of diverse individuals. In metropolitan areas urban sociology is the sociological research of life, human interaction and their role in the growth of society. Modern urban sociology creates from the work of sociologists such as Max Weber and Georg Simmel who put forward the economic, social and intellectual development of urbanisation and its consequences....   [tags: urbanization of the globe, Baudelaire] 1504 words
(4.3 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Eugenics Essay - Taken from the Greek word eugenes meaning ‘good in stock’ the term ‘eugenics’ was coined in 1883 By Francis Galton (1822-1911). Today it is defined by the OED as ‘Pertaining or adapted to the production of fine offspring, esp. in the human race.’ We will attempt to explain what eugenics was within in the context of its time and how it was to be applied to humans. We will also attempt to identify who its supporters were and the many different reasons why the eugenic doctrine appealed to them. The problem of what to do about the urban poor had been a continuing worry for the middle classes since the mid nineteenth century....   [tags: Sociology] 2214 words
(6.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Sociology Essay - Sociology is a field which developed over a millennia ago, but it was not until the nineteenth century that it came into the fore as a bona fide social science, in need of its own classification apart from other social sciences. Sociology, 'the study of the process of companionship';(pg.396, Ambercrombie,Hill,Turner), is a discipline, which is not exclusively independent in and of its self, yet borrows from many other disciplines such as: history, geography, and anthropology. 'American sociology is fundamentally analytical and empirical; it proposes to examine the way of life of individuals in the societies … prefers to explain institutions and structures in terms of the behavior...   [tags: Sociology Essays]
:: 8 Works Cited
1491 words
(4.3 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Sociology Essays - Sociology Miss Rowbotham Education Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the contribution of functionalist sociology to an understanding of the role of education in society A) Explain what is meant by ‘streaming’. (2 marks) Streaming is when you organise children into different classes in school depending on their ability. B) Give two examples of ways in which the school curriculum may be seen as ethnocentric. (4 marks) The school curriculum may be seen as ethnocentric as they only teach main culture/religion subjects and they do not give children a broad education....   [tags: Sociology Essays] 641 words
(1.8 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Sociology Essay - Intro to Sociology When asked about transsexuals, Mildred Brown, author of True Selves quoted that it is a “dilemma of feeling trapped in the wrong physical gender.” Transsexuality is a phenomenon, which really has not been scientifically examined. Through talk shows such as Jerry Springer, Jenny Jones or the Maury Show, society tends to see a one-sided view on this matter. While watching the Maury Show, “Man or Woman”, the audience’s reaction to the transsexuals on stage were not of disgust but more of awe....   [tags: Sociology Essays] 979 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]