Analysis Of Oscar Lewis As The Culture Of Poverty Essay

Analysis Of Oscar Lewis As The Culture Of Poverty Essay

Length: 1060 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The idea that people of poor communities conform to a living standard and behavior is a concept described by Oscar Lewis as the culture of poverty. It is the belief that poor people consists of their own beliefs and values and behaviors. And more than 45 years later after the term, the culture of poverty paradigm remains the same: there is a consistent and observable culture that is shared by people in poverty. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as the culture of poverty. differences in behaviors and values among those that are poor are just as significant as those between wealthy and poor. The culture of poverty is a construct of smaller stereotypes which seem to have implanted themselves into the collective conscience of mainstream thought as undeniable fact. However, as we will see, nothing could be further from the truth. Based on 6 most common myths of what defines poor from wealthy, I will provide evidence to the contrary.









The Misconceptions of Being Poor

Myth 1: People are poor because they are lazy and refuse to work.
The truth is that poor people do not have a weak work ethic or lower motivations than that of wealthier people. 60% of children from low income families have at least one parent working full time and year round. Another 83% have at least one parent employed. What seems to be at stake here is the shortage of living wage jobs which translates to working adults having to work two, three and even four jobs. Poor working adults actually spend more time working than the wealthier workers in the same market.

Myth 2: Most poor people are minorities.
Despite the routine portrayal of poor people as African American or Latino, most of the poor in the U.S. are white. According to the census numbers of 2013,...


... middle of paper ...


... their social stature, generally derived from example or a common misinterpretation of the facts. American history has shown our nation as one of the wealthiest nations in the world and the misconception that even if one is poor, one is still fairly well off than the poor in other nations. And while we do have charitable and governmental assistance for those in the poverty level, we simply do not have a guarantee for the quality of life at the level other countries provide. Charity and government assistance programs are effective, however the effects can be hard to determine as census taking on the impoverished in America is increasingly difficult. The numbers will never be accurate, but census can only account for a percentage of charity. It’s up to the individual to change one’s perspective to make any real change on how we perceive our fellow man, woman and child.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay about The Culture of Poverty: Oscar Lewis

- 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....   [tags: marxism, victimization, subculture]

Strong Essays
1947 words (5.6 pages)

Poverty Between Poverty And Poverty Essay

- 1.) The poverty line is disputed to be set too low by some, in order for poverty to be present there has to be many unfortunate circumstances existing, in other words, the standard of living for those in poverty has to be barely livable. Our SSI text states that the official definition of poverty in regards to nutrition is that a person is expected to live on less than a dollar per meal, this is not a healthy way to live long term (Kerbo, 2012). Another criticism of the poverty line is that it is measured on income prior to taxes being taken out....   [tags: Poverty, Sociology, Cycle of poverty]

Strong Essays
1325 words (3.8 pages)

The Culture Of Poverty And The Underclass Essay

- The Culture of Poverty and the Underclass. Poverty is defined as the state in which income of an individual is insufficient to provide basic necessities, such as food, shelter, or clothing. On the basis of insufficiency, poverty is broadly classified into two types, namely, absolute poverty and relative poverty (Steinour, 2016). Absolute poverty occurs when the insufficiency is so severe that it is life threatening. For example, cases where an individual is unable to afford basic amenities like medicines, a safe home, food, that could lead to the death of that individual is said to be absolute poverty....   [tags: Poverty, Sociology, Poverty threshold]

Strong Essays
1010 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on The Children Of Sanchez By Oscar Lewis

- The book The Children of Sanchez by Oscar Lewis is about a poor family in Mexico City. The father in the family is Jesus Sanchez, who is fifty years old and he has four children, Manual (32), Robert (29), Consuelo (27) and Marta (25). The main idea behind the book is to provide the readers with the way that such a family tends to live. For instance, even though these are five grown adults, they have to share a one-room apartment that is located in a slum tenement in Mexico City, which is one of the largest and greatest cities in Latin America....   [tags: Poverty, Cycle of poverty, Mexico]

Strong Essays
908 words (2.6 pages)

Poverty And Poverty Of A Liberal Democracy Essay

- For many years scholars have argue about poverty and whether cultural or structural factors contribute to this problem. Poverty by definition is when a person lacks the means to satisfy basic needs in a society. In this paper I will discuss intergenerational poverty and how it’s affected by the concepts of class, culture, and community. Intergenerational poverty is so troubling in a liberal democracy because we live in a country that offers so many opportunities to obtain the “American Dream” but for poor people that dream is so hard to obtain....   [tags: Poverty, Sociology, African American]

Strong Essays
1154 words (3.3 pages)

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]

Free Essays
1204 words (3.4 pages)

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]

Strong Essays
1336 words (3.8 pages)

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]

Strong Essays
1330 words (3.8 pages)

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]

Strong Essays
902 words (2.6 pages)

Poverty : A Culture Of Poverty Essay

- A Culture of Poverty Why are poor people poor. Why do poor people seem to stay poor. Some scholars blame the preceding postulations on the the attitudes and behaviors of the culture. Others blame a culture of poverty on the specific individuals that form the culture. Hence, the controversy surrounding the culture of poverty is generated from assumptions that are placed upon the examined community. Assumptions that are placed on the culture lead to an unyielding cycle amongst the inhabitants of the culture....   [tags: Poverty, Cycle of poverty, Sociology]

Strong Essays
715 words (2 pages)