A key thinker, Charles Murray argues for the existence of a separate underclass on the basis of three social phenomena; extra marital births, crime and unemployment. The more prevalent these phenomena are, the larger the underclass. He argues that these individuals are of a separate class, having different social norms and what he classes as deviant behaviours (Murray, 1999). Murray’s key point is that the underclass find themselves in their position through their own choices, that those comprising the underclass are demarcated as such through their behaviour. He believes his evidence shows a quickly growing underclass in the US, and an emer...
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...or belong to a continuum of inequality, as it is both empirically based and objective. Additionally, it accepts that structural constraints have a significant affect on individual’s social position, and recognises that social mobility can happen, with extreme poverty highly frictional.
Alcock, P. (2006). Understanding Poverty. 3rd Edition. London, Palgrave Macmillan.
Kenworthy, L. (1999). Do social-welfare policies reduce poverty? A cross-national assessment. Social Forces, 77(3), 1119-1139.
Mead, L. (1986). Beyond Entitlement: The Social Obligations of Citizenship. New York: Free Press.
Murray, C (1986) Losing Ground, American Social Policy, 1950-1980. Basic Books, London.
Murray, C (1999) The Underclass Revisited. The American Enterprise Institute, Washington
Welshamn, J (2007). Underclass: A History of the Excluded. Bloomsbury Publishing, London.
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