For more than 40 years social scientist investigating the causes of poverty have tended to treat cultural explanation like lord voldemort: that which most not be name. The reticence was a legacy of the ugly battles that erupted after Daniel Patrick Moynihan introduce the idea of a culture of poverty to the public in a startling 1965 report. The term culture in this case is define as: the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize an institution organization or group. His description of the Urban black family as caught in an inescapable tangle of pathology of unmarried mothers and welfare dependency was seen as attributing self-perpetuating moral deficiencies to poor families. Moynihans analysis never lost its appeal to conservative thinkers, whose arguments ultimately succeeded when president Clinton signed a bill in 1996 ending welfare as we know it. But in the overwhelmingly liberal ranks of academic sociology and anthropology the word culture became a live grenade and the idea that attitudes and behavior patterns kept people poor was unfortunately shunned.The phrase culture of poverty was coin by the anthropologist Oscar Lewis.
The culture of poverty concept is a social theory explaining the cycle of poverty. based on the concept that poor have a unique value system, the culture of poverty theory suggest the poor remain in poverty because of their adaptation to the burdens of poverty. The term subculture of poverty later shortened to culture of poverty made it first prominent appearance in the ethnography ( five families mexican case studies in the culture of poverty (1959) by anthropologist Oscar Lewis. Lewis struggled to render the poor as legitimate subject whose lives were transformed by poverty. He argued that although the burdens of poverty were systemic ad therefore imposed upon these member of society, they led to the formation of an autonormous subculture as children were socialized into behaviors and attitudes that perpetuated their inability to to escape the underclass. The people in the culture of poverty have a strong feeling of marginality, of helplessness, of dependency, of not belonging. they are like alien in their own countries, convinced that the existing institution do not serve their interest and need. Along with this feeling of powerlessness is a widespread feeling of inferiority, or personal unworthiness. Now after decades of silence, these scholars are speaking openly about culture of poverty, conceding that culture and persitent poverty are enmeshed. We are finally reached the stage were people aren't afraid of being politically incorrect, Douglass a sociologist at Princeton who has argued that Moynihan was unfairly maligned.The old debate has shaped the new. Last month Princeton and the Brooking institution released a collection of papers on unmarried parents, a subject, it noted, that became off-limits after the Moynihan report. A recent annual meeting of the american Sociological Association, attendees discussed the resurgences of scholarship on culture. And in Washington last spring, social scientist participated in a congressional briefing on culture and poverty linked to a special issue of the annals, the journal of the American Academy of political and social science.
future is back on the poverty research agenda, the introduction declares , acknowledging that it should never had been removed. The has generated interest on capital hill because so much of the research intersect with policy debates. View of cultural roots of poverty play important roles in shaping how lawmakers choose to address poverty issues. this surge of academic research also come as the percent age of american living in poverty hit a 15 year hight: one in seven,or 44 million. the reason a neighborhood turn into poverty trap is also related to a common perception of the way people in a community act and think, that why social utopian are so wrong while encouraging a system of dependency, such system will cause in increase in poverty, because it will shape the way people think, push them to be dependent of the welfare system or the arrogant aristocrat, who think they know better.