“Culture of Poverty”

Please read the aricle from the link below (you may need to register on the site but it’s free) and answer the following questions.

  1.  Defining culture seems to be an important part of these emerging studies on poverty.  What definition of culture in the article did you find most appropriate? Is there another definition you think is better for these sensitive conversations? Why?
  2. Why is including culture in the conversation on poverty such a sensitive issue?  What kinds of problems arise?  Try to use concrete examples.  There are a few in the article.
  3. Finally, the article mentions the dichotomy of structural vs. cultural forces on poverty.  Give an example of each and discuss which you think has a stronger affect on groups of people who are consistently affected by poverty or in other words are affected by generational poverty? (Try not to generalize, instead rely on concrete data.)
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29 thoughts on ““Culture of Poverty”

  1. I found this definition of culture to be most important, “the way individuals in a community develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding.” I believe that if i was to try and define culture without being in the context of poverty, this is how i would define it. When you include culture in poverty conversations it becomes a sensitive issue because then people start to make assumptions, some of which are negative. For example, in the articles reference to young black men they state “If you don’t develop a tough demeanor, you won’t survive. If you have access to weapons, you get them, and if you get into a fight, you have to use them.” This is a statement that does not encompass all young black men and therefore is not correct. An example of structural forces on poverty is when violence is preventing the family from socializing outside of their family or parents who have not had a chance to attend college therefore their IQ is lower. Some examples of cultural forces are marriage, divorce, single parent and living together without being married. In today’s society cultural forces are almost easier to overcome because they are mostly opinion based. But for some people it’s hard to them to get past the views that other people might see or portray them as.

  2. Out of the different definitions that this article presented, I felt that the one that described it as being “shared understandings.” I suppose that culture is a sensitive in the conversation on poverty because people don’t generally want to admit that they have a hand in adding to the negative aspects of our societies. By participating in actions and “traditions” linked to a culture that may condone racism, sexism, and other oppressive beliefs, by sharing these understandings, they must take fault. An example of a structural force and a cultural force is discussed in the article when the author writes, “Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein’s controversial 1994 book, ‘The Bell Curve,’ which attributed African-Americans’ lower I.Q. scores to genetics.
    The authors claimed to have taken family background into account, Professor Wilson said, but ‘they had not captured the cumulative effects of living in poor, racially segregated neighborhoods.’ He added, ‘I realized we needed a comprehensive measure of the environment, that we must consider structural and cultural forces.’
    Personally, I feel that this proves that cultural forces have more of an impact because it tends to affect the structure; structure doesn’t necessarily affect the culture.

  3. Culture is a way one lives his or her; “the way individuals in a community develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding.” Through different backgrounds and traditions one develops culture. Culture’s vary, and today’s society we live in a melting pot. And it is important that people are tolerant of diverse cultures. The structure of society makes it difficult for the poverished to improve their standards of living: for example, Wilson states, “they had not captured the cumulative effects of living in poor, racially segregated neighborhoods.”

  4. Culture can be most accurately defined as “individuals in a community [developing] an understanding of how the world works and [making] decisions based on that understanding.” There exist various stigmas in the culture of poverty, with many believing that those who live in poverty choose to do so in an indirect manner, meaning their lethargy and unwillingness to take initiative led them to their current state of poverty. Common assumptions were challenged in the sociological study where residents of poor neighborhoods were asked about their lives, for example the belief that poor mothers remain single because they don’t value marriage. The opposite of the widely held beliefs and assumptions held true in this study: low-income mothers expressed their very positive views of marriage, and its sacred and profound nature. It seems as though they are more wary of deceit, and realize that a true partner is hard to find. The cultural forces, for example marital status, have a stronger affect on people in poverty than the structural forces. As Rep. Woolsey stated, “Values, norms, beliefs play very important roles in the way people meet the challenges of poverty.”

  5. The most appropriate definition I found to explain culture was “individuals in a community develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding.” If I were to describe culture, I would use this definition, but in sensitive situations, I would say that understanding of interactions in the world outside of impoverished neighborhoods is diminished each generational cycle. Including culture in the conversation on poverty is considered sensitive because it is looked at from a political view, and the policies that one votes for to end poverty depends on how one looks at the roots of poverty. This excerpt focuses on the previous research that gave inaccurate and unfair outlooks on poverty:
    “Scholars like Professor Wilson, 74, who have tilled the field much longer, mentioned the development of more sophisticated data and analytical tools. He said he felt compelled to look more closely at culture after the publication of Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein’s controversial 1994 book, “The Bell Curve,” which attributed African-Americans’ lower I.Q. scores to genetics.”
    I think that cultural forces have more of an effect on generational poverty than structural forces because cultural forces have to do with things such as unmarried mothers, which children take in and develop a tougher exterior to defend themselves in their lives without fathers, and it goes on and on in a cycle. Structural forces, like resources they lack, are where welfare comes in.

  6. The best definition for poverty, found in the article is that, “individuals in a community develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding.” I do not believe there is a better definition because this gives room to explain how people in poverty have a lower IQ, and also have poorer family roots and support. Culture is sometimes avoided when speaking about poverty because most people seen as living in poverty, as seen in this article, are Black individuals. As an example in this article, a young black man’s perspective on life and the world might be this, “If you don’t develop a tough demeanor, you won’t survive. If you have access to weapons, you get them, and if you get into a fight, you have to use them.” Here is a statement which does not to a good job of representing all of the young black community effected by their poverty. Therefore, it is incorrect to assume all people living in poverty are black young men. In the structural vs. cultural concept of poverty, structurally, the society today makes it difficult for people in poverty to reach their way out. In an cultural aspect for example, I found it interesting that women do believe in marriage profoundly, however, what their partners consist of in their poverty stricken community, are not exactly “marriage material.” I do agree with this statement made by Rep. Woolsey at last spring’s Congressional briefing: “What a concept. Values, norms, beliefs play very important roles in the way people meet the challenges of poverty.”

  7. 1. Defining culture seems to be an important part of these emerging studies on poverty. What definition of culture in the article did you find most appropriate? Is there another definition you think is better for these sensitive conversations? Why?

    The definition of culture that I found most appropriate was “shared understandings.” I think that pretty much sums up what culture in a general sense is. I live in a middle class areas with other middle class residents. On my block we have a shared understanding of who we are and how we are to behave. The same goes for people from upper and lower classes.

    2.Why is including culture in the conversation on poverty such a sensitive issue? What kinds of problems arise? Try to use concrete examples. There are a few in the article.

    I don’t think culture is a sensitive issue because it is necessary. Culture plays a big role in the different classes and the different classes form a culture of their own. Without culture, we would have no way of realizing what makes people who they are. With culture, we can see that poor people aren’t “lazy” or “irresponsible” but have influences, including economic and social, that keep them where ever they are, just like I am in the middle class.

  8. I think William Julius Wilson’s definition of culture is most appropriate. He says culture is “individuals in a community develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding. This makes sense and helps to show how and why different cultures emerge. Including culture in the conversation on poverty is a sensitive issue because one does not want to place the blame of poverty on a specific group nor do they want to stereotype a culture into being habitually impoverished. For example, with the envelope example, one does not want to stereotype that certain cultures are less conscientious or polite than others, however, some data might lead into that conclusion. A structural force on poverty is the violence in the neighborhoods which are found to have an effect on IQ scores and parenting styles. A cultural force on poverty is the view on marriage in certain neighborhoods. I think cultural forces have a stronger force on poverty because culture is something that is difficult to change and it is ingrained in the minds of the people of the culture. Structural factors can be changed more easily than cultural ones.

  9. I found the simple definition of culture as “shared understandings,” offered by Robert J. Sampson to be appropriate. In any community, as people live together and interact continually, they develop unwritten codes that guide their behavior. Thus there is no reason for explanation, because of this shared understanding.
    Including culture in poverty discussions is tricky because we must be careful about making judgments that one culture is better than another. Often if a group of people is poor, they are seen as being below others, and likewise the way they live—their culture—is looked down upon. For example, people who are living in poverty don’t usually have money to spend on books. So instead of reading, they tend to tell stories. This emphasis on oral interactions as part of their “culture,” has value insights about interpersonal skills to consider. However, negative attitudes often develop toward people from generational poverty and these traditions.
    A structural force would be inadequate access to health care whereas a cultural force may be story-telling traditions. I think they have a very complex interdependent relationship with structural forces feeding into and reinforcing cultural ones. The combination of these forces builds up to weigh upon the people in generational poverty.

  10. I think the definition that best fits culture form the article is the idea of “shared understandings” because people who are apart of the same culture usually share the same beliefs, ideas and perform the same rituals. They are all connected by a common thread, which is the culture that they live in.
    When discussing culture in the terms of poverty, it can become a sensitive subject because often times the line between that and racism can be blurred. There are some situations such as the “The Bell Curve” published by Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein, that stated that the lower I.Q. scores of African Americans is attributed to their genetics, that are seen as racist. When thinking about culture in terms of poverty it can often turn into generalizations or stereotyping instead of looking to the real root
    of the issue.
    Structural forces include living in areas where violence prevent the family from socializing or parents not being able to obtain a college education. These hinder families severely. Cultural forces include divorce, living with a partner that you are not married to and single motherhood. I believe that structural poverty has more of an effect on people. Cultural forces definitely do play a role, but structural forces, are issues that are ingrained in society creating a viscous cycle of poverty that is nearly impossible to break.

  11. The definition of culture that I found most appropriate is, ““individuals in a community develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding.” This definition helps explain and show how cultures come to be. Including culture in the conversation on poverty is sensitive because we don’t want to “blame” a particular culture for the reason why a person is living in poverty. An example of a structural force on poverty violence in the communities. With the violence comes people dropping out of school, and then the genetically lowered IQ points. A cultural force would be the single mothers not marrying because they feel that their child’s father isn’t “marriage material”. Cultural forces are the strongest ones I believe, because they are endowed on the person. They have grown up living and learning these ways, it’s nearly impossible to get an individual to stop doing what they have been brought up to do.

  12. I believe that the definition of culture I found most appropriate was that culture is “shared understandings.” I believe that using any definition of culture would be difficult to use in any of these situations. The reason for this is that no matter how you define culture, their will always be people that agree with it and there will always be people who disagree with it.

    Including culture in the conservation of poverty is a sensitive issue for several different reasons. One of the most important issues is that you will always unfairly label people, and the people that are unfailing labeled will be angry with you. An example of this that was mentioned breifly in the article was that “single mother’s do not value marriage”. This was not only found to be untrue, but it also does not take into account all of the reasons why a mother might be single, and it will never properly show the attitudes of all single mothers.

    An example of a structural force of poverty would be that your parents did not attend college or that growing up in areas where violence prevents people from interacting with no one but their families. Cultural forces would be having a single mother, or being in an environment where your parents only live together. I believe that structural probably has the more of an effect. This can be more seen by more people and it eventually becomes identifiable with different groups of people. Some people will accept the structure as their norm, and they will begin to live it ans spread it, simply because they believe that it is right.

  13. 1. To me, “shared understandings” is a perfectly legitimate definition of culture. It says a lot in just a few words by conveying the sense that the whole community has a common understanding of many varying things, including social behavior, economic expectations, and even self-evaluation. Since this simple definition is so vague, and in its vagueness, so universal and applicable, I feel that this is an appropriate definition with which to approch such a sensitive topic.

    2. Culture is difficult to add to a discussion about poverty for many reasons. Like the article states, talking about a “culture of poverty” is not considered particularly politically correct. This is because it is considered by some to be a form of profiling, saying all those in poverty share the same culture. Also, in America, we don’t really want to believe that such deep cultural differences exist between social classes. We want to think that social mobility is uninhibited by something like culture. However, it is good that culture is being considered now. Turning a blind eye on these facts will do nothing to promote lasting change for those living in poverty.

    3. The article discusses the different forces that act upon the impoverished, both structural and cultural. An example of a structural force would be something physical, such as how much money a person has, how much education he have recieved, or where he lives. On the other hand, cultural forces would be those that are not physical but are rather something the person has learned, how he acts, how he presents himself, or how he behaves in many varying social settings. Both of these undoubtedly have an effect on this person and whether or not he can overcome poverty. Personally, I don’t feel that either has a stronger effect on generational poverty. To me, each seems like a handicap that needs to be approached differently in order to best serve the individual.

  14. Blog November 5, 2010
    1. In the article I believe the best definition for culture is “shared understandings.” This is because in order to have a successful community, one must have similar understanding as to the others around them.
    2. Mentioning culture in this discussion about poverty can be sensitive because we do not want to focus on one particular group. This causes tension and even more issues between groups which ultimately lead to failures in the community.
    3. In the article it talks about structural force and cultural force. An example of structural force is violence within a community. The violence leads to troubled children who may with have low grades, or drop out of school. An example of cultural force could be a single mother living on her own. I believe a structural force has much more of an effect on one because it is much harder to overcome.

  15. Defining culture seems to be an important part of these emerging studies on poverty. What definition of culture in the article did you find most appropriate? Is there another definition you think is better for these sensitive conversations? Why?

    The definition of culture in the article that I found to be most appropriate was that of Robert J. Sampson when he said that poverty is “shared understandings”. When people see graffiti or garbage they begin to think in terms of poverty and it becomes a common perception in a neighborhood. I think this definition of poverty can be extremely harsh and perhaps a better definition of culture of poverty would be to say that poverty occurs in places based only on each person’s socioeconomic status and not on what the consensus mindset is.

    Why is including culture in the conversation on poverty such a sensitive issue? What kinds of problems arise? Try to use concrete examples. There are a few in the article.

    Including culture in a conversation on poverty is such a sensitive issue because often there can be racial or certain mindsets that people will take on. Often people will assume that just because a certain race lives in a poverty stricken neighborhood then the neighborhood is only poor because of the race that is living in that neighborhood.

    Finally, the article mentions the dichotomy of structural vs. cultural forces on poverty. Give an example of each and discuss which you think has a stronger affect on groups of people who are consistently affected by poverty or in other words are affected by generational poverty? (Try not to generalize, instead rely on concrete data.)

    A structural force on poverty could be the way that sectors of the government have made it impossible for people to get themselves out of poverty. While often the government will initiate programs to stop the cycle of poverty such as food stamps and other programs it will only continue to cycle of poverty rather than stopping it. A cultural force on poverty could be the way in which an impoverished neighborhood or group of people present themselves. If everyone continues to take on the poverty mindset that there is no way out and poverty will always be present, then there is no way that poverty will leave.

  16. 1) The definition of culture that is the most appropriate is “the way individuals in a community develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding.” This is the best definition for sensitive conversations because it doesn’t blame those who live in poverty, but says that their behavior is based on their environment. It is also inclusive so if it is taken out of the article it seems like it could define those who grew up more fortunate than others as well.
    2) Including culture when talking about poverty is sensitive because it can seem like the culture is only talking about a specific race and people tend to take offense to that. It also makes it seem like everyone will turn out a certain way or experience certain things without allowing for exceptions.
    3) Structural forces on poverty include violence, having parents who didn’t attend college and living in racially segregated neighborhoods. Cultural forces on poverty include divorce, living together without marriage, single motherhood. I think cultural forces on poverty take more of a toll because it can be passed on throughout generations and the behaviors can be imitated when it is seen a lot. In a community, if you are expected to act a certain way and that is the only way you have seen people act then you are more than likely going to act in that same certain way.

  17. I think the best way to define Culture is like the article says the way a group of people act and think in certain situations. You can see how this can lead to a misperception on poverty such as thinking that most people on welfare are black which isn’t true or for instance that people who are on welfare are on it because they don’t want to get a job. There is also as a result of culture a stigma attached to using social welfare aids such as food stamps a completely honest thing that is perceived as a sign of being poor which people fear to be perceived as. I think a structural force can be limits on alleviating poverty from things such as social structure or the structure of the neighborhood such as living in a poor neighborhood which has high levels of violence can make it difficult to encourage people to move onto college. Cultural blocks to alleviating poverty i think mainly deals with perception such as they aren’t smart enough to get out of poverty or they are too lazy. I think that structural effects are the stronger cause to this because people can fight to stop poverty even when people have bad perceptions against it but when the whole social and economic structure is against them it becomes impossible.

  18. 1) The definition of culture that is the most appropriate is “individuals in a community develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding.” I believe this is the best definition because it shows how cultures come to be, and we could also apply this saying to many different things, so we aren’t just blaming one thing or culture.
    2) Culture is such a sensitive topic when it comes to poverty because not only do you want to blame one culture, you can’t. Also if you do attach culture to poverty, you are just setting up for that culture to fail because they will just do what the world expects of them.
    3) Examples of structural force is violence within a community, and racially segregated communities. Examples of cultural force could be a single mother living on her own, and divorce. I believe a structural forces have a stronger affect because theses types of actions are repeated all the time, and if you grew up only seeing them then it is more likely that you will turn out to be like that.

  19. An appropriate definition of culture is “individuals in a community develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding.”I believe this is an appropriate definition because it demonstrates the different aspects on how different cultures emerge. Also, it shows how there are different aspects to take into account when trying to solve social issues, such as poverty. It is a sensitive issue because when someone looks at a culture that is in poverty, then they tend to blame the culture, not taking into account the different aspects that influence that culture. It is also sensitive because no one wants to live in a culture where the stigma of poverty is attached to them. Poverty is a scary issue! Examples of structural forces are the family dynamic and communities that are predominately one race; cultural forces are the divorced, single mother, and the drop-outs. The structural force is what influences the cultural forces because the structural force is what creates the cultural force. People tend to live by the cultural force due to the structural force of their community.

  20. 1) The perspective of culture that I found most appropriate is described by Robert J. Sampson as a shared understanding of people. Individuals in this case may not agree with one another’s beliefs but, respect them fully. However, the definition as desribed by William Wilson is good for these sensitive discussions because different people come from a variety of backgrounds that through this diversity, one develops a crucial understanding of the dynamics of the common person. A person could recognize that an action in one culture may not permissible in another culture and unacceptable by another person. Both of these men share ground through that culture is based on the understandings between people.

    2)Culture on poverty is a very sensitive issue because individuals are born into a society or family that may have variety of income levels. One person may live in a poor region of a town and develop bad habits. Different cultures have different socio-economic standings that play affect in which one acts and perceives an issue. Culture and economic status are often intertwined with one another and can play a crucial role in the development of a person.

    3)Poverty is often influenced by two unique factors, structural and cultural forces. People that are living unmarried, had a divorce and a single mother is now commonplace in todays. On the other end of the spectrum, cultural forces play a significant part. For instance, anthropologists often work together to uncover the logistics of an ancient issue or dilemma. These people often work together for a common good, in this society if they did not work together, the field of anthropology would be extinct. I believe that family forces are stronger because one’s mother and father are around their child everyday, they develop their child to what they are in the society of the future. They instill the values that they have on their child. Therefore, an individual is influenced by their family and develop their values from them.

  21. 1. Defining culture seems to be an important part of these emerging studies on poverty. What definition of culture in the article did you find most appropriate? Is there another definition you think is better for these sensitive conversations? Why?
    The definition of culture that is the most appropriate is “individuals in a community develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding.” I believe this definition is very appropriate. People’s actions and behavior are largely based on the environment that they grow up in. This definition does not blame one specific aspect of culture for the difficulty those in poverty may face.
    2. Why is including culture in the conversation on poverty such a sensitive issue? What kinds of problems arise? Try to use concrete examples. There are a few in the article.
    Including culture in the conversation on poverty is such a sensitive issue because we must be careful not to “blame” ones way of life for being the reason they are in the situation they are in.
    3. Finally, the article mentions the dichotomy of structural vs. cultural forces on poverty. Give an example of each and discuss which you think has a stronger affect on groups of people who are consistently affected by poverty or in other words are affected by generational poverty? (Try not to generalize, instead rely on concrete data.)
    One such cultural force on poverty is that most mothers of impoverished families are nto married. This is not because they do not believe in the marriage system, but because they understand that their current partners are not “marriageable material”. Because of their single status their children do not have a stable family structure and the mother may be strained for money and time. Many times a mother’s support system is formed by the structure of daycares. If the day care does not create social opportunities for parents to interact with one another then the mother never forms these supports. Another example of structural forces would be the idea that those living in violent areas develop the idea that they must adapt and form a hardened demeanor to protect themselves. They buy weapons and use these weapons if it is necessary.

  22. 1. I believe the articles definition of culture, “individuals in a community develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding”, is most appropriate because culture has a major on the issues of poverty in todays society. The article raises many important issues about culture and poverty in that the two go hand in hand, basically that one can’t exist without the other.

    2. Including culture in a conversation of poverty is a sensitive issue because poor people felt offended by this because people are no longer afraid of not being politically incorrect. The article suggests that whether people like it or not “What a concept. Values, norms, beliefs play very important roles in the way people meet the challenges of poverty.”

    3. The article quotes, “I realized we needed a comprehensive measure of the environment, that we must consider structural and cultural forces.” This means that their needs to be a separation between the two because they both play a vital role in poverty. Poverty is going to be different in every culture because of the several reasons including the surrounding environment or community. Yes, many people assume that when a community has a little bit of vandalism that it is stereotypically a bad neighborhood or this is a poor area. This is due to the stigmas that today’s society has created for itself. Having a line between structural and cultural forces will help people t realize that culture is playing a vital role in poverty.

  23. The definition of culture that most struck me was “individuals in a community that develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding. ” While this seems to be appropirate even when discussing poverty, one must be careful not to pass judgements or fall into the trap of sterotypes when combining the two. Problems such as attributing low IQs of african americans to genetics and that misconception that people “choose” to be poor can arise.
    Lastly, I believe that while structural forces like one’s living situation have a profound effect on one’s poverty, I believe that cultural forces such as family composition have even greater effects on poverty.

  24. 1. Defining culture seems to be an important part of these emerging studies on poverty. What definition of culture in the article did you find most appropriate? Is there another definition you think is better for these sensitive conversations? Why?
    I like this definition best, “individuals in a community that develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding. ” I like the way this makes it sound like they learn from their environment and then use what they learn to make decisions. I think this definition would work for sensitive conversations. Its simple and makes me feel comfortable.

    2.Why is including culture in the conversation on poverty such a sensitive issue? What kinds of problems arise? Try to use concrete examples. There are a few in the article.
    Because people are born into a certain culture and that culture may include poverty. We have to be careful because we can not put the blame on the individual. The individual is a product of their culture, therefore many people born into poverty have a hard time getting out of poverty.

    3.Finally, the article mentions the dichotomy of structural vs. cultural forces on poverty. Give an example of each and discuss which you think has a stronger affect on groups of people who are consistently affected by poverty or in other words are affected by generational poverty? (Try not to generalize, instead rely on concrete data.)
    Structural forces are related to the government and the way our country is shaped. the government offers programs for people in poverty, but these programs are mere bandaids on the problem. The programs aim to help the problem for a brief time but they do not try to get to the root of it. Cultural forces, like family, play a big role in poverty as well. Combined the two forces continue to make poverty relevent in today’s society.

  25. I believe culture can be described by “the way individuals in a community develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding.” This definition would be a better one to use in these sensitive conversations because there can be prejudices and certain beliefs that get in the way of understanding one another and this definition seems to cover all of those implied issues.
    Most people are proud of their cultures and saying that their culture may be contributing to poverty and other social issues would offend a lot of people. “Values, norms, and beliefs play an important role in the way people meet the challenges of poverty” as the article states and based on where people were born and how they were raised, culture can become very sensitive in any conversation. This sensitivity can cause problems in talking about the issue, let alone working to fix it.

    Cultural forces would include things such as divorced parents, living together unmarried, and single mothers. Structural forces would include not being able to get a college education or living in violent areas that prevent being able to go out. Out of both of these two kinds of forces, I would say that structural forces play a larger role because it can prevent people from bettering their lives through education and being able to do what they want. Cultural forces are important but I believe that structural play a more important role.

  26. 1)The definiton that I believe is the most apporpriate in this article would the be the definiton from William Wilson, who states that individuals in a community that develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding. ” I believe this definiton works in this situation because of the fact that it does give a good explanaiton of a culture, and the way it says that people make decisions on their enviorment is very well put because it is true that us as human beings adapt to any situationt that we are facing, no matter what social or economic class we are in.

    2)Incuding culture in the conversation on poverty is such a sensitive issue because of the fact that it is not some of the people’s actual fault that they are in poverty, they could have just been in a situation that gave a terrible outcome or they could just be going through a tough time with a divorce or the passing of a loved one, which costs so much money. By putting the words culture and poverty in the same sense is sort of blaming those who are in poverty, something that we should not do because we do not know what really goes on with the people who are in poverty, we do not know their real story, and by putting the words together, it is basically “calling them out”.

    3) A major example of a structural force is violence. Violence is a major force because of the fact that people live in poverty becasue they are faced with the constant violence of people, and they have to live with it. It has been known in various studies that violence is more common among those who live in poverty over other economic classes. An example of something that is a cultural force would be most importantly a person’s marital status. This is important because of the fac that many people who are single/divorced are more likely to be in poverty becasue they have to fend for themself, and on a lower paying salary it is very hard to get by. Another example of a cultural force that is associated with poverty is how many kdis one person may have, which can tie into the marital status of a person. People who are living alone yet have children have a very hard time getting by, because there are so many costs that go with taking care of children. In my opinion, I think tthe biggest force is cultural becasue of the fact that it is very hard for people who live alone and have children to get by on a low paying salary, especially if they are in poverty because they basically have no money for some of the essentials that we take advantage of everyday.

  27. Defining culture seems to be an important part of these emerging studies on poverty. What definition of culture in the article did you find most appropriate? Is there another definition you think is better for these sensitive conversations? Why?
    I believe the best definition of culture based on the article is “individuals in a community develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding.”I choose this one, because it demonstrates how many factors contribute to poverty and it also it shows how there are different aspects to take into account when trying to solve social issues / poverty.
    Why is including culture in the conversation on poverty such a sensitive issue? What kinds of problems arise? Try to use concrete examples. There are a few in the article.
    When we associate culture and poverty many stigmas, stereotypes and generalizations come to play. Also when we make this attachment we are basically saying that certain culture or race is expected to fail and therefore we leave no room for expceptions or even change.

    Finally, the article mentions the dichotomy of structural vs. cultural forces on poverty. Give an example of each and discuss which you think has a stronger affect on groups of people who are consistently affected by poverty or in other words are affected by generational poverty? (Try not to generalize, instead rely on concrete data.)
    The article exposes two vital aspects of poverty, the structural and the cultural. The structural influence would be substance abuse, alcoholism, violence, and other factors that may contribute of poverty in someones life yet to some extent they may be considered within human control. The cultural aspect is that which we as indiciduals have very little or no control over. For instance having women get paid less then men is a cultural aspect because it is something that evolved because we are a patriarchical society and therefore believe that women are inderior then men. These factors also contribute to poverty but that are social factors.

  28. According to the article, culture is “individuals in a community develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding.” This makes most sense to me because the things that I do within my family are completely different than those of some of my friends because we come from differrent backgrounds where we have had to adapt in different ways. This is what has defined our culture.

    Including culture when talking about poverty is a very sensative issue. The problem being that just because someone comes from a certain type of culture or background does not mean that they are either upperclass or lowerclass. Also, when someone is in a particular social stratification, he/she may develop particular characteristics that seem to define a particular culture. I do believe however that it is the position we hold within the society that causes us to adapt to those conditions and create our very own cultures.

  29. Personally i liked the “individuals in a community develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding” definition the best. It showed how a group of people can make choices for themselves based on how the world would see fit but with the personalization of their culture.
    I think that culutre is a sensitive issue when it comes to poverty because no one wants their “culture” to be viewed as poverished. But in a world full of labels and discrimination this seems to happen for certain cultures.
    I think that when he says “they had not captured the cumulative effects of living in poor, racially segregated neighborhoods.”, this shows how structural poverty creates a cycle that is hard for some cultures to escape and therefore they are stuck in the position of a poverished culture for generations

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