- The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Poverty
- List of Contributors
- Poverty Measurement
- Structural Violence, Poverty, and Social Suffering
- Capability Deprivation
- Ideologies and Beliefs about Poverty
- How Politics and Institutions Shape Poverty and Inequality
- Linking Poverty and Children’s Development: Concepts, Models, and Debates
- Poverty Knowledge and the History of Poverty Research
- The Discourse of Deservingness: Morality and the Dilemmas of Poverty Relief in Debate and Practice
- Gender and Poverty
- Life, Death, and Resurrections: The Culture of Poverty Perspective
- The Historical Origins of Poverty in Developing Countries
- The Dynamics of Poverty
- People and Places Left Behind: Rural Poverty in the New Century
- Poor Neighborhoods in the Metropolis
- Segregation and the Perpetuation of Disadvantage
- Urban Poverty, Race, and Space
- Single and Cohabiting Parents and Poverty
- Job-Finding among the Poor: Do Social Ties Matter?
- Employment and the Working Poor
- Great Escapes and Great Divergences: Growth, Poverty, and Income Inequality on a Global Scale
- Intergenerational Mobility
- Economic Performance, Poverty, and Inequality in Rich Countries
- Material Deprivation and Consumption
- Hunger and Food Insecurity
- Poverty and Crime
- Poverty and Informal Economies
- Social Class, Poverty, and the Unequal Burden of Illness and Death
- Aid and Global Poverty
- The Welfare States and Poverty
- Social Policy, Transfers, Programs, and Assistance
- Poor People’s Politics
- Why and When Do Peasants Rebel?: Origins and Consequences of Rural Collective Action
- Unions and Poverty
- Housing Programs
- Microfinance and Financial Inclusion
- Conclusion: Toward a New Paradigm for Understanding Poverty
Abstract and Keywords
This article examines the culture of poverty thesis, focusing on its many lives, deaths, and reincarnations. It first considers the intellectual history of the culture of poverty thesis before discussing how the argument has been interspersed throughout U.S. history and applied to various groups. It then considers the argument’s scholarly reproduction, noting how it is underlain by a binary whereby segments of the poor, racial minorities, and immigrants are positioned as having a deviant, morally suspect culture that undermines their potential upward mobility, whereas white middle- and upper-class Americans are positioned as having a normal, morally upstanding culture that secures their class position. The article also describes four routine scholarly practices that engender a specter of support for the culture of poverty thesis. Finally, it argues that the culture of poverty should either be put to rest or allowed to live based on its own merits, and suggests ways to end its unintentional resurrection.
Jessi Streib, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Duke University.
SaunJuhi Verma, Assistant Professor in School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University.
Whitne Welsh, Research Scientist, The Social Science Research Institute, Duke University.
Linda M. Burton, Dean of Social Sciences and James B. Duke Professor of Sociology, Duke University.
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