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date: 24 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines ideologies and beliefs about poverty. In 1981, Kluegel and Smith provided the first comprehensive summary and critique of scholarly research on beliefs about social stratification. Focusing primarily on the United States and Great Britain, they reviewed research on public beliefs in three primary areas: opportunity, the distributive process, and social class. In so doing, they identified four key questions that continue to define research in this area: What is believed about social inequality? What principles organize thought around social inequality? What determines what is believed? What are the consequences of these beliefs? This article considers what Americans (and to a lesser extent, the British) perceive and believe about social inequality; the nature of ideologies and other social psychological processes governing the intrapersonal organization of beliefs; selected factors that shape patterns of belief; and selected consequences that stratification beliefs hold for the person and for politics.

Keywords: ideologies, beliefs, poverty, social stratification, stratification beliefs, social inequality, politics, United States, Great Britain, social class

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