• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Using information from the items and elsewhere, assess the usefulness of 'individualistic' theories of the causes of poverty.

Extracts from this document...


Using information from the Items and elsewhere, assess the usefulness of 'individualistic' theories of the causes of poverty. An individualistic (cultural) perspective suggests that poverty comes as a result of behaviour and lifestyle more likely to result in poverty. This perspective is often referred to as 'victim-blaming'. They are said to be 'work shy', preferring instead to live on state welfare benefits. This explanation of poverty argues that the poor' subculture may be so pervasive that these deviant attitudes are reproduced from one generation to another by parents who act as 'deviant role-models' to their children. In this way the poor are said to be a part of a subculture, which is somewhat antagonistic to the mainstream culture of society. The main groups considered to be leading these impoverished subcultures are the disabled, women, ethnic groups, elderly, working class and people from northern regions. The minority of disabled have: - -An inability to work which -Limitations on physical and/or mental abilities. ...read more.


Arguments directly against Lewis's study come from the anthropologist, Mangrins (1968), who researched slums in Peru and found the poor were far from apathetic or resigned and also had remarkable organising powers. Coates and Silburn (1970) studied a slum in Nottingham called St Annes. They did find helpless poor but they argued this was a consequence (see later explanations) and not a cause. Rutter and Madge (1977) suggested there was "little documentation of my communities in this country which might correspond with the descriptions of a culture of poverty given by Lewis. Interestingly, Rutter and Madge did a separate study arguing there is a 'Cycle of deprivation'. A Situational perspective argues directly against this suggesting that poverty is due to a through no fault of their own but argue there are many social, economic and environmental factors which prevent poor from improving their position. It argues that behaviour is a reaction to this social situation but not a cause. ...read more.


Finally 'Dependency Culture' is a New Right idea, which is slightly similar to the individualistic theories stating poor are lazy and fatalistic but it goes further into the issue and suggests (like other theories) a reason. The reason being that people are poor because of their dependency on the state and that they are caught in a 'dependency trap' instead of just having 'foolish' behaviour. Marsland (1989) believes people are happier collecting money from benefits rather than working for similar amounts. He suggests that state provisions should be given to the needy poor instead of the idle. Murray (1990) USA and Anderson (1990) UK argue a new underclass is emerging due to welfare benefits Individualistic theories (like most of the earliest theories), is rather simple. Indeed, it may be true that some, possibly the majority of those in poverty, have apathetical behaviours, but whether it answers the causes of poverty is questionable. The problem with this theory is that it does not give reasons for these lifestyles but rather looks at the direct causes of poverty. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Charities, Poverty and Development section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Charities, Poverty and Development essays

  1. Inequality is the main reason for the persistence of poverty - Discuss.

    If this is combined with missing insurance markets as well then poor people tends to invest in safe, low risk activities. As such they generally receive low returns and cannot climb out of the low asset low income trap. Jalan and Ravallion also suggest that these widespread credit and risk

  2. How far were changing attitudes towards the poor between 1834 – 1900 due to ...

    mines, the factory acts of the 1840's, and the permissive 1848 Public health Act. The final period of 1865 - 1900 was when collectivism and more state intervention took over. This is when the idea that people working together is the real key to change.

  1. To What Extent Is the Welfare State Responsible For Creating a Culture of Dependency?

    It was this explanation for poverty that largely underlay the foundation of the Welfare state. Economic system approach A more radical explanation for the continuation of poverty comes from those who argue that society is a competition between various groups.

  2. Identify four causes of the increase in poverty and vagrancy in the Tudor period.

    Individuals in the Elizabethan period also became increasingly charitable and indeed sympathetic towards the poor and vagrants. Merchants in particular gave more than any other group. Their contributions to the relief of the poor rising from �29,737 in the period 1480 to 1540 to �68,479 during the period 1561 to 1600.

  1. Wealth and Poverty

    This would make them to suffer in starvation in the future as they will not be able to sell their tea anymore to earn some money for living. The completion between the third tea growing countries will make the poverty problem in the world worse eventually.

  2. Outline and assess sociological explanations for the increase in poverty when living standards for ...

    Lewis saw the culture of poverty as a way of life which is passed on from generation to generation. Children learn the culture from an early age. It helps them to cope with day to day life in poverty, but means they are ill- equipped to take advantage of opportunities

  1. Outline and assess the view that poverty is caused by economic inequality rather than ...

    He said that poverty will only be tackled effectively by radical state policies which redistribute resources from rich to poor and by investment of state money in education. Townsend stated that state intervention it is argued can change the system of social inequality.

  2. Wealth and Poverty

    Christians believe that all humans are equal in the eyes of God and that all the good things of the earth have been given to us by God to use to help each other. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need, how can the love of God be in him?

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work