cultural and structural poverty

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Sociology
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Wealth, Poverty and Welfare • Objectives • To understand the difference between cultural and structural explanations • To be able to describe some causes of poverty in the UK. • To describe and evaluate different sociological explanations of wealth inequalities.

Is poverty a new concept? What does this historical image tell us about poverty? A key debate is what causes itis it the culture of some groups or is it the structure of society? Some say poverty will always be with us – why do you think that is?

What are the reasons for poverty?









It is the fault of individuals because they have a different set of cultural values.



Poor people are the victims of the unequal distribution of wealth.



The poor do not have enough education to deal with money problems.



Some people who live in poverty come from harsh backgrounds (domestic violence).



Many people do not possess the skills to get out of poverty.

Immediate Gratification, when people want pleasures now and do not work for the future Fatalism, when people think, ‘what will be’ and assume they cannot escape from a bad situation Poor people do not have a good work ethic and expect bad jobs

Causes of poverty ranking • Rank these in the order you think are most important in explaining poverty. Which explanations do you think are cultural and which are structural?

• • • • • • • •

Unemployment Slow economy Poor health Addictions e.g gambling/alcohol Poor skills/education Low wages in the workforce/exploitation Social exclusion/marginalisation Culture of apathy/welfare dependency

• • • • • •

How the rich stay wealthy

Investment in land or art Tax loopholes Overseas investment Exclusive education for their children Feathering each other’s nests Employing legal services to ensure protection of property and wealth • Government policies which protect them • Culture of deferred gratification

Elite Self-recruitment • Goldthorpe (1980) and Glass (1954) both found evidence of what they described as 'elite self-recruitment' whereby privileged and powerful positions go to children of wealthy and powerful people. • Nick Clegg recently commented on inequality in internships !

Cultural Theories • New Right David Marsland – Over generous welfare • AO2 evidence suggests people do want to work • New Right Charles Murray – deviant values of underclass. • AO2 evidence is that values and aspirations are similar

Teenage girls get pregnant for houses and benefit

The underclass is the group at the bottom of society Benefits encourage people to depend on the state rather than get jobs because it is easier for them

Charles Murray says poor people form an underclass and are a threat to society. What do you think?

The norms and values of the underclass are a disease that threaten society

Young men are involved in crime and do not work for their families.

Lone mothers are bad parents and allow boys to be criminal. They are bad role models

The New Right and Trickle down theory • Greed was seen as being a virtue in the 1990s when it was acceptable to be selfish and accumulate vast wealth through the new technological industries that were springing up. The New Right froze benefits and welfare spending in order to pay for tax cuts for the very wealthy. • AO2 This didn’t work !

Structural theories • Marxist – Welfare distribution is unfair • AO2 high benefits are unpopular with hard-working people • Marxist – Reserve army of labour/new reserve army • AO2 suggests govt would not favour eradicating poverty however lots of policies suggest otherwise. Still cannot explain the marginalisation of certain groups (although could be divide and rule) • Weberian – Dual Labour Market – skills and status • AO2 Doesn’t explain why certain group like women have high skilled jobs which are poorly paid. Same argument is used for women and ethnic minorities

Unemployment and low wages • Increased benefits must be paid for by the taxpayer and this is unpopular, so some taxes for the rich have been cut. • The incomes of the poorest 20% of households fell by 1.6% between 2005-06 and 2006-07 while those of the richest households rose by 0.8%. This was under labour government. Since coalition government came to power poorest households have felt further relative drops in income despite some tax cuts.

Labour Government Policy • Tax credits are payments from the government. People who work, but earn low wages, may qualify for Working Tax Credit if they have children. • AO2 • It was an expensive policy. From 2003-2006, something in the order of £65 billion was spent on tax credits by government. Even so, there is still a shortfall and poverty persists

An end to universal benefits • From the 1990s benefits have been targeted to certain groups. • The system has been complicated and rigid • AO2 • People have complicated lives and can move between situations very quickly. Fernstein (2006) • Some are ashamed to make claims

Globalisation and poverty • Large corporations employing cheap labour abroad to mass produce goods has had its effect on inequality in Britain.

Economic decline • The decline in manufacturing work in Britain has led to very few skilled labour jobs. This has led to deprivation and dissatisfaction with work as well as an increase in casualised, flexible working • AO2 Meanwhile, poor workers in LED countries may be working long hours in terrible conditions to provide very cheap goods for people in the West.

They do not earn as much as men. They do not have pensions

Women do not have access to the money in the home. When relationships break up, they lose out

Women and Poverty “The Feminisation of Poverty”.

They are more likely to be lone mothers and therefore poor.

It is difficult to get jobs when you provide care for children and relatives

What do you think about these ideas? What evidence is there to support them?

Marginalisation • They are those with disabilities, women, older people and young people, people with caring responsibilities, gay and lesbian people and Black and minority ethnic people, including Travellers. One of the causes of poverty is therefore is discrimination; certain people are rejected by society often for reasons beyond their control.

Why do we need to make poverty history?

http://www.makepovertyhistory.org/

The credit Crunch 2008-9 • This has changed attitudes to inequalities in wealth in the UK • The term ‘Fat Cat’ is back and people are outraged by high wages and banker’s bonuses. • Jonathan Prynn, of the Evening Standard described how executive pay had risen by 30%, more than seven times the rate for ordinary workers.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation Social Evils • Website respondents to their blogs felt that growing inequality in Britain is socially divisive and morally wrong, partly because income differences do not always reflect people's efforts.

Famous book • Wilkinson and Pickett (2009) entitled The Spirit Level underlines the terrible impact of inequality on a society.

Evaluation AO2

http://www.adamsmith.org/blog/jus tice-and-civil-liberties/the-spiritlevel-delusion/

Critically assess cultural explanations of poverty (30) •





• •

• •

Give some basic definitions of poverty and describe the difference between cultural and structural explanations give examples Explain Marsland’s New right theory, give examples and describe policies which reflect this view e.g Trickledown or cuts to welfare. Analyse and evaluate Explain Murray’s underclass theory and give examples - analyse and evaluate. Explain Marxist view welfare state fails to distribute wealth fairly with supporting evidence e.g govt policy – analyse and evaluate. Explain Marxist view of reserve army of labour/new reserve army (decline in manufacturing/globalisation) explains why poverty is not dealt with! Analyse and evaluate Explain Weberian view dual labour market – This explains why lack of skills leads to poverty. Analyse and evaluate. Conclusion – Some argue poverty will always be with us, this is because definitions change with time. However poverty may be persistent because it benefits the most powerful in society. Whilst cultural arguments are popular there is little evidence to support them and structural explanations explain better why poverty is so persistent.

Swap Mindmaps with another person. • Is the other person’s mindmap good enough for you to answer these questions, Work in Pairs:• Name one researcher who supports a cultural explanation of poverty. • What research can be used to criticise one cultural explanation of poverty? • What do cultural explanations imply or suggest about the underlying cause of poverty? • How can one structural explanation of poverty be criticised?

Revision • http://www.ngfl-cymru.org.uk/vtc/200910/sociology/a2-cynnal/# • http://www.ngfl-cymru.org.uk/vtc/200910/sociology/a2-cynnal/# • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfWn umM0He4

Operationalisation Starter • Quantitative research involves turning a concept into numbers, how will you do this for :• Social Class • Health Problems • Attitudes towards the poor • Impact of students loans on graduates

Operationalisation starter • Qualitative research does not require such precise operationalisation but you still need to be clear about what you are going to find out, what would you look for when researching the following:• Experiences of ethnic minority jobseekers • Experience of women returning to work after maternity leave.

Research Design • As an A level Sociologist, you have been asked to discover whether there is gender inequality in the behaviour and actions of the police in your area using quantitative methods • Suggest a simple research design and justify your choices. Explain the difficulties that you might experience in carrying out your design and suggest how you would avoid them

Objectives • Be able to identify various problems with sociological research and say how to overcome them. • Be able to evaluate a novel piece of research to time. • Suggest areas for improving evaluation skills

Research Design • AHO SMP AE • 5 10 15 • As an A level Sociologist, you have been asked to use qualitative methods to research how wealthy people are able to maintain their position in British society. Suggest a simple research design and justify your choices. Explain the difficulties that you might experience in carrying out your design and suggest how you would avoid them. • Remember GROVER and the practical issues of carrying out your design.

Peer Assessment Criteria • Award a mark out of 15 based on the following criteria taken from the markscheme. • 1. Reference to issues of ‘GROVER’ all • 2. Reference to practical issues – 3+ • 3. Identified 3+ ways to improve study

Evaluating Research – A2 Sociology •

What are the issues to consider?



How can Sociologists overcome these issues?

Truancy is a persistent problem in British schools. Some geographical areas experience more truancy than others. For example Local Education Authorities produced statistics in 2000 that showed that in the Wirral absent pupils had missed on average 26 half days whereas in Wokingham this figure was 11. Corrigan researched truancy but his aim was to understand it rather than just measure its frequency. To do this he used participant observation telling those involved that he was a writer interested in the lives of working class boys. He found that the boys truanted because they didn’t like particular lessons or particular teachers or even because they enjoyed rebelling against the fact that school was compulsory. (a) Give two reasons why Corrigan decided to use participant observation to research truancy. (10) (b) As an A Level sociology student you have been asked to design a research project to collect quantitative data on attitudes towards grammar schools amongst a representative sample of British residents in your area. Outline each stage of your research design explaining the reasons for your choices at each stage.

Identify some of the problems that you anticipate might occur and the impact that these may have on the quality of the data collected. (30)

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