Sociological Views on Poverty

Sociological Views on Poverty

Assess sociological views on the reasons for, and solutions to poverty.

1. Introduction

For this essay I will assess the sociological views of poverty and what certain groups of people think about it.

Poverty is very hard to define as it is very subjective and there are many different views on it which describe the different extremes of it.

1.2 The Main Four Groups to Define Poverty

These are the main 4 groups:

• Absolute Poverty – lacking basic needs such as food, water and shelter.
• Relative Poverty – being poor compared to the average living standards of your country.
• Social Exclusion – this label is one that the government mainly uses to describe poverty in the UK. This means that the person is unable to fully participate in society due to low income/poor education/unsafe neighbourhood/unemployment…
• Multiple Deprivation – Lacking money, but also suffering from poor housing, unemployment etc….

However many different perspectives disagree and agree with these different definitions of poverty. In this assignment I will be covering the following sociological views:
o The Functionalists
o The New Right View
o The Marxist View

I will also study into the Culture of Poverty and the Cycle of Deprivation theories.

2. The Functionalist View

1. What is a Functionalist?

A Functionalist is a person that believes that everything that happens in society happens for a reason and everything that happens has a function and if that didn’t happen then the society wouldn’t run properly. Herbert J Gans is a functionalist that studied into poverty in 1971; his book was called Social Policy. He concluded that poverty is essential in society, though at first it may seem negative but the poor can profit from it also. Here are only 3 examples from Gans’ long list of functions that poverty serves society,...

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