Poverty and Deprivation Essay

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Poverty and Deprivation

Absolute (or subsistence) Poverty is a term used to describe poverty that is measured as being without the resources to maintain health and physical efficiency. Basic human needs such as an amount of food, clothes and shelter are ways that ‘being in’ absolute poverty is measured. “a family is poor if it cannot afford to eat”. (Keith Joseph, 1979). The concept of absolute poverty was developed by Rowntree in the 19th century. Usually measured as a minimum sum of money. Rowntree’s early studies of York and Booth’s Life and Labour in east London are both examples of a calculation of resources (money) needed to meet the needs of survival, therefore being classified as
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Those households unable to afford inside toilets, central heating and a television are seen as poor relative to the majority of the UK population. Luxuries (available to the few), move to comforts and then to necessaries and the line that separates the poor will vary according to how affluent that society is. According to Townsend (1979), “Individual families and groups in the population can be said to be in poverty when they lack the resources to obtain the types of diets, participate in the activities and have the living conditions which are customary, or at least widely encouraged and approved, in the societies to which they belong”. The lack of material possessions and facilities necessary for ‘material well being’ are not the only way to view those ‘in poverty’ because exclusion from the lifestyle of the community in which a person belongs is also a measure of poverty. Not exclusively shaped by physical necessity, but also by cultural expectations. For example, in Western culture an important tradition to buy Christmas presents is not a physical necessity. Those unable to do so are seen as poor.

A way of life that to some extent differs from the rest of society is formed by people who have a tendency to share similar circumstances and problems, like poverty. The norms and attitudes and values are distinctive to that social group and collectively people
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