Essay on Poverty and Sociology

1344 Words6 Pages
In 2010, about 46.2 million people were considered poor. The nation’s poverty rate rose to 15.1 percent, whereas in 2009, 14.3 percent of people in America were living in poverty (Censky, 2011). That is an increase of 2.6 million people in 2010. In the United States, the federal poverty line – an absolute measure of annual income – is frequently used to determine who is categorized as poor (Ferris & Stein, 2008, 2010). Currently the government defines the poverty line as an income of $11,139 for an individual and $22,314 for a family of four (Censky, 2011). In sociology, poverty can be defined using two terms – relative deprivation and absolute deprivation. Relative deprivation is a comparison between people and social class. With…show more content…
The theory was later adopted by social scientists and used for American poverty, specifically in inner cities. Controversy has arisen from the theory and the majority have come to agree that a culture of poverty is nonexistent since the theory tends to blame poverty stricken victims for their own misfortunes while disregarding their social conditions. The just-world hypothesis also plays a role within the culture of poverty controversy. The just-world hypothesis refers to people's tendency to believe that the world is just and that people get what they deserve (Cherry). People want to believe that the world, society as a whole, is a fair place to achieve lifetime goals and that victims that contradict that belief asked for their misfortunes. When faced with poverty, many individuals become uncaring and disinterested; he or she feels less of a need to start in ways to change society or to lessen the situations of social victims. Another theory that relates to poverty is the conflict theory. Conflict theory is a paradigm that sees social conflict as the basis of society and social change and emphasizes a materialistic view of society, a critical view of the status quo, and a dynamic model of historical change (Ferris & Stein, 2008, 2010). The theory was originally brought on by Karl Marx, and was later adapted and further developed by other theorists; for example, Max Weber. Looking at poverty through the lens of the conflict theory, we
Open Document