Society 's Preconceptions And The Concept Of The Poor : Fact Or Fiction? Essay

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SOCIETY’S PRECONCEPTIONS AND THE CONCEPT OF THE POOR: FACT OR FICTION? Are things really what they seem? Do the stereotypes and preconceptions that our society attaches to the people who live in poverty really fit the bill? Many Americans would readily voice their opinions about the poor as if they were based on the truth instead of being ingrained in our consciousness by a culture that validates socially accepted opinions as facts. Most people, if asked would agree that poverty is a choice, and that lack of success is proportional to lack of effort. There is an underlying belief that resides in the consciousness of a majority of Americans that would suggest our welfare state creates a sense of entitlement and enables people to settle for less. Using a sociological perspective, can we decipher social science research and begin to evaluate the ways in which we define the poor with an unbiased opinion? Can we determine whether people choose poverty as a way of life and remain content with their situation, or if in reality, most people are working toward a better life and striving to advance their position as best they can? Harre 1 Society’s Concept of the Poor Our society places certain preconceptions on the way we view an individual’s particular role or define certain classes of people. These roles, or social classes, are all incorporated and become the fabric that makes up our society as a whole. One such class is what we label as the poor. Society’s concept of the poor is

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