The Structural Theory Of Poverty

1031 WordsMar 1, 20155 Pages
In today’s world, the United States is the leading economic powerhouse. However, poverty is still a prevalent and pervasive social problem (Arneson, 2007). This paper will discuss the sociological concepts and theories surrounding this pertinent issue. In addition, it will point out the value of sociological research into this social ill. Lastly, it will present evidence to support the hypothesis that poverty is a structural failure. In contrast to the school of thought supported by a number of sociologists that claims that poverty is a personal failure, this paper holds that it is a structural failure. This means that disruptions in the societal structure lead to high levels of poverty in the community. For this reason, poverty is a structural and institutional failure. Sociologists take two divergent approaches in their attempt to explain the society’s poverty and social stratification (Bickford, 2000). The first approach is the structural-functional theory of poverty. It claims that each and every component in the society, including poverty, serves a certain purpose or function. Its proponents claim that inequality is not only inevitable, but it is also beneficial to the society because it ensures that there will be individuals willing to fill a certain position. Its central point embeds more on motivation. As a result, it holds that great material rewards are instrumental in motivating the poor to occupy high positions. The second approach is the conflict theory,
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