Theories of Poverty and Community Development

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Theories of Poverty and Community Development Jozette M. Broughton Introduction to Sociology Prof. Jeremy Bennett December 09, 2012 Abstract In this paper I will explore how two competing theories of poverty shape anti-poverty strategies. Since most rural community development efforts aim to relieve causes or symptoms of poverty, it makes a difference which theory of poverty is believed to be responsible for the problem being addressed. In this paper three theories of poverty are discussed from research in different news articles. It will be shown that two theories of poverty, not that these are the only two, place its origin from 1) individual deficiencies and 2)…show more content…
In short, fixing poverty is a dominant theme within community development, but we have infrequently examined the theories that underlie the dominant practices addressing poverty. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how community anti-poverty programs are designed, selected, and implemented in response to different theories about the cause of poverty that “justify” the community development interventions. The definition of poverty and theories that explain it are deeply rooted in strongly held research traditions and political values, reinforced by encompassing social, political and economic institutions that have a stake in the issue. Thus, a purely objective explanation of poverty is displaced by an increase of socially defined issues and concerns from both liberal and conservative perspectives. Moreover, no one theory of poverty has emerged that either subsumes or invalidates the others (Blank, 1997). Explaining poverty remains a lucrative field for academics, policy makers, book publishers, and ideologues, and as a consequence the range of explanations has proliferated. A sampling of community based poverty programs show how varied community level anti-poverty efforts can be: 1. A county directed its schools to identify children not attending school more than ten days per school-year without medical excuses, and then if the family received TANF benefits, the child’s portion
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