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An Evaluation of the Concept "Culture of Poverty"

Jack L. Roach and Orville R. Gursslin
Social Forces
Vol. 45, No. 3 (Mar., 1967), pp. 383-392
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2575197
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2575197
Page Count: 10
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An Evaluation of the Concept "Culture of Poverty"
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Abstract

The concept of a "culture of poverty" figures prominently in analyses of contemporary poverty and in explanations of the behavior of the poor. An examination of this concept indicates logical and empirical deficiencies in its use. Many of these deficiencies stem from basic problems in the use of the subculture framework, of which the concept of a culture of poverty is an instance. Some suggestions for a more appropriate use of the concept are offered. An alternative approach for understanding the behavior of the poor is proposed in which the material conditions of economic deprivation are given greater emphasis.

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