Definitions of Poverty

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In the textbook Families in Poverty by Seccombe (2007), she gives 4 explanations for poverty, which one do you think best explains poverty? Why? Seccombe introduces Individualism, Social Structuralism, Culture of Poverty, and Fatalism in attempt to explain the existence of poverty. All four of them together seem to cover all aspects of poverty and in grave detail. If I had to choose one that best explains poverty by itself, the Culture of Poverty seems to be most suiting. The description that Seccombe discusses integrates a little bit of both Individualism and Social Structuralism ideologies. In Seccombe (2007) The Culture of Poverty suggests that “a subcultural set of values, traits, and expectations has developed as a direct result of the structural constraints associated with living in isolated pockets of poverty” (pg. 98). It is true that some people are born with advantages that other people do not have. Wealth and family connections create an easier pathway to prosperity and success. However, I am a firm believer that everyone possesses the ability to make something better of their lives. Without the willpower and drive to get out of poverty, the chances of escaping are slim to none.

The story about Donna supports the Individualism explanation in that we are “ultimately responsible for our own economic positions, both poor and wealthy” (pg.89). I liked the story about Donna because it showed that there are situations where an individual like her can come from a life of poverty and turn it into a life she loves and desires. Before the opportunity the agency gave her, she allowed the social structure she was raised in to shape her individual actions.

1. Summarize how poverty entails more than just measuring income levels.

The amount of gross income a family brings in can mean something very different across different demographics. The cost of living in one place can be dramatically higher than that of another place. Things like insurance,...
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