CULTURE AND POVERTY by Charles A. Valentine


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The ""culture of poverty"" is a phrase popularized by Oscar Lewis, who with other scholars later turned it into what Valentine considers a pseudo-theory, adopted by policymakers preferring to focus on the victims rather than the social structure. Valentine (an anthropology professor) contends that this emphasis has discouraged not only effective anti-poverty measures but further, sounder conceptual and empirical work. He discusses the idea of culture, methods of cultural study, a range of social-scientific contributions and policy implications. He urges anthropological research on the subject, clarifies the concept of subculture, and specifies ethnographic models. And, having demolished both ""services"" and ""incomes"" strategies and transcended debate about ""whether the material conditions of poverty or its culture"" must be changed first, he submits an elaborate proposal to empower the poor to reduce inequality. It's a highly academic but penetrable book which succeeds admirably in challenging fads, myths and faulty methodologies: a unique meta-study which very much needed to be written.

Pub Date: June 25th, 1968
Publisher: University of Chicago