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"Ice cream comes from cows." - Wokao40682

Rural Poverty

  • Date Submitted: 09/20/2013 04:56 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 45.3 
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About Oscar Lewis

Oscar Lewis, born on December 25, 1914, was an American Anthropoligt. He is best known for his vivid depictions of the lives of slum dwellers and his argument on a cross-generational culture of poverty among poor people transcends national boundaries. Lewis contended that the cultural similarities occurred because they were "common adaptations to common problems" and that the culture of poverty is both an adaptation and a reaction of the poor to their marginal position in a class-stratified, highly individualistic, capitalistic society. This is why his study is crucial as it illustrates the context in which poverty as a concept and as a condition is defined from one cultural setting to another. Lewis’ study is important to this study because it highlights causal factors that perpetrate poverty and leave most people incapacitated and destitute. In a highly classified society today, poverty has almost become like an inherited condition and in some cases, it may appear that poverty has been inflicted upon the masses. On the other hand, poverty in some societies appear to have become the way of life and most people hve accepted that as a way of life, never to come out of diplorable and hostile socio-economic situations.

Definition and nature of poverty

According to a mini research I conducted recently around the Mulungushi University community including few students outside the school of social sciences, the following were some of the descriptions of poverty from the interviewees.

    • Lack of basic needs like decent housing, food, clothing, etc

    • Inadequacy of the basic needs compared to the number of siblings or size of the family

    • Having no plan on how to survive

    • Having no money to buy the basic needs

Different authors have defined poverty differently and I must say that poverty is relative because of culture, different locations, and settings. Poverty has been defined as an absolute...


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