Social and cultural theories of poverty: community practices and social change
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The major theme of the readings was postcolonial culture in different part of the world. The readings depict the struggle of the minority people and women in the society. From all the readings, it is evident that oppression and discrimination of the minority groups and women is prevalent even in the current society. Hence, the readings are present reflection of the past. The different readings use various evidences to support the arguments and claims. For example, Lewis, (1966) observes the female-headed families and their connection with poverty for the Negroes families. He argues that women headed families are attributed to the poverty culture not only to in Negro societies but all over the world. He generalised his observation based to the larger world despite the few studies available to support the claim.
Consequently, Rosaldo (1989) argument was based on racial discrimination practiced by white men as depicted in various movies starring Africans, Indians and other non-white societies. It is evident that the past memories depicted in these films and other media led to the rising of imperialists’ nostalgia that led to misguided ideologies that saw the propagation of racial and gender discrimination in many countries in postcolonial eras and the current society. The oppression of Muslim women is evident even in the current societies and thus Abu‐Lughod, (2002) argument on the need to save them from oppression was a necessary study. The oppression and discrimination of the Muslim culture is evident in Said (1977) when he argues about the domination of the western culture.
The empowerment of the minority groups and women in the postcolonial era was through hard struggles. Women played an integral part in empowerment of the minority groups. For example, Moynihan, Rainwater, & Yancey, (1965) argues that women were powerful and most educated in the minority groups. The study gives evidence to the current situation where women in the negro families are more educated than men and thus form a major part of the job industry for the minority groups in America. The minority people and women were able to fight the odds.
Reflection on the readings
In postcolonial era, culture was viewed in terms of gender and racial segregation. The culture is understood in terms of social status where poverty was the major consideration in connection to the structure of families. The social class of people was used to classify people where poor pay lacked say in the society. The white and the rich dominated in the society and were politically power thus controlling the minority. The westerners who were seen as the well up people in the society dominated over the whites. This has led to the researchers perceiving the social difference as the major drawback in the development of the culture in the society. The difference increases the social class gap between in societies resulting to propagation of discriminations and poverty. Poverty is as a result of denied opportunities for minority people. For example, minority people lack proper education and are discriminated in the job market, which result to lack of participation in socio-economic activities and thus high levels of poverties.
In the United States, the social difference is evident in the field of education through admission discrimination against sex and race. For example, in United States, the supreme and other lower courts have experienced high numbers of cases pertaining to racial discrimination. In addition, the United States has two categories of schools, which include private and public schools. The latter identifies with rich people, while the former identifies with the poor people. This evidences the social difference in education sector. Consequently, in the broader society, poor communities are characterised by high levels of illiteracy and unemployment, which is the major problem associated with lack of quality education. Few people who have acquired quality education in marginalised communities such as Negroes have prospered and living a high standard life. Similarly, the culture of poverty has been associated by discrimination in social, economic and political systems in United States and in other communities in Middle East.
Abu‐Lughod, L. (2002). Do Muslim women really need saving? Anthropological reflections on cultural relativism and its others. American anthropologist, 104(3), 783-790.Lewis, O. (1966). La vida: a Puerto Rican family in the culture of poverty-San Juan and New York (Vol. 13). New York: Random House.
Lopez, M. L., & Stack, C. B. (1998). Social and cultural theories of poverty: community practices and social change. Aspen Roundtable Project on Race and Community Revitalization.Moynihan, D. P., Rainwater, L., & Yancey, W. L. (1965). The Negro family: The case for national action. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Rosaldo, R. (1989). Imperialist nostalgia. Representations, 107-122.
Said E., W. (1977). Orientalism. The Georgia Review. 31 (1) p. 162-206