A quick little rant on The Culture of Poverty and frustrating concepts more generally

Last week someone I follow on twitter tweeted a link (is this the right way to describe such an action?) to a NYT article by Patricia Cohen ‘‘Culture of Poverty’ Makes a Comeback’.  Reading it at the train station I remember being glad that I was not in front of my computer because the risk of shooting off a poorly written blog post about it was rather high.

It turns out that my post really is not needed because a summary of responses to this article has even made it onto the most recent ‘Around the web’ post over at Savage Minds.

There are four concepts that I find frustrating but that I keep coming back to

  • Community
  • Social inclusion
  • Social capital
  • The culture of poverty

The culture of poverty probably has the least to do with my project as I am sure I will not end up being able to make claims either for or against the notion that people who share a position in the economic order share a way of doing life if that position in the economic order happens to be being poor. It is a concept that I really dislike because, while I think that people do life differently and their experiences and the experiences of those around them have a significant role to play in this, the Culture of Poverty is a concept that does not encourage exploration of the actually occuring universals and particularities. (Plus, I am pretty sure, Wacquant’s empirical work has disproved it all anyway.)

More generally, finding such frustrating concepts every way I turn in my project is making writing a lot less appealing. Even in this post, I feel like mentioning ‘the culture of poverty’ is rather paralysing because I know there is so much to be double checked and cited, with so much of that material being significant but not all that helpful for getting to my point. Should I just take the risk of leaving things out, say what I want and then add in referenced material later? Well, I am sure what I should do is to face the fact that not everything is fun and just get my confirmation report done.

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One Response to “A quick little rant on The Culture of Poverty and frustrating concepts more generally”

  1. Matt Thompson Says:

    Thanks for reading.

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