Lecture Notes - Week 4; dependency-based explainations of poverty


The Culture of Poverty - Lewis (1966);

  •  Studied poor people in Mexico, he asked them to keep diaries of their life
  •  Developed cultural values that were passed on from generation to generation 
  • This was a 'design for living' - they were not deficient but these values kept them in poverty
  • Fatalism / Immediate Gratification / Employment 

Values of the working class (cultural deprivation)

- Fatalism in life, 'can't change my life', and in education, 'no point in working hard'

- Immediate Gratification in life, 'win the lottery blow it', and in education, 'leave school ASAP'

Values of the middle class

- Mastery in life, 'plan for the future', and in education, 'revise i'll improve'

- Deferred Gratification in life, 'save for a rainy day',  and  in education, 'go to uni'


  • Poor values such as immediate gratification and fatalism are passed on and cause poverty


  • Poor values may not be passed on in a simplistic way
  • Situational Constraints - the behaviour of the poor is due to lack of resources and income, not lack of values meaning the…


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