Sociology of Poverty and Welfare Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Interpretive sociology does not agree with the thought that behavior is related to society as effect is related to cause since this entire idea is dysfunctional with that which composes social life in reality. Interpretive sociology holds that understanding of our fellow man should be the pursuit of each day as sense is made of their individual societal existence. Seeking to understand is the concept held in interpretive sociology instead of the seeking of an explanation. Therefore it is understood that "structural" or that of Marxism and Functionalism (i.e. The interpretive/interactionist/social action sociologies) as well as Weber's interactionism, ethnomethodology and the Structural arguments in sociology that a "science of society" is likely. Therefore, there exists an agreement even among the interpretive sociologies. The natural science argument is based on "cause and effect" principles. That claim that the behavior of humans is the effect of some cause in society or class structure is also considered a positivist view because of the accreditation to human behavior as being the same as a storm, lightening strike or other natural phenomena as well as the fact that the implicit claim being that the only way of gaining social world knowledge is through scientific methodologies. The interpretive sociology holds the "anti-positive view" in that the interpretive idealism is completely against the idea in the behavior of humans being accredited to something else within society.

The Humanist view, or the "radical" viewpoint is that natural and social sciences are very distinct in a fundamental way. In this view meaningful interpretation is applied by social science with patterning regular between events and the subjectivity in the relationship and the subject matter is one of communication in a common and shared world. Two critical aspects are that of the "Humanist" and the "radical." Both of these views make the assumption that there is an objective in existence within natural science that applies contrast.

There exists in the political-societal realm of the influences and factors in poverty the fact that poverty is a desired condition in many cases by the "powers that be" within the world that seek to and accomplish gaining control through the impoverishment of other human beings. The nineteenth century was the century in which "individualist" theories of poverty were that which was common. Spencer (1874) held that the individual was to blame for poverty. Spencer's idea was that those individuals too lazy to work deserved a life of poverty and that assistance from the state was not considered to be Poverty gave rise to the work incentive in Spencer's view. There are other theories labeled to be "cultural theories" which do not place blame on the individual but instead on the cultural or subcultural factors in society. A British sociologist, David Marsland held the belief that it has gone too far with welfare payment provided by the state because the society has become dependent in an unhealthy manner on the benefits and further that the benefits only avert them from seeking the work that they need so badly. Marsland's idea is that the welfare and poverty state of living is "intergenerationally transmitted" due to the fact that the disadvantages expressed in a background of deprivation is one that is very unlikely to be overcome. This theory was further developed by a researcher named Charles Murray who assigned the label of "underclass" to this sector of society first presented in a controversial work entitled "Losing Ground" which was published in 1984. Murray stated during a visit to Britain that: "when I use the term underclass, I am indeed focusing on a certain type of behavior in response to that condition e.g. long-termed unemployment, but by his deplorable behavior in response to that condition, e.g. unwilling to take the jobs that are available to him." Murray (1989) Murray agrees with Spencer in the idea that benefits only allow the individual to find an "excuse" for underperformance and thereby being that which is labeled the "underclass."

In a comparative study of urban and rural areas with a focus on the consequences and causes of poverty. The research was a summarization on the research on differentials among reasons for rates of poverty in the two areas. The assumption based on the beliefs expressed by Miller and Weber (2003) is that "persistent poverty in rural areas is prevalent with the counties clustered in the Appalachia, the Black Belt, the Mississippi Delta and the Rio Grande. Migration was also stated to play a role in the distribution of policy on a spatial measure with poor people having the tendency to circulate between several poor places and thus perpetuating instead of the preferred "relieving"[of] the spatial concentration of poverty. (Nord et al. 1995; Nord 1998) Further findings of the study were inclusive of the fact that in the year of 2001 the following statistics in the races were discovered:

The following facts were discovered among rural minorities which has been the minorities that are identified as being "particularly disadvantaged": The statistical information states that of the non-Hispanic Black in the area 31% exist in poverty, while 25% Hispanics in nonmetropolitan areas live in poverty. Of non-Hispanic whites there are 11% existing in poverty while over fifty percent of American Indians live in nonmetropolitan areas with economical hardships due to unique situtuations of isolation combined with the effect of historical forces. (Snipp; Gonzales 2003) This empirical study was focused in further aspects of education, employment, family structure as well. Findings were that employment is associated on a general basis with a risk of poverty thereby reduced citing Lichter et al. (1994). Poverty is higher while educational levels are lower in rural areas is also a finding of the study states the study and cites Lichter (1993).

In a separate research entitled "Relative to What? European Poverty by Regional, National and European Standards" the author Olli Kangas writes that the research begins with the "relative concept of poverty" and goes on to study the "how" in the conceptualization of poverty changes if a "relative concept of poverty" is acceptable. Stating the poor are those whose income falls below and remains below the 60% of "the national equivalent disposable income." All European nations are collapsed together in this study into a common data pool and calculation of a poverty line that is common for the entire EU is applied in analylsis that follow. Finally, after "decomposition of nation sates into smaller units of measurement representative of the "poorest and richest" respective countries compilation of data is accomplished from the Luxembourg Income Study.

The study entitled "Social Capital and Logic of Collective Action" states that there is a distinction made between two dimensional parts of social capital thereby bridging and bonding with and inclusive of "exclusive social capital." Bridging in social capital draws larger samplings of society through unification of weak ties together. Bonding in social capital creatres generation of strong "group-based solidarity." However, bonding may also create strong "out-group antagonism" as well as "intra-group solidarity" will may be a negative factor and "detrimental to the common good." The aim is in study of how "social policy programs unify and divide people into social groups" with the aim of study "how institutions are creators of social capital and in different form types which "establish intra-group solidarity as well as other forms of that which is termed social capital to the end of studying the relation of social policy building and the possibilities that exist in welfare reform.

In this third project of Kangas described as "The Nordic Model in Developmental Perspective" the aim of this project, which is a book, is the analysis of the existing model of Nordic welfare from the developmental perspective. The division of opinions is inclusive of: Candidian: This is the opinion that the welfare state of the Nordic model is the optimal providing resources enough to fulfill many various "life projects." However, there is the existence as well of "apocalyptic viewpoints making the predictions of a horrendous ending to the Nordic countries. Three things learned from the Nordic study are as follows:" Kangas (2004)

While democratization brings pressures for expanded social policy, social policy contributes as well to democratization.

The clearest achievement of the Scandinavian welfare states as been demonstrated in "poverty reduction."

The third aspect is in relation to the state role in that the Scandinavian countries demonstrate" high prosperity levels, rapid economic growth and a high degree of statutory responsibility." Kangas (2004)

In another study entitled "Social Citizenship indicators project" the comparative book project set out to describe and explain the welfare state institutional development in 18 OECD co8untries from the dawn of social policy to the present. The project was to apply analysis to the changes in the setups in the instructional aspect of the welfare state models by answering how and why they differ as well as political and structural factors and policy variations. The focus is two forms of social…

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