Assessing Poverty from a Sociological Point of View (Essay Sample)
Write an essay on such social issue as poverty.
1. Provide the description of this social issue.
2. Analyze how your issue is discussed in the field of sociology. Which sociological theories are applied to discussing poverty?
3. What do sociologists claim about poverty in US society? What are their arguments?
Your essay should meet the following requirements:
1. Please follow the standard essay writing structure. Provide an introductory paragraph, a thesis statement, essay body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph.
2. Please cover all aspects of the topic that are described above in your essay.
3. Number of sources to use in the paper: four (4) sources. Please use only credible sources published within the past five (5) years. Use two (2) books and two (2) journal (scholarly) articles.
4. Please make sure your paper is plagiarism free. Any borrowed idea should be properly cited. Be sure to avoid copy-pasted sentences.
5. Be sure to follow quality standards for grammar, style, and principles of academic writing.
Free extras : Outline, Title page, Bibliography / Reference page.
Assessing Poverty from a Sociological Point of View
* Poverty is assessed as a critical socioeconomic element affecting human lives significantly.
* A thesis statement providing the objectives of the essay is provided.
Section 1: Description of the Issue
* Definition of poverty: a situation where people cannot access wealth, income, and material resources.
* Determination of poverty: determined by social and economic indicators.
Section 2: Sociological Theories of Poverty
Two theories are compared:
* The structural-functionalist approach
* The conflict theory
Section 3: Poverty in the US Society
Two general but contrasting claims regarding poverty in the United States are explained.
* Poverty as a personal failing
* Poverty as a structural failure
The main points in the essay are summarized in this section.
Assessing Poverty from a Sociological Point of View
Inevitably, human beings are born and brought up in different communities. Depending on where people live, social class, and access to resources, among other factors, socioeconomic statuses differ profoundly. Such differences determine people’s position in society and may hinder access to opportunities and services at some point in life. Poverty is among critical socioeconomic elements with far-reaching consequences for people’s lives. Its levels vary across cultures, with minority groups among the most affected populations. To understand its causes and explain the phenomenon in detail, sociologists have extensively researched poverty and provide different perspectives on it. A description of poverty, sociological theories, and sociological arguments can elucidate it to enhance understanding.
Description of Poverty
Defining poverty can be challenging since its perception differs cross-culturally. Also, religious and traditional views complicate the matter since they overlook the economic dimension of poverty in their explanations. Despite these variations, poverty represents a situation where people cannot access wealth, income, and material resources. The United States defines poverty using the poverty line, which denotes a situation where a person or household’s income is three times the subsistence level food budget (O'Hara, 2020). In such a state, a person spends a huge portion of their income on food and basics, implying that little is left to meet other needs.
When measuring poverty, much attention is centered on deprivation. The focus is usually on what individuals, families, and communities lack compared to what they should get or deserve. However, poverty can also be determined by social and economic indicators. According to Gorski (2017), social measures include aspects such as information and access to education. Access to health care facilities and political power are other measures of poverty. Economic indicators include affordability of necessities such as food and clothing. Shelter and access to safe drinking water are other economic measures of poverty. In each case, there is something that the populace lacks but deserves as a basic commodity.
Sociological Theories on Poverty
As a critical social and economic issue, sociologists have examined poverty from various dimensions. Apart from explaining its causes, a significant portion of sociological research delves into how society understands poverty. The most common sociological theories of poverty are structural-functionalism and conflict theory. From a functional dimension, the structural-functionalist approach evaluates the function of poverty in social stratification. According to Izadi et al. (2020), poverty plays an essential role in social stratification by maintaining the larger social system’s stability. Here, the implication is that societies could not function effectively if all people were equal. Accordingly, the best people are at the top places in society and the poor at the bottom. This logic assumes that the well-paying jobs and positions are for the most qualified, and high status is a reward for a person’s ability and hard work. Overall, the structural-functionalist approach depicts a fair social system where reward equals a person’s effort.
The conflict theory opposes the structural-functionalist approach and assumes that the model cannot function in a typical social setting. As a critique of structural-functionalism, the conflict theory asserts that the functional importance of a job cannot be determined (Ndaguba & Hanyane, 2019). Accordingly, it is irrational to generalize its application in a typical society. The structural-functionalist approach also depicts poverty as easily avoidable since the social system is fair and rational (Izadi et al., 2020). The conflict theory criticizes this position and suggests that it is not the best people at the top of social rank at all times. Accordingly, the conflict theory presumes that people can be poor because of barriers that prevent many qualified people from ascending the hierarchy (Ndaguba & Hanyane, 2019). Conflict theorists argue that structural-functionalism is irrational since the system is set in a way that the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen. Although competition and equality are unavoidable in typical society, evading poverty is challenging due to the many structural barriers to upward mobility.
Poverty in the US Society
Sociologists have two general but contrasting claims regarding poverty in the United States. The first claim is that poverty is a personal failing. According to O'Hara (2020), this line of thought is the most common among sociologists, with the central premise being that many people are poor due to personal traits. The root of this view is meritocracy th
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