Theories of Poverty and Community Development

3496 words 14 pages
Theories of Poverty and Community Development
Jozette M. Broughton
Introduction to Sociology
Prof. Jeremy Bennett December 09, 2012

In this paper I will explore how two competing theories of poverty shape anti-poverty strategies. Since most rural community development efforts aim to relieve causes or symptoms of poverty, it makes a difference which theory of poverty is believed to be responsible for the problem being addressed. In this paper three theories of poverty are discussed from research in different news articles. It will be shown that two theories of poverty, not that these are the only two, place its origin from 1) individual deficiencies and 2)
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2. Nonprofits and CDCs develop comprehensive approaches to poverty based on a multifaceted approach including employment development, education, housing, access to healthcare and social services, as well as personal networks and participation in community programs that increase social capital.
The first example is based on theories that poverty is perpetuated by individual or family irresponsibility which should be stopped by stiff penalties and the final addresses poverty in a comprehensive and cumulative way. Each example reflects a different theory of what causes poverty and how to address it.
I consider a theory an explanation that links several concepts in this case theories explain poverty (as defined below) by linking different factors thought to cause or perpetuate poverty through distinctive social processes. Interventions that reduce a cause of poverty should reduce poverty as a consequence. The emphasis here is on poverty in developed countries such as the USA. The purpose of this paper is to expand our understanding of just two different theories of poverty that underlie the common toolbox of programs which community developers apply to address the problem of poverty in their community. Poverty in its most general sense is the lack of necessities. Basic food, shelter, medical care, and safety are generally thought necessary based on shared values of human dignity. However, what is a necessity to one person


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