Culture of Poverty, Beyond the
Published Online: 30 DEC 2015
Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. All rights reserved.
The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism
How to Cite
Bell, M., Fosse, N., Lamont, M. and Rosen, E. 2015. Culture of Poverty, Beyond the. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism. 1–16.
- Published Online: 30 DEC 2015
Understanding social life requires attending to the cultural dimension of reality. Yet, when it comes to the study of low-income populations, factoring in culture has often been a contentious project. This is because explaining poverty through culture has been equated with blaming the poor for their predicaments. Scholars have moved the debate forward by making a case for integrating culture in explanations of poverty. This requires drawing on analytical devices such as frames, narratives, institutions, repertoires, and boundaries that capture intersubjective definitions of reality. These concepts have been useful for identifying a diversity of frameworks through which low-income populations understand their reality and develop paths for mobility. This entry builds on these contributions by exploring the place of culture in studies of American low-income populations in three important areas of social life: family, neighborhood, and work.