Get access

Cultural diversity and anti-poverty policy

Authors


  • Michèle Lamont is the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies and Professor of Sociology and African and African American studies at Harvard University. Her publications include Money, morals and manners: the culture of the French and American upper middle class, The dignity of working men: morality and the boundaries of race, class, and immigration, How professors think: inside the world of academic judgment and Successful societies: how culture and inequality affect health (co-edited with Peter Hall).
    Web page: http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/soc/faculty/lamont/index.html
    Email: mlamont@wjh.harvard.edu

  • Mario Luis Small is Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago. His work has been published in journals such as the American Journal of Sociology, Annual Review of Sociology, Social Forces, Theory and Society and Social Science Research. His books include Villa Victoria: the transformation of social capital in a Boston barrio and Unanticipated gains: origins of network inequality in everyday life.
    Web page: http://home.uchicago.edu/~mariosmall
    Email: mariosmall@uchicago.edu

Abstract

This article examines how anti-poverty policy has considered the role of culture and how it ought to do so. While some have explained poverty as a function of the presumed cultural deficiency or distinctiveness of the poor, we suggest that these explanations have not been convincing and that policy requires a broader and more sophisticated understanding of the relationship between culture and behaviour. In fact, we suggest that cultural differences may be positively employed in comprehensive anti-poverty strategies.

Ancillary