New Poverty: Families in Postmodern Society

New Poverty: Families in Postmodern Society

New Poverty: Families in Postmodern Society

New Poverty: Families in Postmodern Society

Synopsis

Cheal argues that the sociology of poverty has entered a new postmodern phase. The "new poverty" is about loss of faith--in relationships that were once believed to last a lifetime, and in government programs that we used to think would last for generations.

Excerpt

This book is intended to inspire serious, critical reflection on the relationships between current family situations and the risks of being poor today. There are many reasons for concern. Some of them are: the existence of a life course poverty gradient, in which the risk of poverty is highest in early childhood; the fact that families with children do not appear to benefit significantly from government income redistribution; and the politics of fiscal programs that both alleviate and increase poverty risks, for different groups.

The waning interest of governments in supporting poor people forces us to reexamine some fundamental understandings about modernization and progress. In this book, specific causes of poverty are located within a broader context of problems in modernity. The author argues that the sociology of poverty has entered a new, postmodern phase.

Chapters 1 and 2 contain general discussions about the cultural and political significance of poverty research. The main theme in those chapters can be stated very simply. It is that new forms of poverty can be fully understood only in the context of theories of social change.

Poverty as it exists today evidently has something to do with a special set of changes known collectively as modernization. But what is the connection, exactly? The most common answer is that poverty is due to certain imperfections in the process of modernization itself. Further, it is hoped that correcting those imperfections can reduce the impact of . . .

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