jones - Critique of Anthropology http:/coa.sagepub.com The...

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http://coa.sagepub.com Critique of Anthropology DOI: 10.1177/0308275X9301300304 1993; 13; 247 Critique of Anthropology Delmos J. Jones and children in a Head Start program The Culture ofAchievementAmong the Poor: The case of mothers http://coa.sagepub.com The online version of this article can be found at: Published by: http://www.sagepublications.com can be found at: Critique of Anthropology Additional services and information for http://coa.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Email Alerts: http://coa.sagepub.com/subscriptions Subscriptions: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav Reprints: http://www.sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav Permissions: http://coa.sagepub.com/cgi/content/refs/13/3/247 Citations at COLUMBIA UNIV LIBRARY on June 15, 2010 http://coa.sagepub.com Downloaded from
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The Culture ofAchievementAmong the Poor The case of mothers and children in a Head Start program Delmos J. Jones Graduate School and University Center, City University of New York Introduction It will be argued in this paper that the desire for success is one of the most important elements in the life of the poor. This position is in contrast to theoretical perspectives that portray the poor as having a culture of poverty or that emphasize their dissimilarity to others in the society. The claim here is that the poor, like everyone else in the United States, ’want to succeed, not just survive’. (This is a quotation from a Citicorp commercial that runs frequently on television.) Evidence from a descriptive study of parents and children in a Head Start program is presented. These parents attempted to instill attitudes in their children that would encourage them to succeed despite social and political constraints. Although poor people want a better life, and most make an effort to achieve it, the children of most poor people will grow up to be poor. The focus of this analysis is the relationship between effort and failure. Instead of adapting to poverty, many of the poor go to more extreme efforts to escape it. This drive for achievement is the most dynamic feature of poverty. It is the basis of the tension that exists between the poor and the rest of society, and the source of many of the problems that poor people experience in their relationships with each other. Concerns about other people have implications for social relationships and political mobilization. The drive to succeed is an important aspect of the life of the poor. While it is mentioned in most works, it is virtually absent from theoretical discussions. The first part of this paper is an analysis of the major theoretical perspectives on poverty. These include the culture of poverty approach, the critics of the culture of poverty, the underclass perspective Critique of Anthropology © 1993 (SAGE, London, Newbury Park and New Delhi), Vol. 13(3):
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jones - Critique of Anthropology http:/coa.sagepub.com The...

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