Theoretical Approaches to Poverty

Theoretical Approaches to Poverty - 2) Is the relationship...

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Theoretical Approaches to Poverty 1) Functionalism – contemporary functionalists assert that inequality is a cultural universal because it is beneficial to the operation of society. - Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore argue that some jobs are more important than others. In order to motivate people to fill positions that require more training and talent, it is important to offer greater rewards (including higher income, greater prestige, and more power) to these positions. Davis and Moore argue that an egalitarian society would be inefficient because it would not encourage people to excel. - Davis and Moore see society as a meritocracy, a system of social inequality in which social standing corresponds to personal ability and effort. Criticisms of the Davis-Moore Thesis: 1) How do you measure the importance of a position?
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Unformatted text preview: 2) Is the relationship between the importance of a position and its rewards as straightforward as the theory suggests? 3) Why isnt society a meritocracy? That is, why are many positions not awarded on the basis of merit? 4) Is inequality actually functional for society?- Herbert Gans argues that inequality exists because people benefit from it; inequality performs a number of functions: 1) The poor are willing to perform unpleasant tasks 2) They are willing to purchase things that no one else wants 3) They remind others that it is important to work hard 4) They serve as scapegoats for many of our social problems 5) They create work for the rest of us (e.g., social workers, pawn shop owners, less qualified doctors and lawyers)...
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