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Poverty & Conflict Theory

Debunk Myths about the Poor Teach Marx's Conflict Theory

krista mccloskey

on 25 February 2011

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Transcript of Poverty & Conflict Theory

Income versus Wealth How long would it take to spend $1million?
Could you spend $1billion in your lifetime? The estimated fortune of Jeff Skoll (founder of eBay) increased from $3.43 billion & $6.66 billion from 2002-2004. (Brym and Lie, p. 235)

Wealth comes from assets (stocks, home(s), car, rrsp's..)
Whereas Income is what one makes per year. Canada's Wealthiest: Thompson Family Publishing Corp. = $21.67 billion

Galen Weston
Holt Renfrew, Zehrs Loblaws, P.Choice =
$9.27 billion in 2005, Annual Income of F/T worker earning minimum wage=$15, 596 The Poor: People are poor because they don't want to work
The overwhelming majority of poor people are immigrants
The welfare rolls are crammed with young people who ought to be earning a living
Most poor peopl are trapped in Poverty Myth 3=Only 4% of Welfare Recipients were under 20
(National Council of Welfare 1997)
You'll get a chance to debunk the rest! Theories of Stratification:
CONFLICT THEORY Important Terms:
Class Consciousness
Proletariat (Working Class) versus Bourgeoisie (Capitalist Class
Petty Borgeoisie (Small-Scale Capitalist)
Components of Conflict Theory
1- Focuses on large macrolevel structures, such as relations among classes.

2 - Shows how major patterns of inequality in society produce social stability in some circumstances and social change in others. 3 - Stresses how members of priveleged groups try to maintain their advantages while subordinate groups struggle to increase theirs. Therefore social conditions at a given time are the expression of an ongoing power struggle b/t priveleged & subordinate groups. In Marx's example, the Borgeoisie and the Proletariat.

4 - It typically lead to the suggestion that eliminating privelege will lower the level of conflict and increase the sum of total human welfare (i.e. communist system) conflict theory


Max Weber (VABER) did not account for rapid growth in the service sector or the many white collar workers in the manufacturing sector.
class conflict is not the only driving force for change: Politics and Religion are too.
did not account for technology in aiding workers to work fewer arduous hours. Although Marx has been criticised for not accurately forseeing specific aspects of capitalist development, he has strongly influenced modern day Conflict Theory as well as influenced Feminist Theory.

With a partner, think of examples where conflict theory can explain sociological phenomenon. Give one example from the community/currently and 2 examples from the 20th century (hint: 1900-1999!)
Independently, debunk the other 3 myths about the poor.
Read the handout on Homelessness and do assigned question. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKe7XNTWTUc&feature=related Homelessness a manifestation of poverty. According to Myth 4: 1 in 3 people with low-income in 2002 had moved beyond it by 2003. Poverty for many is a result of unstable finances that can slip in and out of difficult circumstances..... watch clip: there's hope! Today.. TASK
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