The Culture of Poverty: On Individual Choices and Infantilizing Bureaucracies

  • Joshua D. Phillips


There is a contentious academic debate about the correlation between poverty and destructive social behaviors such as out-of-wedlock births, use of intoxicants, disregard for education, attitudes toward work, and even television viewing habits. This chapter will highlight some of the destructive individual behaviors that lead to a life of poverty on a microlevel. In addition, this chapter highlights some of the bureaucratic influences that perpetuate macro-systems that maintain enclaves of poverty, by making it difficult for the poor to make more constructive decisions that would alleviate their poverty. This research is not an attempt to malign the poor or to pompously critique those habits that contribute to generational poverty. Instead, this chapter looks to honestly assess these habits and their outcomes truthfully and dispassionately. Research indicates that poverty and cultural behaviors are intrinsically linked. Therefore, to address poverty, one must address these aspects of culture.


Poverty Poor Welfare Welfare reform Culture Dependency Class Social behavior 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication Arts and SciencesPennsylvania State University, BrandywineMediaUSA

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