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cycle of poverty

  Self-perpetuating poverty and deprivation transmitted inter-generationally (see figure). Whereas some of the causes of this process lie in a child\'s home background, others reflect spatial variations in life chances, as with the quality of local schools, the quantity and quality of jobs available locally, health and crime problems in the neighbourhood, and so forth. Thus the cycle of poverty is particularly associated with the inner city in many urban areas. Cycles of poverty operate in a wide variety of contexts, however, both rural and suburban, wherever disadvantaged members of society are concentrated in areas in which the local situation harms their life chances (cf. underclass). In some presentations, drawing on the work of Oscar Lewis (e.g. 1969), the victims of the cycle are presented as contributing to their own situation. RJJ

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cycle of poverty (after Johnston, 1984)

References and Suggested Reading Lewis, O. 1969: The possessions of the poor. Scientific American 221: 114-24. Rutter, M. and Madge, N. 1976: Cycles of disadvantage. London: Heinemann. Walker A. and Walker, C., eds, 1997: Britain divided: the growth of social exclusion in the 1980s and 1990s. London: Child Poverty Action Group.



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