Psychology of Poverty: Interviews about Attributions for Poverty and Wealth

Essay by chattering_loryUniversity, Bachelor's February 2006

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The unequal distribution of wealth in the USA is not a matter of resource distribution simply based on people's own ability or diligence. There are many attributes behind the theme. These attributes are generally categorized into three groups. Firstly, the individualistic explanation refers to the "role of individual in creating their own poverty" (bullock, 1995). Secondly, the "structural" explanations states how "economic and social conditions" (Bullock, 1995) cause poverty. "Fatalistic" explanations, the third type, "emphasizes bad luck, illness and unfortunate circumstances" (Bullock, 1995). In order to look at what people generally relate poverty to, I have interviewed three people of different race and background about their views on poverty and wealth by asking them why certain people are poor (or rich). I am going to link them to some researches for a clearer picture on the topic.

The three interviews were done on 27-29 January, 2005 to three individuals. All of them were asked three questions: 1) Why do you think some people are poor? 2) Why do you think some people are rich? 3) Which social class do you think you belong to? The information collected is matched with the three explanations mentioned above with reference to lecture notes (Bullock, Jan 25, 2006) and Tables II and III in Cozzarelli's research (2002).

Since none of my interviewees have a political affiliation, I am going to put it aside in my analysis.

The first interviewee, Fanny (pseudonym), is a 25-years old white female college student in UC Santa Cruz. She considers herself as in the upper-middle class. According to Fanny, her family is quite affluent although her parents are divorced. Her father owns a company and her mother owns two properties. Her family can afford whatever she wants. For example, she and her sister were allowed to pick any car...