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Student Poverty

Student Poverty STUDENT POVERTY INTRODUCTION Prior assumptions about poverty and its relativity to human nature are needed to be able to begin researching poverty. A starting point is needed, and this is nearly always based on other peoples research. A hypothesis is formed firstly, based on existing theory formulated by other research and conclusions, and then I will try to anticipate some outcomes and relationships that I may find. From this I can begin to formulate best course of investigation. If the outcome of my research then confirms the theories I had already hypothesised, then I know that the original framework on which I had based my research has been fairly accurate. However I must always take into account the variables, and probability that I could be mistaken in my line of research. Or that my own values, being a student myself, may have influenced my analysis.

We can begin by looking at what kind of assumptions can be made about poverty. The CO-existence of rich nations plagued with widespread diseases of overconsumption and poor communities existing at the barest imaginable level of livelihood, cannot be morally defended. But to assume that this implies that there is some easily discovered, absolute and apparently universal, line below which there is poverty and above which there is not, is fundamentally to misunderstand the problem…… most of the research into poverty in Britain during the past eighty years has been based upon just such a misconception. (Coates and Silburn, 1970.) From the above statement we can see the kind of assumptions already made in 1970, that could affect the way a sociologist may choose to organise his research today. From reading Coates and Silburn, it can be assumed that there is no fine line between being in a state of poverty and a state of non-poverty.

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It would depend on the standard of living within the country you are studying. The researcher therefore may not choose to base his research on just the people assumed to be living in a state of poverty in one country, when given the state of poverty in another country, the former would be considered well off. The bases of my research will be in an outer London University, so the comparisons between another country and ours are not really relevant, however will look at comparisons with other universities. As I intend to base this project upon the bases of weather or not class is variable in student poverty, it is within my interests to compare the university I am studying (The University Of Greenwich) with other universities that are considered to be richer or poorer than my own. But the statement above is of use, as it suggests that there is no line drawn between poverty and non-poverty. This would lead me believe that attempts to distinguish those who are in poverty and those who are not will not be an easy task, and I must take this into account when analysing my research.

My data research consists of a survey, which was first sampled, then finalised. The survey was carried out via 250 individual interviews as it contained certain aspects, which may not have been fully understood by the subject. Not only were financial specific questions asked, but opinion orientated questions also. This is a quantitative based research DISCUSSION The Social class, and the correct determination of it has never been well defined. There is no single excepted way of determining just which social class an individual belongs to. So to best determine how to determine how a student should be socially classified, I will be using methods introduced by John Goldthorpe. This takes the father as the most influential family member, and those within his family as having his allocated class.

But should this be the case among all our subjects? Defining class groupings in economic terms is an extremely difficult task. But the different groups within the same class do not receive the same income. If we try and break down the allocation of class into familys we can see there are many flaws in the process of todays modern society. Within a family today it is not uncommon for both the man and women to work (or even for women to be the sole providers, especially in single parent familys), so should their combined income be taken into consideration when defining which class the family is in? Or should it just be the highest earner? The most significant questions for class analysis concern the two larger groups, women and children. Class has generally assigned dependent members of the family to the class position of the head of the household.

But a large proportion of women are in paid employment in most western societies.Here too class analysis assigns most cases to that of the husband or father. (Hindess 1987, p: 70) Barry Hindess refers mainly to John Goldthorpes study concerning class structure and mobility. Mobility between classes is important, because of the effect it has on the development of social attitudes. Social mobility can therefore be associated with wider commitments of men, outside the working environment. Goldthorpe argues you cannot distinguish a man or womans class merely by the position he or she holds at work and the subsequent pay the job entails. Although it is worth noting that a man or womens financial position strongly influences the social aspect of there lives.

Unfortunately the study Goldthorpe carried out was in many ways inaccurate, as womens class was distinguished by the class position of the head of her household. In most cases her husband or father. This way of determining the social position in terms of class is fine for women and children who do not work, if you want to determine class purely by financial status. However in modern western societies there are many exceptions which would make a study of this kind inaccurate, if a different way of determining class allocation cannot be found. But in the meantime even if a women is in paid employment, her class is still determined by that of a male member of her household. [Marxism] is grounded in concepts that do not and could not address directly the gender of the exploiters and those whose labour is appropriated.

A Marxist analysis of capitalism is therefore conceived around a primary contradiction between labour and capital and operates with categories that . . . can be termed sex blind. Feminism, however, points in a different direction, emphasising precisely the relations of gender largely speaking, of the oppression of women by men that Marxism has tended to pass over in silence.

Barrett, (1980). It can now be determined that perhaps one reason that class analysis is so difficult, is because of the way that women are now taking roles always assumed to be the responsibility of the men. The above graph shows the amount of students parents who have jobs over the working classification of 6, as you can see the amount of men is much greater than the amount of women. So I think it will make this investigation more accurate if I go with John Goldthorpes method of classifying a familys class to that that of the male of the father of the family. Weather or not a student who is no longer dependent on his family should be given their own class is another argument, a student may believe that he or she is not actually a member of a social class at all. Moving on to the subject of poverty, a …


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