'Culture of Poverty' theory underpins the 'no such thing as society, only individuals and their families' administering of contemporary social work outlined in Mark Ivory's discussion, 'Poverty: Just a fact of modern life?' (Community Care, 11 September - online title 'Poverty taken for granted in modern society'). The public relations strategy of this approach works hypocritically when complaints leak to the media: "We cannot comment on individual cases," they say.
A 19th Century churchman said, "For every person who's poor because of drinking, I'll show you a person who drinks because they're poor."
In response to the gin addiction problem highlighted by Hogarth's works, 19th Century government gave cash incentives to farmers toward getting people off gin and onto beer which was thought to be more nutritious. The French poet Baudellaire cited wine, poetry and virtue as options for getting drunk on.
In the 21st Century, "The Learning & Skills Council exists to make England better skilled and more competitive." I would argue that the LSC is drunk on its own rhetoric while incidentally promoting 'Culture of Poverty' propaganda and wasting resources. "Education, education and education" is not "resources, resources and resources."
In reality, I know people in poverty and with criminal records who have learning difficulties and have been let down by lack of quality time and resources in education. Crime is a social construct — how about a maximum wage? Families with disabled children are more likely to be poor. The cut-off between adult and children's social services denies lifelong continuity. Too much of 'education' is oriented to getting individuals to attempt to 'make the grade' in a 'knowledge economy' world of diminishing resources. I connect with people through volunteering, poetry etc as the Green Party way is toward equipping social actors to develop and implement a Manifesto for a sustainable society.
Alan Wheatley, BA Interdisciplinary Subjects (Major: Sociology)
Disability Spokesperson for London Green Party