Critique of The War Against the Poor

Critique of The War Against the Poor
The sociological book, The War Against the Poor: The Underclass and Antipoverty Policy, written by Herbert J. Gans attempts to take a look at and make a case for America waging a "war" against the poor in the non-traditional sense since the 1980s.This war begin in the 1960s with what he describes as minor conflicts and then became a full scale ordeal in the 80s with the idea of the "underclass" as its main intellectual weapon of attack.This word "has a technical aura that enables it to serve as a euphemism or code word to be used for labeling" (59). Gans uses and extends a series of influential articles to decisively demonstrate how the term has served to “stigmatize, harass, and stereotype the poor by questioning their values and their morality,” changing them, in result into “scapegoats whom the wealthier peoples can displace” social problems and worries (1 and 129).Through extensive research Gans determines the origins, manner of travel, and wide uses of the label “underclass.”In 1963, the under-class indicated a portion of the working class that had become "marginalized by de-industrialization." In the 1970s Gans shows how "under-class" had changed with a racial as well as behavioral indication: he argues that journalists and politicians aided the spread of this connotation."Social scientists also acted as label communicators themselves, as well as legitimators (56).This new attachment to the term under-class was that of poor urban African Americans who allegedly threaten America’s traditions with their supposed antisocial behavior.
Using data derived from Nexis, a type of professional search engine, the diffusion of the underclass label in mapped out through the main magazines and newspapers of the country (although this research is primarily done with case studies). Social scientists legitimized its s…

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