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The role of cultural and structural factors in the explanation of marginal social position in the USA: Scopes and dilemmas

Author(s): Janković Stefan

Journal: Sociologija
ISSN 0038-0318

Volume: 55;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 395;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: marginal social position | cultural factor | behavioural patterns | underclass | culture of poverty

The paper gives a historical account of the genesis of marginal social position explanations in the USA, with special emphasis on the characteristics, related to the generating of cultural factors in explanation. In this light, the two fundamental and interrelated concepts are being indentified - the culture of poverty and the underclass, whose conceptual genesis, in a causal manner, varies between structural and cultural grounding. Due the translation of perceived minority behavioural patterns into the dimensions used for defining the marginal social position, conceptual validity of the underclass has been heavily disputed. At the same time, dilemmas created by the implementation of cultural factors constructed in that way open up broader issues of the relationship between culture and structure, lines of determination and the possibility of a consistent explanation of marginal social position.

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