Symbolic Interaction, Structural/Functional Analysis, and Conflict Theory
Poverty is the inability to live a desirable lifestyle because of an insufficient income and lack of resources. People in living poverty can barely get a meal daily. The scarcity of resources is a menace that infests many nations and requires a fast solution. Sociologists try explaining poverty using the following perspectives: functionalism, Symbolic interactionism, and conflict theory. Functionalism (functional analysis) theorists believe that social stratification is essential as it helps society maintain stability and continuity. Therefore according to the functionalist theory, few people should have the ability to obtain the knowledge and skills needed to execute crucial and highly skilled jobs. The conflict theory asserts the uneven distribution of power, resources, and status propels social change (Crossman). Individuals with power, resources, and status discriminate against the poor to ensure they maintain their status quo, whereas those in poverty lack opportunities. According to the symbolic interactionism theory, people’s interaction and understandings in their daily lives attribute to stratification. From social interactions, symbols and meanings emerge that affect people’s lifestyles, conceptions, and beliefs (Aksan et al. 902). The meanings that people attach to things determine the attitude they develop about stratification. The above theories explain how poverty comes about, and the explanation might offer a solution to the menace.
According to the conflict theory, the wealthy are in a battle against the less fortunate as they strive to ensure they retain their status. The perspective offers insight into the competition between two groups. It also implies that economic and social institutions serve as tools used to maintain inequality and the superiority of the dominant class. With the above knowledge, inequality can cease if all groups have access to opportunities and resources. If the attainment of resources and power becomes fair and attainable to anyone, poverty will be no more. Poverty continues to devastate people because they lack space to improve their livelihood. One’s social status relative to others should not determine their accumulation of wealth. Instead, hard work, skillfulness, and persistence should dictate one’s power and resourcefulness.
Aksan, Nilgun, et al. “Symbolic interaction theory.” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 1, no. 1, 2009, pp. 902-904.
Crossman, Ashley. “Understanding Conflict Theory.” ThoughtCo, 3 Mar. 2021, www.thoughtco.com/conflict-theory-3026622. Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.