Social Construction of Poverty in Ghana: A Structural Sociological Analysis

William Boateng


Poverty is a social construct largely based on the culture of poverty paradigm where the poor are blamed for their plight. Poverty constructed this way diverts attention from the social forces responsible for it. In order to thoroughly understand poverty in Ghana, therefore, we need to engage in the sociological imagination to see if poverty is a personal problem or a public issue. This paper aims to disprove the culture of poverty paradigm, which defines poverty as a personal problem, and redirect the attention to the macro social structure as the premise upon which poverty resides, thus making it an important public issue.

The general objective of the paper is to use the macro sociological perspectives - functionalist, conflict, feminist, and postmodernist - to make a cogent case against the culture of poverty paradigm as basis for the social construction of poverty. Specifically, the paper identifies the social groups more susceptible to experience poverty in Ghana, the macro social forces responsible for their susceptibility, and propose feasible specific policy strategies to address poverty and the social pathologies tied to it.

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