Answer each of the following four essay questions to the best of your ability. Your responses must be double-spaced with 1” margins. The goal of this exam is to assess how well you understand the ideas presented in the readings and lectures and how well you incorporate specific course concepts into your responses. However, you are to use NO DIRECT QUOTES. Instead, paraphrase and cite the source appropriately. (ex. “As Smith concludes in her study of furniture, polish is best for maintenance (p.10).”)
Each question can be answered in approximately two pages within a focused, concise, and direct response. You will not be graded based on page length but on the quality of your response. Your essays should directly answer the questions, not simply provide opinions, list examples of the concepts, or summarize lectures and readings.
QUESTIONS1. Consider the following statement: “People in poverty are poor because they aren’t working hard enough.” How would Marx respond to this statement? Durkheim/functionalists? Edin & Shaefer? Use specific examples from Marger and Edin & Shaefer throughout your response for support. Please do not use direct quotes, but instead paraphrase and cite the page number.
2. What do Edin & Shaefer mean when they say that “welfare is dead?” How is the 1996 welfare “reform” policy related to the feminization of poverty and assumptions about the “culture of poverty?” (Be sure to define each of these concepts.) How has the 1996 legislation impacted the working poor in particular? Use specific examples from Marger, and at least two chapters from Edin & Shaefer to illustrate the cycle of poverty in action. Include page numbers for all examples.
3. What is structural mobility? What economic factors made upward mobility into the working class, lower-middle class, and upper-middle class easier before 1970? (Start by briefly defining each group.) What economic factors have made upward mobility more difficult since the 1970s for the working class and lower-middle class in particular? Be sure to use examples from the Marger and Uchitelle readings with page numbers for support throughout.
4. What is the wealth gap? What specific structural factors explain why the wealth gap has grown over the past three decades? How have these same structural factors impacted the working poor and working class? How have they impacted the upper class? Choose one theory from Marger chapter 4 that helps us understand the growth of the wealth gap. Use examples from Marger, with page numbers, for support throughout.
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