THE SOCIOLOGY OF POVERTY IN AFRICA: THE CULTURAL PARADIGM

By
E. O. Frank
Dept. of Political Science
University of Uyo
Akwa Ibom State
Nigeria

Summary
Poverty as a phenomenon is so pervasive and the various programs to address it in Africa have tended to fail. This paper adopts the sociological/ Anthropological paradigm as the perceptual prism to analyze the phenomenon. It identified that the social environment in pre-industrial Africa made, the social institutions of polygamy and its attendant large family size a necessity. No one in this society was unemployed. Furthermore, large family and number of wives married earned one high social statuses. The very factors, which hitherto earned one high social status in the society, marked the beginning of poverty in Africa. This is because African children, men and women who did not need formal education in the old social order to function and hard none anyway, could not fit into the new industrial state, which required a modicum of western education to function. The people remained largely unemployed and poor. This created the poverty regime -which is still subsisting today hence the pervasiveness of poverty. The termination of the poverty dynasty in Africa would require a robust economy with enormous state intervention, redistribution of wealth through a carefully grafted fiscal policy. Population control should be embraced by African states with visionary leadership.

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Posted in VOLUME 12 N0. (1) APRIL 2010.

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