Locus of control and culture of poverty. An appraisal of Lawrence M. Mead’s ideas in ‘Culture and Poverty’




Lawrence M. Mead presented an interesting argument as to why poverty exists in the United States. He problematizes the culture of the poor of which ethnic minorities over-represent. By referring to the geographic regions from which these ethnic minorities came from, he globalised the question of poverty in the US. This invites a global policy debate rather than a US-centric policy debate. Indeed, Mead so freely made references to Africa and the African culture severally throughout his commentary. It is against this backdrop that I show that Mead was right to a large extent on the question of inner-driven individualised orientation. However, he overestimates its influence and misreads what culture is. He presented the culture of poverty as the antecedent of poverty. It was concluded that manipulating both internal drive (internal locus of control) and the structure of society is a more effective way to tackle poverty.


locus of control, culture of poverty, personality, poverty,


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How to Cite

Oppong, S. (2022) “Locus of control and culture of poverty. An appraisal of Lawrence M. Mead’s ideas in ‘Culture and Poverty’”, Academicus International Scientific Journal. Vlora, Albania, 13(25), pp. 226–234. doi: 10.7336/academicus.2022.25.14.