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Poverty - Research Paper Example

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(Name) (Instructors’ name) (Course) (Date) Poverty In the previous essay, we saw how poverty affected Jo Goodwin Parker’s life, putting her in a difficult situation not only with her family but also with the society. Considering that she is a mother, it is sad to imagine her worrying that her children may end up being trapped in the same cycle of poverty she found herself in…
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She is angry at the privileged in the society and blames them for her condition. In this paper, we will explore how poverty and classes play a role in Kuwait and the Middle East at large. In Kuwaiti society there are five degrees of social stratification, and these classes are based on wealth. At the zenith of the social structure is the ruling family. Below it are the old merchant families of Kuwait; in the middle are Arabian Desert Nomads and Bedouins who settled in Kuwait upon the discovery of oil and the beginning of the country’s oil boom. Arabs from surrounding countries come next and are then followed by foreigners, who form the base of Kuwait’s social strata (World Trade Press 21). There are strong kinship relations within classes, and these help maintain and preserve the social structure. Social stratification is perpetuated and encouraged by the state, in terms of the legal right to own property by cultural issues like marriage patterns, and by social rights like the provision or absence of housing, healthcare, and state-funded education. Enormous gaps abound within this hierarchy between the extremely privileged (vastly rich), the middle class, and the very (abjectly) poor migrants. In Kuwaiti society most marriages are arranged in line with tradition. Intermarriage is only allowed within clans, but not across social classes. This shows how one’s poverty or social class can negatively affect his/her way of life. For instance, the Bedouins (poor and low-class members of the social class) are only allowed to marry among themselves, and cannot intermarry with the middle class; the middle class can also not intermarry with the ruling class. Apart from controlled marriages, people of different classes rarely interact with each other (in schools, health facilities, and other social amenities) unless they have to (Young 49). Access to and creation of wealth is a real challenge unless you belong to the middle or upper classes; those who are able to create wealth rarely do it in the country, preferring to find success abroad. As a result of this, somebody who is born into the lower classes is likely to remain in the poverty cycle that is associated with such classes. This perfectly illustrates the predicament and situation that Jo Goodwin has found herself in; she was born into and has remained in a poverty cycle of the lower class. It is a known fact that most Middle Eastern societies are so heavily stratified that it will take ages for the stratification to crumble. The systemic hierarchies in Kuwait and the Middle East are the primary cause of social problems in those regions. Within those hierarchies, groups and structures are many individuals who are always struggling to either better or maintain their status. There are people who are referred to as “stateless” or Bedouin because they live in Kuwait but do not have Kuwaiti citizenship. In Arabic, Bedouin means “without”, and is short for “Bedouin jinsiya”, which means “without citizenship” (Te?treault 34). Bedouin are considered to be the lowest members of the social structure, a stain, and a problem in the Kuwaiti societal fabric. They have been in the country for decades, but are yet to enjoy the privileges that come with living in Kuwait. The problem associated with Bedouins or the “ Read More
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