structural aspects of childhood poverty
to address some of the structural aspects of childhood poverty. Consider the theoretical distinction between locating the problem in
the individual (it’s each family’s responsibility to provide for their own children) versus the collective (it’s a social responsibility to ensure that all children are provided for). These two theoretical frameworks will result in very different ways of making sense of, and responding to, the problem. Neither is neutral, but both will impact the problem in profoundly different ways (for example, some countries with a more collectivist approach, such as Japan and Finland, automatically provide school lunch for all children, not just low-income children. In so doing, they remove the stigma associated with special programs).
The way we make sense of our world (or our theories about the world) is often invisible to us. But we cannot address issues of critical social justice without first examining the maps we are using to identify the problem and conceptualize its solutions. Further, awareness of our theoretical maps can lead to fundamental change in our behaviors. This is why understanding theory is not only relevant but also essential for social change to occur.