Marek Jakoubek: Oscar Lewis’s Blind Spot (Roma and the Culture of Poverty)


This article deals with the question of the applicability of Lewis’ concept of the culture of poverty to the situation of the socially excluded localities in urban setting inhabited by Roma (“Roma ghettoes”). The “Roma ghettoes” are shown to be places of a specific cultural pattern which emerged in the process of reaction and adaptation to the long-lasting poverty of its inhabitants. This pattern matches most of the parameters of the culture of poverty – with the exception of an elaborated system of kinship. An analysis of its role in “Roma ghettoes,” however, shows that the complex system of kinship does not prevent poverty, but may re/produce it.

[Roma, Gypsies, culture of poverty, social exclusion, Czech Republic]