Five Families: Mexican Case Studies in the Culture of Poverty

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Basic Books, 1975 - Social Science - 351 pages
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One of the truly seminal works in modern cultural anthropology, Five Families is a dramatic and forceful account of the men, women, and children of five Mexican families and the impoverished communities in which they live.

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User Review  - bposinger - LibraryThing

It was a thoroughly interesting Ethnography; though, it was hard to read in the sense that it was somewhat sexist (understandable due to time period) but also depressing to read. Read full review


The Martinez Family
The Gomez Family
The Gutierrez Family
The Sanchez Family
The Castro Family

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About the author (1975)

Oscar Lewis, an American anthropologist, was renowned for his studies of poverty in Mexico and Puerto Rico and for his controversial concept of "the culture of poverty." After graduating from Columbia University, where he studied under Ruth Benedict, Franz Boas, and Margaret Mead, his first major book, Life in a Mexican Village (1951), was a restudy of Robert Redfield's village of Tepoztlan, which reached a number of conclusions opposed to those reached by Redfield. Much of the controversy over the culture of poverty disappeared when Lewis labeled it a subculture; ironically, reactionaries have used the concept to blame the poor for their poverty, whereas Lewis believed the poor to be victims. Many of his books are based on tape recordings of family members, a technique in which Lewis was a pioneer.

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