Poverty: What, Why, and How (at Grays Harbor)

Fall 2016 quarter

Taught by

Many of us have seen the ugly face of poverty. But what is poverty? Why is poverty so prevalent? Who are the poor? What are the underlying causes of poverty? Why is poverty a disease of the whole society (not just the poor)? How is poverty manifested in people’s everyday life? Why are certain racial and ethnic groups more likely to fall into poverty? How do economic processes contribute to poverty? What are the goals and purposes of social welfare programs? What are the limits of policy? How can we act as a community to eliminate poverty?

This course will explore poverty in the larger social context of increasing social inequality and use sociological theories to investigate various aspects of poverty and its particularities in the U.S.

Using poverty as our subject of inquiry, we will study sociological theories and key concepts and critically examine their applicability in class and poverty related issues. We will explore the intricate and complex relationship between social structure and individuals. Course activities will include lectures, seminar, and workshop, individual and group projects. Students will write seminar essays, self-reflection papers, and carry out a mini research project oriented toward action.

This course is complementary to Community Connections: What Makes Communities Work. It can also be taken as a separate course.


Program Details

Fields of Study



Fall Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location

Grays Harbor

Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

Wednesdays, 6-9:30 pm at Grays Harbor College

Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online


$35 each quarter for technology access at Grays Harbor College. If you are registered for the additional course at Grays Harbor, you will only be assessed the fee once per quarter.