SUMMARY. This paper posits that specialization within disciplines has enabled a fragmentation ofknowledge in poverty research, which results in individualistic explanations for poverty that arise naturally from disconnects inherent in isolating frameworks. It proposes that the use of a traumatological framework provides nuances of argument missing from previous discussions, which may allow us to more critically examine the 'culture of poverty' thesis. Such an examination may lead us to consider an alternative explanation. Rather than inherent cultural attributes, descriptors of poverty populations may be manifestations of the symptoms produced by the violence of poverty and other life experiences, and the resultant trauma. [Article copies available for a fee froln The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH. E-mail address: <docdelivery@haworthpress.coln> Website: <https://vvwvv.HaworthPress.com,>; © 2005 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.}

KEYWORDS. Culture, poverty, social work, trauma, violence


The goals of this paper are: (1) to emphasize the necessity of an inclusive poverty discourse, (2) to demonstrate how uniquely capable and potentially culpable the discipline of social work may be in formulating the poverty policy debate, and (3) to demonstrate how the inclusion of knowledge of trauma experience may be relevant to poverty research and enriching to the discourse. Most specifically, this paper draws upon work on trauma by Kira (2001), which focuses upon historical trauma and its implications. As an example of inclusive poverty research this paper holds as a fundamental assumption that the breadth of knowledge extent within the social work profession is applicabile to social policy. The conclusion this paper articulates is one that shifts the emphasis from a culture of poverty as proposed by Lewis (1969) to a dominant culture's participation in the business of manufacturing poverty through social policy design and poverty discourse, resulting in a traumatized citizenry. In other words, populations previously vilified for their deviant natures may be viewed, instead, through a lens that focuses upon their trauma symptoms. This shift in focus may invite us to draw different conclusions as to why many anti-poverty policies have been ineffectual and may lead to the assumption that only multi-level and universal social welfare programs will have any lasting impact upon poverty and inequality. Much like the function of a systems perspective in practice, the inclusion of trauma in discussions of poverty policy broadens the framework.