The poor between the "culture of poverty" and Miracle in Milan

  • Ivana Gačanović Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade
Keywords:
Oscar Lewis, culture of poverty, the urban poor, Italian neorealism, the film Miracle in Milan

Abstract

The issue of understanding, empathy and the relationship to the poor, the socially and economically marginalized segments of most contemporary societies, represents one of the most challenging political socio-economic, humanist, and scientific problems of today. The paper compares two ways of understanding and representing the urban poor - anthropological and cinematographic. The theoretical and practical achievements of Oscar Lewis and his idea of the "culture of poverty" are given as an example of the anthropological study and understanding of the poor. On the other hand, an analysis of the representation of the poor in Vittorio De Sica's film Miracle in Milan (1951) is given as an example of the cinematographic treatment of the issue. The aim of this comparison is the confronting of two viewpoints – one which aims to get to the scientific truth about poverty and the other – which gives a subjective artistic interpretation of the "old and romantic story about the rich man and the pauper" and the consideration of their cognitive and interpretative effects and potential for an anthropological theory and practice on the issue which would be "better" and wider in scope.

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Published
2017-08-30
How to Cite
Gačanović, Ivana. 2017. “The Poor Between the "culture of Poverty" And Miracle in Milan”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 12 (2), 349–378. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v12i2.2.