This thesis explores the values of the poor and the nonpoor as well as the working and nonworking poor in order to determine if values are common or class-differentiated. The assumptions of the Culture of Poverty and Value Compartmentalization theories, which propose a class-differentiated value system, are critiqued. Due to inconsistencies within the theories, a Marxist perspective, which proposes a dominant value system, is adopted as the theoretical framework. In order to examine the values of the poor/nonpoor and the working/nonworking poor, secondary analysis of the National Opinion Research Center's 1984 and 1985 General Social Surveys was performed. Guided by Kluckhohn's (1952), Williams' (1970), and Rokeach's (1973) findings on the dominant values in the United States, groups of questions were selected from the survey to operationalize values. Factor analysis found the questions to cluster around five values and value orientations: freedom of speech for reactionaries, freedom of speech for liberals, perception of people's relation to nature/God, perception of human nature, and a set of "traditional" values. The value groups were crosstabulated and regressed on the independent variables income and work status, as well as the control variables education, age, rural/urban, religiosity, sex, and race. Results showed both the relationship between income and values and between work status and values to be negligible. Although relationships were modest, education, religiosity, age, and rural/urban had, in that order, the largest association with the values.


Hurst, Charles


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

Available for download on Thursday, January 01, 2150



© Copyright 1989 Katherine J. Vierow