Lost Ground: Welfare Reform, Poverty, and Beyond / Edition 1

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Overview

In the mid-1980s, the popularity of Charles Murray's anti-welfare treatise Losing Ground signaled the rising influence of the right-wing critique of welfare. In Lost Ground: Welfare Reform, Poverty and Beyond, a respected array of social scientists buck the conservative trend established by Murray and his cohorts, exposing welfare reform as a sham and positing new strategies to end poverty.

Since the mid-1990s, when Bill Clinton betrayed his supporters on the left by signing welfare reform legislation, the United States has drastically restructured its national policies regarding basic state supports for the poor. Welfare reform legislation is up for reauthorization on the federal level and in 32 states in 2002, but evidence suggesting that welfare reform has created more problems than it has solved is starting to mount. For example, studies marking the 5-year anniversary of welfare reform show that children forced off AFDC (Aid for Dependents and Children) are significantly less successful in school and more inclined toward violent and criminal behavior, even when their mothers have found employment.

The downside of welfare reform is documented in Lost Ground. And this anthology analyses welfare issues in the context of broad political shifts, including globalization, the end of the family wage, the sexual revolution, and the rise of black liberation, feminism, and multiculturalism. Contributors include Mimi Abramovitz, Willie Baptist, Mary Bricker-Jenkins, Linda Burnham, Linda Gordon, James Jennings, Gwendolyn Mink, Frances Fox Piven, Sanford Schram, Joe Soss and Lucie White.

Randy Albelda and Ann Withorn are professors at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. They have written several books and articles including Glass Ceilings and Bottomless Pits: Women's Work, Women's Poverty by Randy Albelda and Chris Tilly; and For Crying Out Loud: Women's Poverty in the United States, edited by Ann Withorn and Diane Dujon.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Much of this book's stimulating content which critiques the impact of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) appeared originally in September 2001 as a special issue of the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Albelda (economics, Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston; Economics and Feminism) and Withorn (social policy, Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston) characterize the bias of the 14 contributors (e.g., Lucy White, Joe Soss) as "feminist, antiracist, and progressive." These contributors consider the attitudes toward gender and race of those who crafted and support the act, claiming that its welfare-to-work stipulations are designed not so much to alleviate poverty as to get recipients off "the dole." Throughout these reasoned essays, a recurring theme is that the PRWORA overlooks, if not actively discourages, the prerequisites for self-sufficiency, i.e., a living wage, affordable child care and shelter, education and vocational training, healthcare support, and community- and individually-based power. The act's single-minded goal appears to be discontinuing welfare help "as we know it." This thoughtful and socially relevant work is highly recommended for academic, public, and professional libraries. (Index not seen.) Suzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology at Alfred Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780896086586
  • Publisher: South End Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2002
  • Series: Sociology Series
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 1
Who Deserves Help? Who Must Provide? 9
Globalization, American Politics, and Welfare Policy 27
Welfare Reform, Family Hardship, and Women of Color 43
Success Stories: Welfare Reform, Policy Discourse, and the Politics of Research 57
Fallacies of Welfare-to-Work Policies 79
Violating Women: Rights Abuses in the Welfare Police State 95
Attacking Welfare Racism/Honoring Poor People's Human Rights 113
Welfare Reform and Neighborhoods: Race and Civic Participation 129
Friends or Foes? Non-profits and the Puzzle of Welfare Reform 145
Learning from the History of Poor and Working-Class Women's Activism 163
Closing the Care Gap that Welfare Reform Left Behind 179
A View from the Bottom: Poor People and Their Allies Respond to Welfare Reform 195
App. A: Guide to Organizations and Resource Centers 211
App. B: Guide to Government and Statistical Resources on the Internet 225
App. C: Guide to Poverty Research Materials 229
About the Contributors 231
Index 235
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