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Pitied but Not Entitled: Single Mothers and the History of Welfare

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Editorial Reviews

Mary Carroll
As the debate over welfare reform heats up, University of Wisconsin history professor Gordon offers a thoughtful analysis of the roots of welfare's "negative charge." Combining social, economic, political, and intellectual history, Gordon probes the roles of social workers and settlement houses, the Department of Labor's Children's Bureau and African American women's clubs, the crisis of the Depression, and 1930s social movements in building a stratified welfare state. Gordon provides a gendered perspective--tracing the role of women in establishing assistance models as well as the effects of actual and alternative approaches on women and children receiving aid--but stresses the interactions of race, class, and gender, and of political realities with philosophical ideals. Most notably, Gordon points up the "maternalism" of the women's social work network, and the commitment of most welfare advocates--male "and" female--to an already outdated "family-wage" concept that assumed and reinforced women's economic dependence. "Pitied but Not Entitled" is a vivid, enlightening exploration of the causes and consequences of unexamined assumptions.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780029124857
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 2/15/1994
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 What Is "Welfare"? 1
2 Single Mothers: The Facts and the Social Problem 15
3 State Caretakers: Maternalism, Mothers' Pensions, and the Family Wage 37
4 "Pity Is a Rebel Passion": The Social Work Perspective 67
5 "Don't Wait for Deliverers": Black Women's Welfare Thought 111
6 Prevention Before Charity: Social Insurance and the Sexual Division of Labor 145
7 The Depression Crisis and Relief Politics 183
8 New Deal Social Movements and Popular Pressure for Welfare 209
9 The Legislative Process: Reformers Face Politics 253
10 Welfare and Citizenship 287
Appendix: Welfare Reform Leaders 307
Noted 315
Index 421
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