The Undeserving Poor: America's Enduring Confrontation with Poverty: Fully Updated and Revised

Overview


First published in 1989, The Undeserving Poor was a critically acclaimed and enormously influential account of America's enduring debate about poverty. Taking stock of the last quarter century, Michael B. Katz's new edition of this classic is virtually a new book. As the first did, it will force all concerned Americans to reconsider the foundations of our policies toward the poor, especially in the wake of the Great Recession that began in 2008.

Katz highlights how throughout ...

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The Undeserving Poor: America's Enduring Confrontation with Poverty: Fully Updated and Revised

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Overview


First published in 1989, The Undeserving Poor was a critically acclaimed and enormously influential account of America's enduring debate about poverty. Taking stock of the last quarter century, Michael B. Katz's new edition of this classic is virtually a new book. As the first did, it will force all concerned Americans to reconsider the foundations of our policies toward the poor, especially in the wake of the Great Recession that began in 2008.

Katz highlights how throughout American history, the poor have been regarded as undeserving: people who do not deserve sympathy because they brought their poverty on themselves, either through laziness and immorality, or because they are culturally or mentally deficient. This long-dominant view sees poverty as a personal failure, serving to justify America's mean-spirited treatment of the poor. Katz reminds us, however, that there are other explanations of poverty besides personal failure. Poverty has been written about as a problem of place, of resources, of political economy, of power, and of market failure. Katz looks at each idea in turn, showing how they suggest more effective approaches to our struggle against poverty.

The Second Edition includes important new material. It now sheds light on the revival of the idea of culture in poverty research; the rehabilitation of Daniel Patrick Moynihan; the resurgent role of biology in discussions of the causes of poverty, such as in The Bell Curve; and the human rights movement's intensified focus on alleviating world poverty. It emphasizes the successes of the War on Poverty and Great Society, especially at the grassroots level. It is also the first book to chart the rise and fall of the "underclass" as a concept driving public policy.

A major revision of a landmark study, The Undeserving Poor helps readers to see poverty-and our efforts to combat it--in a new light.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A convincing and clear historical perspective on the peculiar perceptions of poverty and welfare in the United States" --William Julius Wilson, University of Chicago

"The Undeserving Poor is likely to become the definitive history of contemporary poverty policy. Not only is Michael B. Katz a fine scholar, but he brings to his subject a deep empathy for the marginalized and the outcast." --Frances Fox Piven, City University of New York

"A broadly conceived and provocative review of America's recent efforts to help the poor and its return to punishing them." --Herbert J. Gans, Columbia University

"With the publication of The Undeserving Poor, Michael B. Katz is destined to join a select set of brilliant writers who have changed how America thinks about poverty. Like Michael Harrington's The Other America and William Ryan's Blaming the Victim, this new book has the real promise of shattering stereotypes." --Barry Bluestone, University of Massachusetts

"As students of poverty and inequality, we grew up with the classic first edition of The Undeserving Poor. Now, Michael Katz has undertaken a rigorous revision. But this new book is more than a second edition. It is an extraordinary analysis of shifts in academic research and political paradigms, as well as a global perspective on the question of poverty in America. Katz once again demonstrates that he is one of the most influential and creative social historians of our times." --Ananya Roy, University of California, Berkeley, and author of Poverty Capital

"Michael Katz has done a magnificent job of revising his classic text. It draws on a remarkable range of new material while retaining the clarity, historical perspective, and ethical sensibilities of the original. Everybody, from beginning student to seasoned expert, has something to learn from this important book."--Alice O'Connor, University of California, Santa Barbara

"With the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty just around the corner, the hawks and doves of that 'conflict' are sharpening their arguments. All of them should read this classic of American policy, research, and public attitudes on poverty. Michael Katz, the pre-eminent scholar of the subject, has fully updated this indispensable volume right up to the moment."--Peter Edelman, author of So Rich So Poor

"This is social history at its best. Katz excavates the political and ideological battles over what we should do to lift people out of poverty and into the middle class. Like a good drama, it is filled with fascinating people: politicians, writers, policy wonks, activists, academics, philanthropists, and journalists. Their personalities, interests, ideas, and conflicts have shaped how we view the poor and what we do about poverty. Katz makes it all come alive in this absorbing and well-written book." --Peter Dreier, Chair, Urban & Environmental Policy Department, Occidental College

"The original edition of The Undeserving Poor profoundly influenced two generations of poverty scholars and policy-makers. Full of fresh research and thoroughly re-written to incorporate the insights of feminist scholars, critical race theorists, economists, geographers, political philosophers and poverty historians, this new edition is as indispensable as the first. At a time when poverty rates are skyrocketing, Katz's insight and vast knowledge are more critical than ever." --Annelise Orleck, author of Storming Caesars Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty

"Katz has written a provocative, insightful, and much-needed update to the first edition of his The Undeserving Poor (1990)... Katz convincingly argues that the itneraction among political economy, resources, and power offer clues to addressing these questions, and that ad hoc deliberation, rather than ineffective consistency that has dogged past efforts to combat poverty, must be the order of the day. Summing up: Highly recommended." --CHOICE

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199933952
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/31/2013
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 481,019
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael B. Katz is Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History and a Research Associate in the Population Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The author of Why Don't American Cities Burn?, The Price of Citizenship: Redefining the American Welfare State, and In the Shadow of the Poorhouse: A Social History of Welfare in America, he is a past-president of the History of Education Society and the Urban History Association. The first edition of The Undeserving Poor was a semi-finalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and a finalist for the American Sociological Association's Distinguished Book Award.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Chapter One
The Undeserving Poor: Morals, Culture and Biology

Chapter Two
Poverty and the Politics of Liberation

Chapter Three
Intellectual Foundations of the War on Poverty and Great Society

Chapter Four
Interpretations of Poverty in the Conservative Ascendance

Chapter Five
The Rise and Fall of the "Underclass"

Epilogue
What Kind of a Problem is Poverty?

Acknowledgments

Index

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