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Working at the Margins: Moving off Welfare in America
     

Working at the Margins: Moving off Welfare in America

by Frances Julia Riemer
 

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Working at the Margins describes and analyzes the move, from welfare rolls to paid employment, of adults who were marginalized from the mainstream by race, ethnicity, language, and economic status. Frances Julia Riemer utilizes ethnographic data gathered over two years from four workplaces that employed thirty seven former welfare recipients. She examines how the

Overview

Working at the Margins describes and analyzes the move, from welfare rolls to paid employment, of adults who were marginalized from the mainstream by race, ethnicity, language, and economic status. Frances Julia Riemer utilizes ethnographic data gathered over two years from four workplaces that employed thirty seven former welfare recipients. She examines how the private sector accommodates these workers and their differences and how the workers themselves negotiate the barriers they experience. The book illustrates how government policies and adult-education initiatives, designed ostensibly to create opportunities, often reify existing inequalities.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
In an ethnographic study of how the poor are "framed" in the workplace, Riemer (educational leadership, Northern Arizona U.) presents the stories of 37 women and men making the welfare-to- work transition in analyzing how the economically marginalized are prepared for jobs. From her perspective as an instructor of such individuals and as her family's first college graduate, she regards education as necessary but not sufficient for moving out of the "culture of poverty." Based on her finding that being valued fosters success, Reimer suggests welfare reform policies promoting more inclusive, flexible, growth-oriented education, training, and support models. The author situates her ideas in a social theory context. Appends methodological notes. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
“These interesting interviews present many stories that will cause concern, but the successes in them will also be cause for celebration.” — Library Journal

“Riemer provides real insights into the process of moving from welfare to work and the often hidden biases of those in positions of power. By delineating the attitudes of all of the parties involved, the concrete circumstances of the workers’ work and private lives and the reality of specific workplaces, this ethnographic study gets beyond the facile slogans about the nature of poverty, work, and individual responsibility to provide genuine insight about the problems people face in trying to change their lives.” — Ruth Sidel, author of Keeping Women and Children Last: America’s War on the Poor

“The greatest contribution of the book lies in the closeness of its attention to the real situations at the workplace, as viewed by both low income workers and supervisors and co-workers. . . . It is extremely useful as a carefully nuanced, front-line study.” — Ann Withorn, author of Serving the People: Social Services and Social Change

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791449264
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
04/28/2001
Series:
SUNY series, Power, Social Identity, and Education Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
317
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 7.84(h) x 0.91(d)

Meet the Author

Frances Julia Riemer is Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Northern Arizona University.

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