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This title in other editions

Poverty Knowledge: Social Science, Social Policy, and the Poor in Twentieth-Century U.S. History (Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America)

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Poverty Knowledge: Social Science, Social Policy, and the Poor in Twentieth-Century U.S. History (Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Progressive-era "poverty warriors" cast poverty in America as a problem of unemployment, low wages, labor exploitation, and political disfranchisement. In the 1990s, policy specialists made "dependency" the issue and crafted incentives to get people off welfare. Poverty Knowledge gives the first comprehensive historical account of the thinking behind these very different views of "the poverty problem," in a century-spanning inquiry into the politics, institutions, ideologies, and social science that shaped poverty research and policy.

Alice O'Connor chronicles a transformation in the study of poverty, from a reform-minded inquiry into the political economy of industrial capitalism to a detached, highly technical analysis of the demographic and behavioral characteristics of the poor. Along the way, she uncovers the origins of several controversial concepts, including the "culture of poverty" and the "underclass." She shows how such notions emerged not only from trends within the social sciences, but from the central preoccupations of twentieth-century American liberalism: economic growth, the Cold War against communism, the changing fortunes of the welfare state, and the enduring racial divide.

The book details important changes in the politics and organization as well as the substance of poverty knowledge. Tracing the genesis of a still-thriving poverty research industry from its roots in the War on Poverty, it demonstrates how research agendas were subsequently influenced by an emerging obsession with welfare reform. Over the course of the twentieth century, O'Connor shows, the study of poverty became more about altering individual behavior and less about addressing structural inequality. The consequences of this steady narrowing of focus came to the fore in the 1990s, when the nation's leading poverty experts helped to end "welfare as we know it." O'Connor shows just how far they had traveled from their field's original aims.

Synopsis:

Alice O'Connor knows more about the social science literature on poverty than any other historian in America. No one has put the whole story together as she has. Her conclusions emerge as nuanced, sophisticated, and sound. Her book is also written with exceptional clarity and grace. It will supercede all other histories of poverty knowledge in the United States that deal with the twentieth century.

About the Author

Alice O'Connor was formerly the Assistant Director of the Project on Social Welfare and the American Future at the Ford Foundation, the Director for the Programs on Persistent Urban Poverty and International Migration at the Social Science Research Council, a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago, and a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. She is currently Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 3

PART ONE 23

Chapter 1. Origins: Poverty and Social Science in The Era of Progressive Reform 25

Chapter 2. Poverty Knowledge as Cultural Critique: The Great Depression 55

Chapter 3. From the Deep South to the Dark Ghetto: Poverty Knowledge, Racial Liberalism, and Cultural "Pathology" 74

Chapter 4. Giving Birth to a "Culture of Poverty": Poverty Knowledge in Postwar Behavioral Science, Culture, and Ideology 99

Chapter 5. Community Action 124

PART TWO 137

Chapter 6. In the Midst of Plenty: The Political Economy of Poverty in the Affluent Society 139

Chapter 7. Fighting Poverty with Knowledge: The Office of Economic Opportunity and the Analytic Revolution in Government 166

Chapter 8. Poverty's Culture Wars 196

PART THREE 211

Chapter 9. The Poverty Research Industry 213

Chapter 10. Dependency, the "Underclass," and a New Welfare "Consensus": Poverty Knowledge for a Post-Liberal, Postindustrial Era 242

Chapter 11. The End of Welfare and the Case for a New Poverty Knowledge 284

Notes 297

Index 359

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691009179
Subtitle:
Social Science, Social Policy, and the Poor in Twentieth-Century U.S. History
Author:
O'Connor, Alice
Author:
O'Connor, Alice
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton, N.J.
Subject:
Social Policy
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Social history
Subject:
Poverty
Subject:
Unemployment
Subject:
Poor
Subject:
Economic assistance, domestic
Subject:
Welfare recipients
Subject:
Class consciousness.
Subject:
Pauvres
Subject:
Pauvretâe
Subject:
Aide au dâeveloppement âeconomique râegional
Subject:
Public Policy - Social Policy
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
American history
Subject:
Sociology
Subject:
Poor -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Subject:
World History-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series:
Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America (Hardcover)
Series Volume:
752
Publication Date:
20010123
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Pages:
392
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » American Studies » Gangs
History and Social Science » American Studies » Poverty
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Gangs
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

Poverty Knowledge: Social Science, Social Policy, and the Poor in Twentieth-Century U.S. History (Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America) Used Hardcover
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Product details 392 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691009179 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Alice O'Connor knows more about the social science literature on poverty than any other historian in America. No one has put the whole story together as she has. Her conclusions emerge as nuanced, sophisticated, and sound. Her book is also written with exceptional clarity and grace. It will supercede all other histories of poverty knowledge in the United States that deal with the twentieth century.
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