Welfare Politics in Boston, 1910-1940

By Susan Traverso | Go to book overview
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Gwendolyn Mink has been the most outspoken critic of social policy scholars; see “Aren't Poor Single Mothers Women? Feminists, Welfare Reform, and Welfare Justice, in Whose Welfare? (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998), 171–88. Historical studies suggesting flaws and inequities in the welfare programs directed at poor mothers include: Gwendolyn Mink, The Wages of Motherhood: Inequality in the Welfare State, 1917–1942 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995); Linda Gordon, Pitied but Not Entitled: Single Mothers and the History of Welfare (New York: The Free Press, 1994), and Joanne Goodwin, Gender and the Politics of Welfare Reform: Mothers' Pensions in Chicago, 1911–1929 (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1997).
An early claim of the success of welfare reform was “It's Working, New Republic, March 24, 1997. Since then welfare reform has drawn mixed reviews; see Diana M. Zuckerman, “The Evolution of Welfare Reform: Policy Changes and Current Knowledge, Journal of Social Issues 56 (winter 2000): 811–20. Critical overviews that take an historical perspective include: Michael B. Katz, The Price of Citizenship: Redefining the American Welfare State (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2001); Gwendolyn Mink, ed., Welfare's End (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998); Eileen Boris, “When Work Is Slavery, in Whose Welfare?, 36–55; James T. Patterson, “'Reforming' Relief and Welfare: Thoughts on 1834 and 1996, in With Us Always: A History of Private Charity and Public Welfare, ed. Donald T. Critchlow and Charles H. Parker (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998), 241– 59; Joel F. Handler, The Poverty of Welfare Reform (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995); and Linda Gordon, “Welfare Reform: A History Lesson, Dissent (summer 1994): 323–8.

Placing Welfare History in Boston
“State-centered” analyses of American welfare policy include Ann Shola Orloff and Theda Skocpol, “Why Not Equal Protection?: Explaining the Politics of Public Social Spending in Britain, 1900–1911, and the United States, 1880s–1920, American Sociological Review 49 (1984): 726–50; Ann Shola Orloff, “The Political Origins of America's Belated Welfare State, in The Politics of Social Policy in the United States, ed. Margaret Weir, Ann


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