Poverty Knowledge: Social Science, Social Policy, and the Poor in Twentieth-Century U.S. History


""Poverty Knowledge is the most important analysis of the evolution of poverty knowledge ever published. Alice O'Connor's book is must reading for those who seek a comprehensive understanding of past and current social science writings on American poverty. Moreover, it provides a new vision that inextricably links the study of poverty to the broader study of political economy. This book will be discussed and debated for many years."--William Julius Wilson, Harvard University

"In this strongly argued, deeply researched, and very well-written book, Alice O'Connor lays bare the narrowness of social 'science' concerning poverty in American life since the progressive era. Neither liberals nor conservatives escape her informed, tough-minded critique."--James T. Patterson, Brown University

"There is nothing like this superb history and assessment of systematic social science concerned with poverty. Written by a historian with uncommon vantages on policy ideas, the book powerfully situates what, and how, we know within the dynamics of ideology, power, and interest that have characterized twentieth-century American liberalism. Richly researched and arrestingly composed, it informs policy history as well as options for the future."--Ira Katznelson, Columbia Univeristy

""Poverty Knowledge is an insightful and incisive account of poverty research since the nineteenth century. Alice O'Connor's disgust with the use of research to stigmatize the poor comes through powerfully and clearly. Critical history at its best, the book should also be read by sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists, economists, and welfare and antipoverty researchers--as well as teachers in thesefields."--Herbert J. Gans, Columbia University

"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


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