Johana Brenner


Provisions for the poor have always been a contentious political issue in the U.S. For good reason. Welfare policy engages conflicting economic interests, clashing worldviews, competing social needs. Critical analyses of social welfare practice have centered on the ways that policies function to regulate the labor market and to preserve social order and discipline. In this approach, conflicts and interests structured by class and race take center stage. Recently, feminist scholars have argued that social welfare policy also reflects structures of gender inequality. This paper engages the theoretical debate by examining the latest "welfare reform" initiative, the Family Support Act of 1988.'But this paper also has a practical political purpose: to offer a strategy toward welfare policy that promotes women's independence as individuals and supports them as mothers.

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