Read The Wages of Motherhood: Inequality in the Welfare State, 1917-1942 by Gwendolyn Mink Free Online
Book Title: The Wages of Motherhood: Inequality in the Welfare State, 1917-1942|
The author of the book: Gwendolyn Mink
Edition: Cornell University Press
Date of issue: November 14th 1996
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 16.37 MB
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Reader ratings: 6.1
ISBN 13: 9780801495342
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Entering the vigorous debate about the nature of the American welfare state, The Wages of Motherhood illuminates ways in which a "maternalist" social policy emerged from the crucible of gender and racial politics between the world wars. Gwendolyn Mink here examines the cultural dynamics of maternalist social policy, which have often been overlooked by institutional and class analyses of the welfare state.
Mink maintains that the movement for welfare provisions, while resulting in important gains, reinforced existing patterns of gender and racial inequality. She explores how AngloAmerican women reformers, as they gained increasing political recognition, promoted an ideology of domesticity that became the core of maternalist social policy. Focusing on reformers such as Jane Addams, Grace Abbott, Katherine Lenroot, and Frances Perkins, Mink shows how they helped shape a social policy premised on moral character and cultural conformity rather than universal entitlement.
According to Mink, commitments to a gendered and racialized ideology of virtuous citizenship led women's reform organizations in the United States to support welfare policies that were designed to uplift and regulate motherhood and thus to reform the cultural character of citizens. The upshot was a welfare agenda that linked maternity with dependency, poverty with cultural weakness, and need with moral failing. Relegating poor women and racial minorities to dependent status, maternalist policy had the effect of stengthening ideological and institutional forms of subordination. In Mink's view, the legacy of this benevolent--and invidious--policy contimies to inflect thinking about welfare reform today.
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