For Tuesday, March 1st, we will be covering two articles from the American Families reader: chapter 22 “Poverty in the Era of Welfare Reform” by Thomas J. Sugrue (325-337) and chapter 25: “Windfall Child Rearing: Low-Income Care and Consumption” by Allison J. Pugh (366-376).

In “Poverty in the Era of Welfare Reform” (325-337), by Thomas J. Sugrue presents various arguments that have been used against people living in poverty and the ways in which these arguments have been used for policy debates and outcomes. His thesis statement “describes the obstacles that poor urban families have faced over the last several decades and explains how the causes of poverty were misrepresented by an influential group of social scientists–with consequences that still deform the public understanding of poverty and the political response to it” (325).

In the next chapter, “Windfall Child Rearing: Low-Income Care and Consumption” (366-376),  Allison J. Pugh conducted an ethnographic study of low- and middle-income families in Oakland, CA. Her primary research question was “how do income constraints configure family consumption practices?” (366)

Blog Assignment: Please overview the main points in both articles assigned. Be sure to cite page numbers in MLA format. See your group in-class research assignment below. Find relevant information and links related to the topic that your group was assigned.

Group Assignments:

Group 3 will be over-viewing the assigned readings and further information on the same topic. They will highlight students’ postings on the blog, so be prepared to discuss your links posted. 

We will do some brief research on topics covered in the assigned readings. Be sure to bring your laptop to class so that we can look up information, or else post links before class. Each group has a particular research assignment, as listed below:

Group 1: history of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC 1935-1996) program. How was it initially created? Whom did it serve? What was the costs over time? Outcomes?

Group 2: history of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF 1996-present) program. How was it initially created? Whom did it serve? What was the costs over time? Outcomes? Impacts on former-recipient families?

Group 4: Arguments from academics and politicians attacking welfare (i.e. see book 330 for names of individuals). These arguments served as the rational for welfare reform.

Group 5: Overview Walmart as an example of our changing economy oriented towards service work. What does this model say about the future of our economy? How does Walmart treat its employees? What was the gender lawsuit which was brought against Walmart? How does it uphold its global advantage for production and distribution of goods (i.e. how does it get prices so cheap). See Walmart watch sites such as Walmart Watch.

Further Reading:
Welfare to What?

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