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The Politics of Social Welfare in America

$95.00 ( ) USD

  • Date Published: April 2013
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781107331099

$ 95.00 USD ( )
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About the Authors
  • The Politics of Social Welfare in America examines how politicians, theorists, and citizens discuss need, welfare, and disability with respect to theoretical and political projects. Glenn David Mackin argues that participants in these discussions often miss the way their perceptions of those in need shape their discourse. Professor Mackin also explores disability rights groups and welfare rights activism in the 1960s and 1970s to examine the ways that those designated as needy or incompetent often challenge these designations, thus making the issue of welfare an ongoing conflict over who counts as competent and generating new ways of understanding democracy and equality.

    • Links the analysis of welfare in the United States to the concerns of democratic theory
    • Recrafts some of the key concepts in democratic theory, such as need, respect, autonomy, solidarity and rights, and explores how these relate to empirical practices
    • Modifies post-structuralist and agonistic approaches to democracy, challenging the tendency in this tradition to identify democratic action with rupture or the heroic transcendence of existing contours of justice
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Glenn Mackin fixes a keen theoretician’s eye on welfare discourse highlighting how progressive advocates, present company included, may at times put too much stock in making ethical claims of inclusion, only to risk depoliticizing issues of otherness, marginalization, and the denigration of the disadvantaged. This is a really smart book that not only sharpens theoretical insight but creates opportunities for more effective political action."
    Sanford Schram, Bryn Mawr College

    "Mackin draws vital new lessons from familiar stories about the politics of welfare. His innovative approach to political theory is to observe and listen carefully to what is said and done in political life, rather than to lay down what is true or false. There is an understated empirical dimension to his undertaking that starts from aporia - from perplexity - which he stages in the telling of stories that do not add up or that elude ideological and narrative frames imposed on them by other observers and political combatants. In the end, he does not show us which interpretation is right, or leave his reader to decide, but draws his reader into perplexity. And rather than being baffled about what should be done or who is right, the reader comes away better able to respond to what is actually said and done in media res."
    Barbara Cruikshank, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

    "Mackin’s work makes an extraordinarily important contribution to work on both democracy and social welfare. In The Politics of Social Welfare in America, he addresses an enduring concern of critical theorizing: the political problem of recognizing existing and differential vulnerability while aspiring to deliberative equality. Mackin convincingly argues that most current accounts entail a politics of recognition that ultimately reifies and reinforces existing organizations of privilege. His work offers us an alternative and politically productive way to approach questions of inequality - questions that are at the center of contemporary political work in and beyond the academy."
    Julie White, Ohio University

    "Mackin examines the ways in which contemporary American discourses about "welfare" (or more precisely, means-tested social assistance) interpret welfare recipients as unable to participate as full citizens in public life … Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections."
    J. D. Moon, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2013
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781107331099
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. The aphoria of practical reason: from ethics to politics
    2. The aphoria of social rights
    3. The welfare system as a narrative of founding
    4. Otherwise than need
    5. Needing rights

  • Author

    Glenn David Mackin, University of Rochester, New York
    Glenn David Mackin is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester. Professor Mackin has had articles published in Studies in Law, Politics, and Society; Contemporary Political Theory; and the Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy. He also serves as a book reviewer in political theory for Choice.

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