Battered Black Women And Welfare Reform: Between a Rock And a Hard Place (Suny Series in African American Studies)

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9780791468449: Battered Black Women And Welfare Reform: Between a Rock And a Hard Place (Suny Series in African American Studies)

Examines the consequences of welfare reform for Black women fleeing domestic violence.

This timely and compelling ethnography examines the impact of welfare reform on women seeking to escape domestic violence. Dana-Ain Davis profiles twenty-two women, thirteen of whom are Black, living in a battered women’s shelter in a small city in upstate New York. She explores the contradictions between welfare reform’s supposed success in moving women off of public assistance and toward economic self-sufficiency and the consequences welfare reform policy has presented for Black women fleeing domestic violence. Focusing on the intersection of poverty, violence, and race, she demonstrates the differential treatment that Black and White women face in their entanglements with the welfare bureaucracy by linking those entanglements to the larger political economy of a small city, neoliberal social policies, and racialized ideas about Black women as workers and mothers.

“Black women have always been viewed ... negatively, especially due to myths of being ‘lazy,’ ‘not wanting to work,’ or ‘having too many babies.’ The book’s major theme is that welfare reform is not working, and not institutionally supportive, especially for poor black women who are victims of domestic violence.” — CHOICE

“For anyone who imagines that welfare policy promotes improved economic well-being and security, opportunity, self-sufficiency, and hope for poor women and their families, this book is a wake-up call.” — from the Foreword by Sandra Morgen

“At once an ethnographic community study and a review of the national data, there are very few books that offer such a rich and contextualized analysis of the nexus between violence and poverty.” — Beth E. Richie, author of Compelled to Crime: The Gender Entrapment of Battered Black Women

“There are not many social scientists or journalists who have embedded themselves so deeply in a particular setting like Angel House as Davis has, or who have been able to witness firsthand so many of the ‘rituals of degradation’ to which these women are routinely subjected. I found these parts of the book to be completely compelling and disturbing.” — Susan Brin Hyatt, Indiana University–Purdue University at Indianapolis

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From the Back Cover:

This timely and compelling ethnography examines the impact of welfare reform on women seeking to escape domestic violence. Dana-Ain Davis profiles twenty-two women, thirteen of whom are Black, living in a battered women’s shelter in a small city in upstate New York. She explores the contradictions between welfare reform’s supposed success in moving women off of public assistance and toward economic self-sufficiency and the consequences welfare reform policy has presented for Black women fleeing domestic violence. Focusing on the intersection of poverty, violence, and race, she demonstrates the differential treatment that Black and White women face in their entanglements with the welfare bureaucracy by linking those entanglements to the larger political economy of a small city, neoliberal social policies, and racialized ideas about Black women as workers and mothers.

"For anyone who imagines that welfare policy promotes improved economic well-being and security, opportunity, self-sufficiency, and hope for poor women and their families, this book is a wake-up call." — from the Foreword by Sandra Morgen

"At once an ethnographic community study and a review of the national data, there are very few books that offer such a rich and contextualized analysis of the nexus between violence and poverty." — Beth E. Richie, author of Compelled to Crime: The Gender Entrapment of Battered Black Women

"There are not many social scientists or journalists who have embedded themselves so deeply in a particular setting like Angel House as Davis has, or who have been able to witness firsthand so many of the ‘rituals of degradation’ to which these women are routinely subjected. I found these parts of the book to be completely compelling and disturbing." — Susan Brin Hyatt, Indiana University–Purdue University at Indianapolis

About the Author:

Dàna-Ain Davis is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Purchase College, State University of New York.

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