Regulating the Poor: The Functions of Public Welfare
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Regulating the Poor: The Functions of Public Welfare

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  136 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Marshaling a vast array of research, Frances Fox Piven and Richard A Cloward persuasively demonstrate how public relief has been used to avert civil chaos during economic downturns and to exert pressure on the work force during periods of stability. Their analysis ranges from the early history of poor relief through the inception of welfare during the Great Depression to i...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published September 28th 1993 by Vintage (first published 1971)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 390)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Steven Peterson
This book by Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward came out over three decades ago. And it is still powerful reading and powerful analysis. I would not expect everyone to agree with the authors' contentions, but once having read this book, you will be challenged in your understanding of welfare policy. Indeed, both many liberals and many conservatives alike are apt to be irritated by this book.

In short, the key point the authors make is that welfare policies are designed to pacify rebellious ou...more
Roger
Timeless.

Given the current debate, no, hysteria, re immigration perhaps a sequel is (over) due.
Kim B
I first read this book back in 1976. It's pretty telling that I remember the book but not the class that required the book. I've recommended this book to all my liberal friends who have such a hard time understanding the conservative construct through the lens of a conservative. Making that mental leap that the systems exist not for moral reasons but for the sole purpose of controlling the poor is hard for most people. In addition, this book explains the historical basis for this thought process...more
Micah
Regulating the Poor is the second book by Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward that I've read. (The first was Poor People's Movements.) Both books have left me with a completely new vision of American history and a totally different understanding of how social change happens and what kinds of victories average people can expect to win in this country.

Before reading Regulating the Poor, there were two books I'd read this year–Poor People's Movements and Nixonland–that have gone far beyond being...more
Fredrick Danysh
The poor have always been with us. This work is an acidic dissertation on the role of welfare upon the economy and labor forces. Capitalism and socialism are compared and contrasted. The authors give evidence that since the 1960s, in the United States that many of the poor feel entitlement to money and services without having to make zany form of labor contribution. An interesting read as the number of unemployed grow and they demand more gifting as a right.
Emily
Jan 19, 2012 Emily rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: food justice advocates and everybody else
Recommended to Emily by: Doug Henwood
Shelves: occupy, nonfiction
Connects Britain's enclosure movement to the plantation ecomony of the U.S. South and relevant to Off the Books. An essential read.

"Compared to the more developed welfare states, [U.S. relief] programs are backward, even cruel. Compared to what they might have been in the absense of protest, the American welfare state is an achievement."

Behind the News Interview with Piven:
http://www.leftbusinessobserver.com/R...
Reza
Although published decades ago, the book posits a theory that is still applicable today. For those wanting some insights into federal govenment discretionary spending rationale, this is a must read.
Rachel
I haven't read this in a looong time but it is an essential text in the field of sociology. It first came out in 1971 and the second edition was early 1990s. It explains pretty clearly the necessity of a welfare system and also some of the problems with various welfare plans.
Thomas Simard
Reading this book should change the way in which you look upon the poor and upon welfare programs.

If I were a social scientist and had written this, I would feel very satisfied.

A classic.
John Cook
Apr 01, 2013 John Cook rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in government regulation or in poverty law.
Shelves: history
I read the original edition of this book in 1972, and it made a lasting impression. I recently learned of this revised edition and bought it immediately.
Sarah
Sep 22, 2007 Sarah rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mark
Shelves: social-sciences
While a lot of this seems obvious to me now, I remember it being quite a revelatory book for me when I first read it.
Ricky
Absolutely vital to understanding the sober reality of the position of the American poor in politics.
Caroline
I read this book at ten years ago, and I still go back to it for quotations.
Alsoud Soud
I didn't really read it. I started it, but I didn't finish it.
Kate
Kate marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2014
Christopher Mccue
Christopher Mccue marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2014
Maddy
Maddy marked it as to-read
Jul 17, 2014
Jackie Wychor
Jackie Wychor marked it as to-read
Jul 17, 2014
Chelsea Riccobelli
Chelsea Riccobelli is currently reading it
Jul 10, 2014
Richard
Richard marked it as to-read
Jul 07, 2014
Omar
Omar marked it as to-read
Jul 05, 2014
6655321
6655321 marked it as to-read
Jul 04, 2014
Alasdair
Alasdair marked it as to-read
Jul 03, 2014
Hayley Brown
Hayley Brown marked it as to-read
Jul 02, 2014
Georgia
Georgia marked it as to-read
Jul 02, 2014
Jasmine
Jasmine marked it as to-read
Jul 01, 2014
Zach
Zach is currently reading it
Jun 14, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 13 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass
  • Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939
  • Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan
  • To 'Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women's Lives and Labors after the Civil War
  • American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland
  • The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy
  • The Power Elite
  • Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, And The Black Working Class
  • Homeward Bound: American Families In The Cold War Era
  • Learning to Labor: How Working Class Kids Get Working Class Jobs
  • Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy
  • Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class
  • Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right
  • Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage
  • Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920
  • The Story of American Freedom
  • The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business
  • Who Rules America? Power, Politics and Social Change
Poor People's Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America Why Americans Still Don't Vote: And Why Politicians Want It That Way The New Class War: Reagan's Attack on the Welfare State and Its Consequences Who's Afraid of Frances Fox Piven?: The Essential Writings of the Professor Glenn Beck Loves to Hate

Share This Book