Minorities: A Critique of Wilkinson's 'Task for Social Scientists and
In this article, I examine Wilkinson's (2000) injunction that practitioners
"omit entirely the 'minority' concept" (pp. 124-25). I maintain that
Wilkinson's argument disempowers groups-such as gays and the disabled-
who have used a "minority" identity effectively, and speciously indicates
that African-Americans would benefit from such retrenchment, thereby
implying that social justice is a zero-sum game. Rather, "minority"
coalitions are effectively pursuing justice for all. Moreover, Wilkinson's
deconstruction of "minority" conflates conceptual breadth with conceptual
vagueness, and conveniently ignores (or denies) the socially constructed
character of "race" and "ethnicity." I suggest that practitioners learn
more about the historical development of all of these concepts and honor
clients who self-identify as "minority" group members, lest they become
alienated from them.
Irrelevance and Scientific Invalidity of the "Minority" Notion: Deleting
it from the Social Science Vocabulary
Doris Wilkinson* (conclusion by John Sibley Butler)
A systematic socio-linguistic and historical analysis of the minority
label reveals its multiple irregularities and imperfections. These encompass
a misleading array of vastly dissimilar nationality or group designations
and the erroneous comparison of behaviors and life styles with racial
status. As it is currently applied in U.S. political culture and in
a variety of disciplines including sociology and social work, the concept
has virtually no substantive meaning nor reality-linked usefulness.
A thorough appraisal of the consequences of the perpetual reliance on
the notion demonstrates that it eradicates ethnic cultural diversity
and ignores historical antecedents and the "lived" experiences of oppressed
In fact, the politically framed designation has no psychological nor
social significance for targeted racial/ethnic groups. Rather, it comprises
"politically correct" language and functions solely for those who seek
to equate behavior and conditions with race or ethnic status. Yet, objective
examinations clearly show that the word is lacking in definitive dimensions
and fails to reference any of the standard rules for logical concept
formation and category construction. A thorough knowledge of social
science methodology and U.S. history provides insights into the theoretical
and research limitations of the minority tool. Thus, in clinical and
social science vocabularies, there is an urgent need to disconnect behavior
from race for the two are not equal on any criteria. It is simply axiomatic
that behavioral frames of reference are completely distinct fromrace
paradigms. The chronic insistence on placing racial groups under the
minority label constitues an unusual preoccupation with purposefully
defining "the other" without their consent.
Effects of Voluntarism on Marital Life in Late Adulthood
Liat Kulik BarIlan
The article presents a study dealing with the perceived effects of voluntarism
on marital life in late adulthood among a sample of 595 Israelis (336
men and 259 women). These perceptions were examined from three perspectives:
benefits, spousal accommodation, and harmful effects. Comparisons focused
on different types of families, based on employment status (pre-retired
versus retired) and actual volunteer activity (volunteer versus non-volunteer).
The Findings revealed that among all types of families, the prevailing
tendency was to emphasize the beneficial effects of voluntarism on marital
life, whereas perceived harmful effects were least prevalent. Synchronous
families (both partners pre-retired) and asynchronous families (pre-retired
participant / retired spouse) emphasized the need for spousal accommodation
to marital life more than the other two types of families. In addition,
men were found to emphasize the need for spousal accommodation more
than do women. In asynchronous families (one partner pre-retired and
the other retired), women showed a greater tendency than men to mention
the harmful effects of voluntarism for the marital relationship. Congruent
families (where both partners volunteer) showed a greater tendency to
perceive voluntarism as having a beneficial effect on marital life than
did other types of families.
Respond to the Call? Religion, Civic Responsibility, and Social Service
Emily A. Leventhal Daniel P. Mears
Despite national calls for churches to become more involved in social
service, many churches may not be willing or able to respond. Drawing
on sociological theory, previous research, and interviews with pastors
and parish social ministers from Catholic congregations in a large,
urban city in Texas, we examine key factors linked to church-based social
service efforts. Particular attention is given to church leadership,
race/ethnicity, organizational characteristics, social and political
networks, and the intersection of these factors in affecting service
provision and advocacy. We then discuss the likely impacts of policies
calling for religious organizations to increase their social service
Payment and Child Visitation: Perspectives from Nonresident Fathers
and Resident Mothers
Stacey R. Bloomer Theresa Ann Sipe Danielle E. Ruedt
The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the child support
and visitation perspectives of nonresidential fathers and custodial
mothers. The focus of the study was to present definitions of child
support from both noncustodial fathers and custodial mothers, the barriers
they experience that prevent child support and visitation, and suggestions
the parents have for improvements in the child support system. The data
suggest that although nonresidential fathers and custodial mothers have
similar de.nitions of what characteristics define child support, they
have vastly different views of what barriers prevent child support and
visitation. Interparental hostility appeared to shape their perspectives
about child support and visitation. Recommendations targeting the negative
perceptions parents have of one another are presented.
Work in Hartford, Connecticut: Correcting the Historical Record
James G. McCullagh
This paper corrects the historical record on why and how school social
work began in Hartford and who was instrumental in establishing the
new service. The findings, based on a study of primary sources, revealed
that a school principal, and not a psychologist as previously claimed,
initiated the process that led the Hartford Charity Organization Society
to appoint its Visitor, Winifred Singleton Bivin, a social caseworker,
to also become the .rst social worker in the schools in January 1907.
The social work profession, which owes its origin to the Charity Organization
Movement, is also obligated to the Hartford Charity Organization Society
for its cooperative work with the schools, which led to the inception
and subsequent development of school social work by the schools and,
in 1909, the appointment of Miss Sara Holbrook who subsequently became
a national leader in the development of the .edgling profession.
and Human Capital: A Challenge to Economic Theory & Social Justice
Richard K. Caputo
This article reports findings of a study using the National Longitudinal
Survey of Youth (NLSY79) to test the rational choice theory that discrimination
discourages investments in human capital. Nearly 60% of the study sample
(N=5585) reported job-hiring discrimination (race, nationality, sex,
or age) between 1979 and 1982 and they were found to invest more in
job training programs and additional schooling between 1983 and 1998
than those reporting no such discrimination. White males were found
to have the greatest advantage over black males and females in regard
to job training and over black females in regard to additional schooling.
Findings suggest that appeals to affirmative action policies and programs
based on race and sex remain warranted.
Model of Alcoholism:
A Kuhnian Paradigm Brian E. Bride
Despite the fact that the disease model of alcoholism has lost its status
as paradigm in international circles, the alcoholism research and treatment
community in the United States maintains steadfast allegiance to the
tenets of the disease model. The disease model and the related treatment
goal of abstinence continue to overwhelmingly dominate the treatment
of alcoholism in the U.S. Critics have suggested that .nancial and political
motives have served to maintain the dominance of the disease model,
despite .ndings that violate its basic tenets. This paper presents an
alternative explanation of the reluctance of the alcoholism treatment
community to relinquish the disease model by utilizing Kuhn's (1996)
model of scientific progress in an historical analysis of the disease
model. To support this position, evidence of the emergence of the disease
model as a paradigm, alcoholism research as normal science, and the
appearance of anomaly followed by crisis in the alcoholism research
and treatment community are presented.
Program Responsibilities Trickle Down: Impacts of Devolution on Local
Human Services Provision
Steven G. Anderson
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act
of 1996 (PRWORA) shifted responsibility for public assistance from the
federal government to the states. This study examined early impacts
of this devolution and related program reductions on local service authorities
in Illinois. Based on surveys from 101 large townships responsible for
administering General Assistance, medical assistance, and emergency
needs programs, we found that 60 percent of these localities experienced
increased service demands. These demands not only placed pressure on
limited local programming funds, but also transformed local service
populations in subtle and unintended ways. Reports of bureaucratic mistreatment
and confusion also were common as states implemented PRWORA changes.
Local responses to increased service demands were variable, with many
localities increasing expenditures but expressing reservations about
longer term funding given local tax limits. Follow-up surveys with 40
township of.cials two years later found that a declining economy and
impending Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) .ve-year time
limits were intensifying township program concerns. The implications
of these .ndings for the development and monitoring of state and local
public assistance systems are discussed.
and Policymaking by the Branches of Government and the Public-at-Large.
Theodore J. Stein.
Review by Diana M. DiNitto.
Employment in a United Europe. Giuseppe Bertola, Tito Boeri and Giuseppe
Review by Martin Evans.
Capacity. Robert J. Chaskin, Prudence Brown, Sudhir Venkatesh and Avis
Review by Michelle Livermore.
of Social Work Research Methods. Bruce A. Thyer (Ed.).
Review by John G. Orme.
The Color of
Opportunity: Pathways to Family Welfare and Work. Haya Stier and Marta
Review by Eric Swank.
Inclusion: Possibilities and Tensions. PeterAskonas and Angus Stewart
in the Human Services. Mark Ezell.
to Equality: Poverty and Race in America. Chester Hartman (Ed.).
Families: The Transformation of the American Home. Rosanna Herta and
Nancy L. Marshall (Eds.).
Offer you Can't Refuse: Workforce in International Perspective. IvarLodemal
and HeatherTrickey (Eds.).