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Abstracts from Volume 31, Number 3
(September, 2004)

Presidents, Profits, Productivity, & Poverty: A Great Divide Between the Pre- and Post-Reagan U.S. Economy?
Richard K. Caputo
This paper examined profits, productivity, and poverty in the United States from 1961 through 2002. Results indicated that the "great divide" thesis regarding the U.S. economy before and after the Reagan administration depends on which measure of the economy is the focus of attention. In addition, on some measures where before and after differences were detected, the nature of those differences was paradoxical. Corporate profits as a share of national income, for example, were highest in Democratic rather than Republican administrations and despite the increased income inequality of the post-Reagan years, individual and family poverty rates remained relatively constant after edging upward from the 1970s but still below 1960s highs. Further, findings provide some evidence corroborating neoclassic economic theory in regard to incentives and productivity and they present a challenge to activists who equate poverty as a natural or an inevitable byproduct of the more market-driven fiscal and monetary policies of the 1980s and 1990s.

Losing the "Eyes in the Back of Our Heads": Social Service Skills, Lean Caring, and Violence.
Donna Baines
Violence in the social services work place in general, and the developmental services in particular, has increased in the last several years. Findings from an ethnographic study suggests that new, lean forms of work organization remove opportunities to use or learn many of the tacit or practice skills workers previously used to keep themselves and their clients safer in the work place. This article describes many of these skills and the new management schemes that remove the possibility to develop or transmit these praxis skills. The article concludes by analyzing the convergence between the new labour processes and the competency approach to work place skills. Noting the loss of praxis skills that kept workers and clients safer, the conclusion highlights the hidden costs to developmental sector clients and workers.

The Decline of the Public Intellectual in Social Work
Howard Jacob Karger, Marie Theresa Hernández
This article examines reasons for social work's abandonment of public discourse, activism and intellectual life. It also explores strategies to encourage the profession to reenter public life and develop a modern cadre of social work identified public intellectuals. Specifically, this process entails professional and academic reform and a renewed vision around the social justice mission of social work.

Informal Care-Two-Tiered Care? The Work of Family Members and Friends in Hospitals and Cancer Centres
Christina Sinding
In a qualitative study conducted in Ontario, Canada, family members and friends of ill people defined a normal territory in which care from health professionals could not be counted on to be timely, effective or empathic. Under these conditions relatives and friends took on considerable responsibility, both for providing care and for securing care from health professionals. Yet considerable variation was apparent in this study in the sense respondents had of their own capacities to provide and secure care. Findings from this study suggest that service tiers exist in the institutional care system, linked to the time, knowledge and resources of informal carers.

Economic Well-Being of Single Mothers: Work First or Postsecondary Education?
Min Zhan, Shanta Pandey
This article investigates the relationship between single mothers' education and their economic well-being. Through the analysis of the 1993 Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) data, we examine the effect of education on a sample of White and African American single mothers. The results indicate that past work experience is a weak predictor of current economic well-being. Having education, particularly postsecondary education, on the other hand, significantly improves their economic status. The results challenge the "work-first" approach to alleviating poverty and provide more support for designing policies to develop human capital.

What Mothers Want: Welfare Reform and Maternal Desire
Patricia K. Jennings
In this study I use participant observations, face-to-face interviews, and focus group interviews to examine how women on welfare read and negotiate culture-of-poverty discourse and the imagery that this discourse spawns. I spoke with two groups of young single mothers receiving welfare. The first group included young mothers between the ages of 18 and 23 who were attending high school in a community-based program that served women on welfare. The second group included mothers in their early to mid 20's who were attending either a local two-year college or research university. Education was a path of resistance for the women in this study. Young single mothers were motivated to obtain an education; they wanted a better life for their child. As students, women were situated in a status that allowed them to reject the attributes associated with dominant welfare imagery. Women forged identities against the grain of dominant images that depict all women on welfare as "lazy women" and "bad mothers." The students in this study made a claim to characteristics like hard work, motivation, and good parenting. Yet, students did not fully reject culture-of-poverty discourse. Their identities as students were situated in a form of oppositional thinking that set them against other women on welfare.

Supportive Communities: An Optimum Arrangement for the Older Population?
Miriam Billig
The preference of older people to stay in their own natural environment requires a reassessment of the approach in dealing with this population group. This exploratory study examines a program conducted in Israel called the "Supportive Community", that provides an emergency call service and other essential services at the homes of older people. A case study was performed in two such supportive communities. Interviews conducted with those who operate the programs and with its members seem to indicate that supportive communities provide a satisfactory solution to the needs of older people who continue to live in their natural environment. Many aspects have been addressed that may be considered in planning the physical environment of supportive communities.

Self-Help Group Participation and Empowerment in Hong Kong
Bong-Ho Mok
This paper reports on the first comprehensive study of self-help groups in Hong Kong. Initial findings from the quantative and qualitative data suggest that self-help group participation has an impact on intrapersonal, interpersonal and community/political empowerment. Based on existing data, this study has resulted in the development of a hypothetical model encompassing the interrelationships among self-help group participation, social support, social learning, leadership and empowerment, for testing in future research.

Global Decisions, Local Collisions: Urban Life in the New World Order.
David Ranney.
Reviewed by Robert L. Boyd.

The Color of Credit: Mortgage Discrimination, Research Methodology and Fair Lending Enforcement.
Stephen L. Ross and John Yinger.
Reviewed by Howard Jacob Karger.

Evaluation in Child and Family Services: Comparative Client and Program Perspectives.
Tiziano Vecchiato, Anthony N. Malucchio and Cinzia Canali (Eds.).
Reviewed by Victor Groza.

Men Who Believe in Feminism.
Amanda Goldrick Jones.
Reviewed by Cheryl A. Hyde.

Social Work and Human Rights: A Foundation for Policy and Practice.
Elizabeth Reichert.
Reviewed by Mel Gray.

Social Identities Across the Life Course.
Jenny Hockey and Alison James.
Reviewed by Marvin D. Feit.

BOOK NOTES

Protecting Participants and Facilitating Social and Behavioral Sciences Research.
Constance F. Citro, Daniel R. Iglen and Cora B. Marrett (Eds.).

Remaking America's School Systems: Now Separate and Unequal.
Milton Schwebel.

The Commercialization of Intimate Life: Notes from Home and Work.
Arlie Russel Hochschild.

Diversity Perspectives for Social Work Practice.
Joseph Anderson and Robin Wiggins Carter (Ed.).

Charitable Choices: Religion, Race and Poverty in the Post-Welfare Era.
John P. Bartkowski and Helen Regis.

Rationalizing Capitalist Democracy: The Cold War Origins of Rational Choice Liberalism.
S. M. Amadae.

 

 

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