An ethnography of the development and travel of the New Zealand model of neoliberal welfare reform, this study explores the social life of policy, which is one of process, motion, and change. Different actors, including not only policy elites but also providers and recipients, engage with it in light of their own resources and knowledge. Drawing on two analytic frameworks of the contemporary anthropology of policy-translation and assemblage-Kingfisher situates policy as an artifact and architect of cultural meaning, as well as a site of power struggles. All points of engagement with policy are approached as sites of policy production that serve to transform it as well as reproduce it. As such, A Policy Travelogue provides an antidote to theorizations of policy as a-cultural, rational, and straightforwardly technical.
Catherine Kingfisher is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Lethbridge. She is editor of Western Welfare in Decline: Globalization and Women's Poverty (2002) and author of Women in the American Welfare Trap (1996). Her research focuses on policy, governance, personhood, gender, and, most recently, happiness and well-being.
Acknowledgements Introduction: Tracing policy: translation and assemblage Chapter 1. The New Zealand Model at home and abroad Chapter 2. Producing policy in welfare offices Chapter 3. "Reading through" welfare policy in community service agencies Chapter 4. Working with policy in "real life": welfare mothers'; engagements Conclusions: Tracing policy: process/power Appendix I: Key moments in state provisioning for poor mothers in Aotearoa/New Zealand Appendix II: Key moments in state provisioning for poor mothers in Canada and Alberta References