States of Dependency: Welfare, Rights, and American Governance, 1935-1972 (Studies in Legal History)
By: Karen M. Tani (author)Paperback
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Who bears responsibility for the poor, and who may exercise the power that comes with that responsibility? Amid the Great Depression, American reformers answered this question in new ways, with profound effects on long-standing practices of governance and entrenched understandings of citizenship. States of Dependency traces New Deal welfare programs over the span of four decades, asking what happened as money, expertise and ideas travelled from a federal administrative epicenter in Washington, DC, through state and local bureaucracies, and into diverse and divided communities. Drawing on a wealth of previously un-mined legal and archival sources, Karen Tani reveals how reformers attempted to build a more bureaucratic, centralized and uniform public welfare system; how traditions of localism, federalism and hostility toward the 'undeserving poor' affected their efforts; and how, along the way, more and more Americans came to speak of public income support in the powerful but limiting language of law and rights.
The resulting account moves beyond attacking or defending Americans' reliance on the welfare state to explore the complex network of dependencies undergirding modern American governance.
Karen Tani is Assistant Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining the faculty at Berkeley, she received her J.D. and Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania and held prestigious fellowships at New York University and the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in leading law journals, including the Law and History Review and the Yale Law Journal, and has won awards from the American Society for Legal History, the Hellman Foundation, the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation, and the National Academy of Social Insurance. She coedits the Legal History Blog, the field's leading source for news and announcements.
Introduction; Part I: Introduction; 1. A new deal for poor relief? The modern American state and the endurance of the local; 2. An 'appeal to attitude': rights as an administrative tool; 3. Human needs and legal rights: competing visions of governance in 1940s welfare administration; 4. Claiming welfare rights: fair hearings, state-court claims, and a forgotten federal case; Part II: Introduction; 5. Dependency and its discontents: the fractious politics of federal grants; 6. States' rights meet welfare rights: federal administrative enforcement in the age of rehabilitation and resistance; 7. Unsuitable homes, undeserving fathers, and the administrative origins of poverty law; 8. Subjects of the constitution, slaves to statutes: the judicial articulation of welfare rights; Conclusion; Appendix. Figures and tables.
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