Timed Out: Temporal Struggles between the State and the Poor in the Context of U.S. Welfare Reform

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/110078
Title:
Timed Out: Temporal Struggles between the State and the Poor in the Context of U.S. Welfare Reform
Author:
Coelho, Karen
Affiliation:
University of Arizona
Citation:
Arizona Anthropologist 15:72-98, © 2003 Arizona Anthropologist
Publisher:
University of Arizona, Department of Anthropology
Journal:
Arizona Anthropologist
Issue Date:
2003
Description:
1999 Dozier Award Winner
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/110078
Abstract:
Welfare reform, in its attempts to order the lives of women on cash assistance, uses time as a means of controlling women. Single mothers living in poverty experience, perceive and use time in ways that the state welfare bureaucracy fails to recognize and/or refuses to work with. Poverty is anchored in a historical and cyclical dynamic based on low valuations of people's time, structured by race, class and gender. This essay shows how specific temporal sequences, orderings and flows are implicated in the etiology of poverty, forming cumulative feedback loops that challenge the linear trajectory of the welfare-to-work model. It argues that the welfare state bureaucracy practices a powerful politics of time, consisting in the imposition of forms of order and rigid temporal structures on the highly contingent and unpredictable lives of the poor. These temporal devices of control, rather than facilitating women's efforts to move from dependence to self-reliance, only exacerbate their struggles to manage the vagaries and irregularities of time in their lives. Time thus constitutes a locus of struggle in the welfare relationship, between women on welfare and the welfare agency.
Type:
Article
Language:
en_US
Keywords:
welfare reform; ethnography; time; poverty
ISSN:
1062-1601

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorCoelho, Karenen_US
dc.date.accessioned2010-08-21T02:43:56Z-
dc.date.available2010-08-21T02:43:56Z-
dc.date.issued2003-
dc.identifier.citationArizona Anthropologist 15:72-98, © 2003 Arizona Anthropologisten_US
dc.identifier.issn1062-1601-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10150/110078-
dc.description1999 Dozier Award Winneren_US
dc.description.abstractWelfare reform, in its attempts to order the lives of women on cash assistance, uses time as a means of controlling women. Single mothers living in poverty experience, perceive and use time in ways that the state welfare bureaucracy fails to recognize and/or refuses to work with. Poverty is anchored in a historical and cyclical dynamic based on low valuations of people's time, structured by race, class and gender. This essay shows how specific temporal sequences, orderings and flows are implicated in the etiology of poverty, forming cumulative feedback loops that challenge the linear trajectory of the welfare-to-work model. It argues that the welfare state bureaucracy practices a powerful politics of time, consisting in the imposition of forms of order and rigid temporal structures on the highly contingent and unpredictable lives of the poor. These temporal devices of control, rather than facilitating women's efforts to move from dependence to self-reliance, only exacerbate their struggles to manage the vagaries and irregularities of time in their lives. Time thus constitutes a locus of struggle in the welfare relationship, between women on welfare and the welfare agency.en_US
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.publisherUniversity of Arizona, Department of Anthropologyen_US
dc.subjectwelfare reformen_US
dc.subjectethnographyen_US
dc.subjecttimeen_US
dc.subjectpovertyen_US
dc.titleTimed Out: Temporal Struggles between the State and the Poor in the Context of U.S. Welfare Reformen_US
dc.typeArticleen_US
dc.contributor.departmentUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.identifier.journalArizona Anthropologisten_US
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