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In the Clinic: THE MEDICALIZATION OF WELFARE

In the Clinic: THE MEDICALIZATION OF WELFARE Page 81 In the Clinic T H E M E D I C A L I Z AT I O N O F W E L FA R E The U.S. welfare system has been radically restructured in recent years. As a result, the welfare rolls fell dramatically from 14.2 million in 1993 to 7.6 million by December 1998, thereby enabling President Clinton to claim he has made good on his 1992 campaign promise to “end welfare as we know it.”1 A major factor in this restructuring is the welfare reform law passed in 1996. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) requires adult welfare recipients, largely single mothers, to work outside the home in order to receive aid and imposes a five-year lifetime limit on eligibility, after which time recipients are expected to be supporting themselves. Yet there are many features of contemporary welfare reform that make it as self-defeating as it is self-legitimating. Prominent among the self-defeating features are the self-legitimating practices focused on “welfare dependency.” The focus on welfare dependency achieves its own legitimation in good part by representing itself as a return to older social policy concerns. The country has http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Text Duke University Press

In the Clinic: THE MEDICALIZATION OF WELFARE

Social Text , Volume 18 (1 62) – Mar 1, 2000

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2000 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0164-2472
eISSN
1527-1951
DOI
10.1215/01642472-18-1_62-81
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Page 81 In the Clinic T H E M E D I C A L I Z AT I O N O F W E L FA R E The U.S. welfare system has been radically restructured in recent years. As a result, the welfare rolls fell dramatically from 14.2 million in 1993 to 7.6 million by December 1998, thereby enabling President Clinton to claim he has made good on his 1992 campaign promise to “end welfare as we know it.”1 A major factor in this restructuring is the welfare reform law passed in 1996. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) requires adult welfare recipients, largely single mothers, to work outside the home in order to receive aid and imposes a five-year lifetime limit on eligibility, after which time recipients are expected to be supporting themselves. Yet there are many features of contemporary welfare reform that make it as self-defeating as it is self-legitimating. Prominent among the self-defeating features are the self-legitimating practices focused on “welfare dependency.” The focus on welfare dependency achieves its own legitimation in good part by representing itself as a return to older social policy concerns. The country has

Journal

Social TextDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2000

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