Reforming women in the United States and Aotearoa/New Zealand: A comparative ethnography of welfare reform in global context
Kingfisher, C. P. & Goldsmith, M. (2001). Reforming women in the United States and Aotearoa/New Zealand: A comparative ethnography of welfare reform in global context. American Anthropologist, 103(3), 714-732.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/3415
Historically, the United States and Aotearoa/New Zealand symbolize opposite poles of an individualist-collectivist welfare state continuum. Until recently, Aotearoa/New Zealand was known as a "cradle-to-grave" welfare state, with "universal" employment and coverage in health and education. U.S. history, in contrast, is marked by an unabashed individualism and a residualist approach to welfare. Recent neoliberal reforms, however, have engendered a convergence between the two countries in the conceptualization and organization of assistance for poor single mothers. Most notable are the "workfare" provisions of legislative changes made in 1996 in the two countries, which work to reconstitute poor mothers as potential able-bodied workers. In this article we analyze welfare reform in the United States and Aotearoa/New Zealand, with particular reference to how poor single mothers respond to, comply and cope with, or resist neoliberal strategies. Analysis is based on participant-observation, interviews, and focus groups conducted between 1989 and 1999.
American Anthropological Association
This article has been published in the journal: American Anthropologist. ©2001 American Anthropological Association.