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    Vassar College
  Nov 22, 2017
Catalogue 2017-2018
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SOCI 264 - Poverty and Policy

1 unit(s)
To understand poverty, it is not sufficient to simply know of its existence, its rates, or even its effects. We also need to understand the policies and strategies that have attempted to eliminate or ameliorate poverty, and their relative success or failure. Poverty response strategies typically emerge in two ways: “bottom-up” or “top-down.” Bottom-up strategies include the Settlement House movement of the Progressive Era, community organizing (Saul Alinsky movements), social movements, and non-profit and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Top-down approaches are typically governmental, and in the U.S. include the social welfare policies of the Roosevelt, Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton, and Obama administrations. In this course we will look at the nature of both bottom-up and top-down strategies, as well as the philosophies and ideologies that oppose government intervention. We will explore, as well, the origins, structures, and philosophies of other nations, especially the European welfare states and the world-wide effort to target poverty through the Millennium Development Goals. We will consider, in particular, the more restrictive policies of the 1990s created by “welfare reform” which sought to “end welfare as we knew it,” and look at current policies that help or hinder working families – including family leave, sick leave, vacation time, etc. Finally, we will consider the relative success or failure of specific policies that are aimed at hunger, housing, homelessness, and the feminization of poverty. Marque Miringoff.

Not Offered in 2017/18.

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