Strategies of Expansion

Lynne Haney

in Inventing the Needy

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780520225718
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936102 | DOI:
Strategies of Expansion

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The maneuverability and level of integration of women in the welfare society in Hungary was undermined with the rise of welfare maternalism, where state actors subjected women's mothering to higher levels of surveillance. This chapter traces how this institutional tracking operated and how it structured clients' maneuverability. Clients' room to maneuver in this regime varied according to which side of the good/bad–mother divide they fell on. While good mothers were able to expand the prevailing needs as spouses and as women, bad mothers were more constrained in their strategizing. Yet the success of women deemed to be bad mothers was more contingent. Those who could deflect blame onto their husbands carved out space to defend themselves as wives, while those who could not shift blame were subjected to punitive welfare practices. Thus, although both groups of women struggled to expand the confines of the maternal, only some were successful. Their struggles reveal the possibilities and the limitations of welfare maternalism.

Keywords: maneuverability; welfare maternalism; institutional tracking; punitive welfare practices; strategies of expansion

Chapter.  13640 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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