Strategies of Excavation

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 Excavation

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Women excluded from the welfare apparatus have a plethora of needs as workers, mothers, wives, and family members—needs that are arguably social responsibilities but that remain unmet in the state sphere. This chapter examines the liberal welfare state of Hungary from an encompassing lens, which emphasizes the redistributive and interpretive effects of welfare targeting. Welfare targeting has had profound effects on women's everyday lives and maneuverability. Further, redistributive defense of welfare targeting overestimates the gains made by the poor. Drawing on actual cases and case files, a picture of the liberal state's two institutional trajectories are painted: the tracks to exclusion and to inclusion. Through these institutional processes, some women were channeled out of, and others into, the welfare sphere. Although their dynamics were different, both tracks were characterized by practical and discursive losses. Moreover, although these losses had different implications for the excluded and the included, both groups responded by reasserting the maternal: the excluded used the maternal as an offensive strategy of reinclusion, while the included used it as a defensive strategy of destigmatization. Thus both groups excavated past identities as mothers to gain leverage in the present and to disrupt welfare workers' limited preoccupation with the material.

Keywords: inclusion; exclusion; welfare targeting; redistributive; reinclusion; destigmatization

Chapter.  13705 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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