Stock market euphoria and blind faith in the post cold war economy have driven the topic of poverty from popular and scholarly discussion in the United States. At the same time the gap between the rich and poor has never been wider. The New Poverty Studies critically examines the new war against the poor that has accompanied the rise of the New Economy in the past two decades, and details the myriad ways poor people have struggled against it.
The essays collected here explore how global, national, and local structures of power produce poverty and affect the material well-being, social relations and politicization of the poor. In updating the 1960s encounter between ethnography and U.S. poverty, The New Poverty Studies highlights the ways poverty is constructed across multiple scales and multiple axes of difference.
Questioning the common wisdom that poverty persists because of the pathology, social isolation and welfare state "dependency" of the poor, the contributors to The New Poverty Studies point instead to economic restructuring and neoliberal policy "reforms" which have caused increased social inequality and economic polarization in the U.S.
Contributors include: Georges Fouron, Donna Goldstein, Judith Goode, Susan B. Hyatt, Catherine Kingfisher, Peter Kwong, Vin Lyon-Callo, Jeff Maskovsky, Sandi Morgen, Leith Mullings, Frances Fox Piven, Matthew Rubin, Nina Glick Schiller, Carol Stack, Jill Weigt, Eve Weinbaum, Brett Williams, and Patricia Zavella.
"These contributions provide a dynamic understanding of poverty and immiseration"
"--North American Dialogue, Vol. 4, No. 1, Nov. 2001"
"This wonderful collection is a key intervention in the analysis of intensifying poverty in the globalizing United States from both street-level ethnography and political economy vantages. The contributors document the lives-and lavishly quote the narratives-of impoverished American residents across lines of race, gender, nationality, and regional location. They give us historical perspective and up-to-the-minute critiques, and we gain a fresh and strongly grounded understanding of `welfare reform,' `multiculturalism,' and `the new urbanism': the multi-layered horrors of the marketizing policies imposed on all the poor in our era of neoliberal triumph."
-Micaela di Leonardo,Northwestern University
"The New Poverty Studies takes us to immigrant communities, work places, homeless shelters, and urban neighborhoods to examine the heart-rending stories of Chinese newcomers caught in a system of wage-slavery, the tedium of labor in fast food restaurants, the search for housing to match income from minimum wage jobs, and the web of cash checking stores and pawn shops that fostered indebtedness in low-income communities. What emerges is the centrality of human agency and the struggles of real people, rather than the bankrupt image of poor Americans as marginalized victims of larger economic forces."
-Louise Lamphere,University of New Mexico
"These contributions provide a dynamic understanding of poverty and immiseration."
-North American Dialogue
,Vol. 4, No. 1, Nov. 2001