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Inventing the NeedyGender and the Politics of Welfare in Hungary$
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Lynne Haney

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520225718

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520225718.001.0001

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Strategies of Integration

Strategies of Integration

Collectivism and Individualism

Chapter:
(p.62) 2. Strategies of Integration
Source:
Inventing the Needy
Author(s):

Lynne Haney

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520225718.003.0003

This chapter gives an account of client maneuverability and gender strategies provoked by the early socialist welfare regime (1948–1968) in Hungary by embarking on a historical excavation of how societal policies were implemented and how they shaped everyday life. Case files and enterprise records are analyzed for what they reveal about citizens' interpretations of and responses to the welfare society. Through citizens' words and actions as recorded in these historical documents, a view of this regime from below is constructed in which the regime ended up providing citizens with more resources than is usually posited. Paradoxically, the regime's collective focus gave individuals the ability to protect themselves by allowing them to maneuver among institutions to defend their interests. The regime's desire to control social institutions inadvertently empowered those connected to these institutions by enabling them to harness the state's concern with public and private relations to secure their own well-being. The prevailing conceptions of need bred client strategies of integration and these are illuminated by exploring how married women and single mothers appropriated state resources to transform the form and the content of their institutional relations. In doing so, both groups of clients found ways to enhance their institutional and social integration.

Keywords:   client maneuverability, integration, state resources, gender strategies, collectivism, individualism

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