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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 Expansion

Strategies of Expansion

Possibilities and Limitations

Chapter:
(p.131) 4. Strategies of Expansion
Source:
Inventing the Needy
Author(s):

Lynne Haney

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520225718.003.0005

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

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