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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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Conceptualizing the Welfare State

(p.1) Introduction
Inventing the Needy

Lynne Haney

University of California Press

This chapter presents reconfigurations of Hungarian welfare from the earliest years of state socialism in 1948 to 1996. The transformations in state policies and institutional practices of the Hungarian welfare system are also presented. The welfare system constructed needs in three different ways: socialized, maternalized, and finally materialized. In the first phase, a mother's needs were conceptualized in societal terms by a welfare system that sought to reconstitute institutional relations. In the second phase, a welfare apparatus that sought to reconstitute the role of a mother materialized needs. Then, in contemporary Hungary, in the last phase, a welfare system aimed at the bureaucratic regulation of poverty needs materialized these women. The needs were collapsed into one, material need; their neediness defined in strictly monetary terms. This shift highlights the shifting conceptions of need embodied in both social policies and institutional practices. Differences in the practices of Hungarian welfare—changes in the size of the welfare apparatus and the structure of welfare institutions are also described.

Keywords:   reconfiguration, socialized, maternalized, materialized, bureaucratic regulation, Hungarian welfare, material need

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