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Dr. Mimi Abramovitz

Changes in U.S. Social Welfare Policy: The Effects of Privatization on Human Services (part 2 of 2)

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“We study major policies – welfare reform, affordable healthcare. We study trends like gentrification. We study our clients – what are they doing, how are they responding to our services? But we rarely study ourselves.”

Dr. Mimi Abramovitz

In part one of this two-part podcast, Dr. Miriam Abramovitz discusses the history of economic thought and public policy that have shaped human services in the twentieth century.

In this podcast, part two of the discussion, Dr. Abramovitz turns her eye inward to on the social workers at the front lines of human services, those workers who are among the most affected by the new administrative trends. She discusses her current research project on social workers’ responses to the changes that have occurred in human services under the New Public Management model. She discusses not only the preliminary results of her research, but also the positive responses that workers have had to the project itself, and suggests some of the implications that these worker responses have for the future of our profession.

Dr. Miriam Abramovitz is the Bertha Capen Reynolds Professor of Social Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and The CUNY Graduate Center. Her research interests include women, work, poverty, and social welfare policy. She is the author of Regulating the Lives of Women: Social Welfare Policy From Colonial Times to the Present, the award-winning Under Attack, Fighting Back: Women and Welfare in the US, and co-author of The Dynamics of Social Welfare Policy and Taxes Are A Women’s Issue: Reframing the Debate. Her research has appeared in major academic journals within and outside of social work as well as in and the popular press, including New York Times, Washington Post, MS Magazine Women’s Review of Books and Women’s eNews. Dr. Abramovitz is currently conducting research about the relationship between “place” and social problems, investigating the impact of austerity policies on the human service workforce, and writing a book entitled Gender Obligations: The History of Low-Income Women’s Activism Since 1900. Dr. Abramovitz is the recipient of numerous awards for her overall contributions to social work and social policy and has been inducted into the Columbia School of Social Work Hall of Fame.

Interviewer: Wooksoo Kim, PhD

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