- Paperback: 200 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press; New edition edition (September 27, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300064241
- ISBN-13: 978-0300064247
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #686,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Brutal Need: Lawyers and the Welfare Rights Movement, 1960-1973 Paperback – September 27, 1995
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From the Back Cover
'Brutal Need is a magnificent book. It combines sophisticated analysis of legal principles defining the rights of the poor, a rich social history of the organization of poor people in the 1960s, and gripping biographies of the leading participants in the often neglected social movement. It is a pleasure to read this lucid book. Davis provides insight, even to a person who participated in the events she describes.'-Sylvia Law, New York University School of Law
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A punitive crackdown on welfare recipients in the 1950's with a growing consciousness of their status encouraged these women to organize a welfare rights movement. One of the actors in that movement was lawyers.
Because they were not necessarily on welfare themselves, they had various motives for helping the welfare rights movement. Some people truly were empathetic to the cause; other people were going through the motions of their work. There also was a gendered component because the 'heads of households' on welfare were women and the lawyers (in an era when law school quotas were active) were predominantely men. How could they possibly empathize with the personal life experiences of their clients even if 'public aid' lawyers did not have to worry where their next meal was comming from?
However, this book emphasizes that all lawyers reconfigured the 'welfare recipient'. From factors including their involvement she was an assertive-aggressive being who was demanding her rights publicly, This was far cry from the depression era woman intentionally positioned by society as meek and subservient, grateful for whatever assistance she did receive.
Eight years after 'welfare reform', this book was an important read. It provides critical insight for readers interested in public policy and human services. It is also important reading for anybody needing to understand how the motives of a policy advocate ultimately do shape a public policy.