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Poverty, Battered Women, and Work in U.S. Public Policy$
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Lisa D. Brush

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195398502

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195398502.001.0001

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Conventional Wisdom and Its Discontents

Conventional Wisdom and Its Discontents

(p.22) 2 Conventional Wisdom and Its Discontents
Poverty, Battered Women, and Work in U.S. Public Policy

Lisa D. Brush

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides the intellectual scaffolding for the book. The chapter reviews the explanatory frameworks that together constitute the conventional wisdom about poverty, battering, and the central role of women’s work in addressing them. The hegemonic explanations for poverty and abuse include victim empowerment folklore, criminological expertise and law-and-order logic, the politics of disgust, and work-first common sense. The chapter then presents an alternative approach (drawn from feminist structural challenges to conventional wisdom) that focuses on how women are trapped by poverty and abuse. The chapter concludes the chapter with a critical description of the contradictory dynamics of the institutionalization of conventional wisdom in two key U.S. policies on poverty and battering: the Personal Responsibility Act and the Violence Against Women Act.

Keywords:   hegemony, law-and-order, victim empowerment folklore, politics of disgust, work-first, Personal Responsibility Act, Violence Against Women Act

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