Government welfare is a program that is under constant scrutiny, but often what is missing from that conversation is consideration of how interaction between case workers and recipients may impact the administration of services. Relatively few studies examine how welfare policy is implemented on the ground level, yet research of this nature is critical to understanding how policy affects individuals seeking public assistance. To address this need, I conducted interviews of both caseworkers and recipients in a county welfare office about the interactions and, in particular, how the stigmatization of poverty affects those interactions. I found that caseworkers have the ability to use discretion to point individuals to additional services but the use of this discretion depends on previous judgments of character. These judgments hinge on whether or not a person is labeled as “deserving” or “undeserving.” My findings focus on interactional elements leading to and resulting from judgment. I also discuss implications for future research and policy relating to welfare.
Sociology and Anthropology
Porter, Molly, ""The Rules are the Rules:" An Examination of Interactions between Government Caseworkers and Welfare Recipients" (2015). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 6750.
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
© Copyright 2015 Molly Porter