Informal Labor, Formal Politics, and Dignified Discontent in India
April 2013 , Cambridge University Press
Since the 1980s, the world’s governments have decreased state welfare and thus increased the number of unprotected “informal” or “precarious” workers. As a result, more and more workers do not receive secure wages or benefits from either employers or the state. What are these workers doing to improve their livelihoods? Informal Labor, Formal Politics, and Dignified Discontent in India offers a fresh and provocative look into the alternative social movements informal workers in India are launching. It also offers a unique analysis of the conditions under which these movements succeed or fail. Drawing from 300 interviews with informal workers, government officials, and union leaders, Rina Agarwala argues that Indian informal workers are using their power as voters to demand welfare benefits (such as education, housing, and healthcare) from the state, rather than demanding traditional work benefits (such as minimum wages and job security) from employers. In addition, they are organizing at the neighborhood level, rather than the shop floor, and appealing to “citizenship,” rather than labor rights. Agarwala concludes that movements are most successful when operating under parties that compete for mass votes and support economic liberalization (even populist parties), and are least successful when operating under non-competitive electoral contexts (even those tied to communist parties).
Public and Private Families: An Introduction (7th Edition)
September 2012 , McGraw-Hill
As the title suggests, Public and Private Families: An Introduction, seventh edition, discusses the family in two senses: the private family, in which we live most of our personal lives, and the public family, in which we, as adults, deal with broader societal issues such as the care of the frail elderly, the increase in divorce, and childbearing outside of marriage. The book examines intimate personal concerns, such as whether to marry, as well as societal concerns, such as governmental policies that affect families. Distinctive chapters examine contemporary issues such as income assistance to poor families, the effects of out-of-home childcare, and the costs of Social Security and Medicare programs.
A companion reader to this textbook, Public and Private Families: A Reader, seventh edition, with 14 same-named chapters, has 34 readings from both the popular press and academic journals.
The Accordion Family: Boomerang Kids, Anxious Parents, and the Private Toll of Global Competition
January 2012 , Beacon Press
Why are adults in their twenties and thirties stuck in their parents’ homes in the world’s wealthiest countries?
There’s no question that globalization has drastically changed the cultural landscape across the world. The cost of living is rising, and high unemployment rates have created an untenable economic climate that has severely compromised the path to adulthood for young people in their twenties and thirties. And there’s no end in sight. Families are hunkering down, expanding the reach of their households to envelop economically vulnerable young adults. Acclaimed sociologist Katherine Newman explores the trend toward a rising number of “accordion families” composed of adult children who will be living off their parents’ retirement savings with little means of their own when the older generation is gone.
While the trend crosses the developed world, the cultural and political responses to accordion families differ dramatically. In Japan, there is a sense of horror and fear associated with “parasite singles,” whereas in Italy, the “cult of mammismo,” or mamma’s boys, is common and widely accepted, though the government is rallying against it. Meanwhile, in Spain, frustrated parents and millenials angrily blame politicians and big business for the growing number of youth forced to live at home.
Newman’s investigation, conducted in six countries, transports the reader into the homes of accordion families and uncovers fascinating links between globalization and the failure-to-launch trend. Drawing from over three hundred interviews, Newman concludes that nations with weak welfare states have the highest frequency of accordion families while the trend is virtually unknown in the Nordic countries. The United States is caught in between. But globalization is reshaping the landscape of adulthood everywhere, and the consequences are far-reaching in our private lives. In this gripping and urgent book, Newman urges Americans not to simply dismiss the boomerang generation but, rather, to strategize how we can help the younger generation make its own place in the world.
Protest with Chinese Characteristics: Demonstrations, Riots, and Petitions in the Mid-Qing Dynasty
June 2011 , Columbia University Press
The origin of political modernity has long been tied to the Western history of protest and revolution, the currents of which many believe sparked popular dissent worldwide. Reviewing nearly one thousand instances of protest in China from the eighteenth to the early-nineteenth centuries, Ho-fung Hung charts an evolution of Chinese dissent that stands apart from Western trends.
Hung samples from mid-Qing petitions and humble plaints to the emperor. He revisits rallies, riots, market strikes, and other forms of contention rarely considered in previous studies. Drawing on new world history, which accommodates parallels and divergences between political-economic and cultural developments East and West, Hung shows how the centralization of political power and an expanding market, coupled with a persistent Confucianist orthodoxy, shaped protesters’ strategies and appeals in Qing China.
This unique form of mid-Qing protest combined a quest for justice and autonomy with a filial-loyal respect for the imperial center, and Hung’s careful research ties this distinct characteristic to popular protest in China today. As Hung makes clear, the nature of these protests prove late imperial China was anything but a stagnant and tranquil empire before the West cracked it open. In fact, the origins of modern popular politics in China predate the 1911 Revolution. Hung’s work ultimately establishes a framework others can use to compare popular protest among different cultural fabrics. His book fundamentally recasts the evolution of such acts worldwide.
Taxing the Poor: Doing Damage to the Truly Disadvantaged
February 2011 , University of California Press
This book looks at the way we tax the poor in the United States, particularly in the American South, where poor families are often subject to income taxes, and where regressive sales taxes apply even to food for home consumption. Katherine S. Newman and Rourke L. O’Brien argue that these policies contribute in unrecognized ways to poverty-related problems like obesity, early mortality, the high school dropout rates, teen pregnancy, and crime. They show how, decades before California’s passage of Proposition 13, many southern states implemented legislation that makes it almost impossible to raise property or corporate taxes, a pattern now growing in the western states. Taxing the Poor demonstrates how sales taxes intended to replace the missing revenue—taxes that at first glance appear fair—actually punish the poor and exacerbate the very conditions that drove them into poverty in the first place.
May 2010 , SAGE Publications, Inc
Providing basic foundations for measuring inequality from the perspective of distributional properties
This monograph reviews a set of widely used summary inequality measures, and the lesser known relative distribution method provides the basic rationale behind each measure and discusses their interconnections. It also introduces model-based decomposition of inequality over time using quantile regression. This approach enables researchers to estimate two different contributions to changes in inequality between two time points.
- Clear statistical explanations provide fundamental statistical basis for understanding the new modeling framework
- Straightforward empirical examples reinforce statistical knowledge and ready-to-use procedures
- Multiple approaches to assessing inequality are introduced by starting with the basic distributional property and providing connections among approaches
The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today
April 2010 , Vintage
The Marriage-Go-Round illuminates the shifting nature of America’s most cherished social institution and explains its striking differences from marriage in other Western countries.
Andrew J. Cherlin’s three decades of study have shown him that marriage in America is a social and political battlefield in a way that it isn’t in other developed countries. Americans marry and divorce more often and have more live-in partners than Europeans, and gay Americans have more interest in legalizing same-sex marriage. The difference comes from Americans’ embrace of two contradictory cultural ideals: marriage, a formal commitment to share one’s life with another; and individualism, which emphasizes personal choice and self-development. Religion and law in America reinforce both of these behavioral poles, fueling turmoil in our family life and heated debate in our public life. Cherlin’s incisive diagnosis is an important contribution to the debate and points the way to slowing down the partnership merry-go-round.
Who Cares?: Public Ambivalence and Government Activism from the New Deal to the Second Gilded Age
March 2010 , Princeton University Press
Americans like to think that they look after their own, especially in times of hardship. Particularly for the Great Depression and the Great Society eras, the collective memory is one of solidarity and compassion for the less fortunate. Who Cares? challenges this story by examining opinion polls and letters to presidents from average citizens. This evidence, some of it little known, reveals a much darker, more impatient attitude toward the poor, the unemployed, and the dispossessed during the 1930s and 1960s. Katherine Newman and Elisabeth Jacobs show that some of the social policies that Americans take for granted today suffered from declining public support just a few years after their inception. Yet Americans have been equally unenthusiastic about efforts to dismantle social programs once they are well established. Again contrary to popular belief, conservative Republicans had little public support in the 1980s and 1990s for their efforts to unravel the progressive heritage of the New Deal and the Great Society. Whether creating or rolling back such programs, leaders like Roosevelt, Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan often found themselves working against public opposition, and they left lasting legacies only by persevering despite it.
Timely and surprising, Who Cares? demonstrates not that Americans are callous but that they are frequently ambivalent about public support for the poor. It also suggests that presidential leadership requires bold action, regardless of opinion polls.
China and the Transformation of Global Capitalism
August 2009 , Johns Hopkins University Press
With one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and a population quickly approaching two billion, China holds substantial sway over global financial, social, and cultural networks. This volume explains China’s economic rise and liberalization and assesses how this growth is reshaping the structure and dynamics of global capitalism in the twenty-first century.
China has historically been the center of Asian trade, economic, and financial networks, and its global influence continues to expand in the twenty-first century. In exploring the causes for and effects of China’s resurging power, this volume takes a broad, long-term view that reaches well beyond economics for answers. Contributors explore the vast web of complex issues raised by China’s ascendancy.
The first three chapters discuss the global and historical origins of China’s shift to a market economy and that transformation’s impact on the international market system. Subsequent essays explore the ability of large Chinese manufacturers to counter the might of transnational retailers, the effect of China’s rise on world income distribution and labor, and the consequences of a stronger China for its two most powerful neighbors, Russia and Japan. The concluding chapter questions whether China’s growth is sustainable and if it will ultimately shift the center of global capitalism from the West to the East.
This cutting-edge collection of works by leading global political economists links current events to long-term trends in global capitalist development to provide a comprehensive analysis of China’s impact on the world. Scholars of China, world systems and globalization, international relations, and political economy will find this assessment worthy of study and an important starting point for further research.
Rise of the Red Engineers: The Cultural Revolution and the Origins of China’s New Class
March 2009 , Stanford University Press
Rise of the Red Engineers explains the tumultuous origins of the class of technocratic officials who rule China today. In a fascinating account, author Joel Andreas chronicles how two mutually hostile groups—the poorly educated peasant revolutionaries who seized power in 1949 and China’s old educated elite—coalesced to form a new dominant class. After dispossessing the country’s propertied classes, Mao and the Communist Party took radical measures to eliminate class distinctions based on education, aggravating antagonisms between the new political and old cultural elites. Ultimately, however, Mao’s attacks on both groups during the Cultural Revolution spurred inter-elite unity, paving the way—after his death—for the consolidation of a new class that combined their political and cultural resources. This story is told through a case study of Tsinghua University, which—as China’s premier school of technology—was at the epicenter of these conflicts and became the party’s preferred training ground for technocrats, including many of China’s current leaders.