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Title:Beyond the Caring State: Civic Ideals and the Architecture of Human Development
Author(s):Hopping, David Earle
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Lie, John
Department / Program:Sociology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Abstract:This study offers a constructive critique of the treatment we accord some of the most vulnerable members of society: children who have become "wards" of the governmental apparatus. I explore some of the routine material practices whereby the State attempts to manage collapsed or deviant family formations, interpreting these practices in Gramscian fashion as constituting the substance of ideology. I combine this ideological critique with insights drawn from pragmatist social psychology. Recasting Althusser's concept of interpellation as relational and interactive, I examine how interpellative networks are stabilized in material culture and social praxis, particularly with reference to the fiction of wardship: a category of relation historically linked to systematic physical and symbolic violence. I suggest that resistance to bureaucratized violence must confront extensive networks of patterned relations that stabilize one another dynamically. I suggest further that the fragile and contingent nature of this web is obscured by the common practice of reifying it as a System. Efforts to reform "the child welfare system" inadvertently handicap themselves insofar as they presume that such a system actually exists. Issues are brought to focus in an empirical study of a unique foster and adoption program that has created a multi-generational neighborhood dedicated entirely to the welfare of its children, about half of whom arrive as wards of the State of Illinois. The resulting hybrid entity straddles private, public, and market domains; problematizes the role of government in the care of socially residualized persons; and reveals sites of contradiction and opportunity within ideologies of practice. I conclude by suggesting that there may be inherent limits on the reach and effectiveness planned social interventions, and offer recommendations regarding "best practice" when policy goals entail developing social capital and civil structure. I suggest that the familiar paradigm of engineering-for-targeted-outcomes be supplanted (or at least supplemented) by a more "architectural" paradigm that attends to new sorts of social indicators keyed to community capacity and connectedness.
Issue Date:2002
Description:152 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2002.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3044117
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2002

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