Comparative Democracy Seminar: America’s Two Worlds of Welfare


Thursday, February 23, 2017, 4:15pm to 5:30pm


Ash Center, 124 Mt. Auburn St., Suite 200-North

Join Margaret Weir, Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs at Brown University, as she discusses, "America's Two Worlds of Welfare." The event will be moderated by Candelaria Garay, Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government.

About the Event 

The American government has long relied on nongovernmental organizations to carry out public purposes. Studies of the public private welfare state posit a single national story that charts the rise of public-private social provision and its current challenge from neoliberalism. We contest this unitary perspective, showing instead that distinct historical legacies related race, religion, immigration, and the timing of urban growth gave rise to diverse organizational configurations for assisting the poor in different parts of the country. As a consequence, the delegated state has taken on two distinct forms in America: a civic-public model prominent in the North and Midwest; a religious-private model characteristic of the South and West

About the Speaker

Margaret Weir is Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs at Brown University.  Before coming to Brown in 2016, she was the Avice M Saint Chair in Public Policy and Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.  Her research centers on social policy, poverty, and urban politics in the United States and Europe.  She is the author and editor of several books, including Schooling for All: Race, Class and the Decline of the Democratic Ideal (coauthored with Ira Katznelson, Basic Books); and Politics and Jobs: The Boundaries of Employment Policy in the United States (Princeton University Press), The Politics of Social Policy in the United States (with Ann Shola Orloff and Theda Skocpol, Princeton University Press) and The Social Divide (Brookings and Russell Sage).  She is currently working on a book about the politics of spatial inequality in American metropolitan areas.

About the Comparative Democracy Seminar Series

The Ash Center’s Comparative Democracy Seminar Series, run by Candelaria Garay, Associate Professor of Public Policy, and Quinton Mayne, Associate Professor of Public Policy, brings innovative scholars in the field of comparative democracy to the Kennedy School to present their research.  Seminars have focused on topics as diverse as compulsory voting, the influence of Christian churches on public policy, the crisis of representation in Latin America, and the oil curse in the Middle East.