Myths about the Powerless

Contesting Social Inequalities

M. Brinton Lykes, Ali Banuazizi, Ramsay Liem, and Michael Morris
Book Cover

PB: $36.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-422-2
Publication: May 96

HC: $89.50
EAN: 978-1-56639-421-5
Publication: May 96

Ebook: $36.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0142-7
Publication: May 96

416 pages
6 x 9
2 tables, 3 figs., 1 halftones

Exposing the assumptions about issues at the center of our national debate


This collection examines the realities of social inequality, providing critical analyses of contemporary issues at the center of national debate—homelessness, the underclass, poverty, welfare, unemployment, health and mental health care, and gender and intercultural relations. A scholar and life-long activist, William Ryan's notions of "blaming the victim" and "fair shares vs. fair play" provide potent jumping-off points for the contributors' insights into the struggle for equality and social justice in the 1990s. Their call to unmask the underlying assumptions that sustain inequality offers a compelling challenge to the neoconservative strategy that dominates public debate and legislative agendas.

Table of Contents

Foreword – George W. Albee

Part I: Introduction

Part II: Inequality, Poverty, and Social Policy
1. Equality, Morality, and the Health of Democracy – S. M. Miller
2. Culture, Structure, and the Underclass – Michael Morris
3. The Homeless Shelter and the Nineteenth-Century Poorhouse: Comparing Notes from Two Eras of "Indoor Relief" – Dennis P. Culhane
4. Welfare Reform and the New Class War – Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward
5. The So-Called Underclass and the Future of Anti-Poverty Policy – Herbert J. Gans

Part III: Beyond Victim Blaming: The Emergence of New Voices
6. Mental Health and Unemployment: The Making and Unmaking of Psychological Casualties – Ramsay Liem and Joan Huser Liem
7. Insisting on Innocence: Accounts of Accountability by Abusive Men – Michelle Fine, Toni Genovese, Sarah Ingersoll, Pat Macpherson and Rosemarie Roberts
8. Meaning Making in a Context of Genocide and Silencing – M. Brinton Lykes
9. Psychology, the Distant Other, and the Dialectics of Change in Non-Western Societies – Ali Banuazizi

Part IV: Revisiting the Crisis in Health and Mental Health
10. Choices and Chances: How a Profit-Driven Health Care System Discriminates against Middle-Aged Women – Paula B. Doress-Worters
11. Cancer and Poverty: Double Jeopardy for Women – Jean V. Hardisty and Ellen Leopold
12. The Challenges Facing Community Health Centers in the 1990s: A Voice from the Inner City – Elizabeth Sparks
13. Privatization and the Global Economy and Mental Health in Massachusetts – Matthew P. Dumont

Part V: Consciousness Raising, Action, and Community Change
14. Women's Abortion Experiences as Sources of Political Mobilization – Abigail J. Stewart and Sharon Gold-Steinberg
15. Rethinking Social Action and Community Empowerment: A Dialogue – Bill Berkowitz and Tom Wolff
16. Art as Community Narrative: A Resource for Social Change – R. Elizabeth Thomas and Julian Rappaport
17. Dismantling the Post-War Social Contract – Sumner M. Rosen

Part VI: A Conversation between William Ryan and M. Brinton Lykes

About the Contributors
Author Index
Subject Index

About the Author(s)

M. Brinton Lykes is Associate Professor of Psychology, Boston College School of Education, and the co-editor of Gender and Personality: Current Perspectives on Theory and Research.

Ali Banuazizi is Professor of Psychology at Boston College and the author of The New Geopolitics of Central Asia.

Ramsay Liem is Professor of Psychology at Boston College and the co-author of Social Contexts of Health, Illness, and Patient Care.

Michael Morris is Professor of Psychology at the University of New Haven and the co-author of Poverty and Public Policy.