Creating a Female Dominion in American Reform, 1890-1935

Creating a Female Dominion in American Reform, 1890-1935

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Description

In this book, Muncy explains the continuity of white, middle-class, American female reform activity between the Progressive era and the New Deal. She argues that during the Progressive era, female reformers built an interlocking set of organizations that attempted to control child welfare policy. Within this policymaking body, female progressives professionalized their values, bureaucratized their methods, and institutionalized their reforming networks. To refer to the organizational structure embodying these processes, the book develops the original concept of a female dominion in the otherwise male empire of policymaking. At the head of this dominion stood the Children's Bureau in the federal Department of Labor. Muncy investigates the development of the dominion and its particular characteristics, such as its monopoly over child welfare and its commitment to public welfare, and shows how it was dependent on a peculiarly female professionalism. By exploring that process, this book illuminates the relationship between professionalization and reform, the origins and meaning of Progressive reform, and the role of gender in creating the American welfare state.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 139.7 x 213.4 x 20.3mm | 272.16g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0195089243
  • 9780195089240

Review quote

"In addition to offering important insights into women and reform, it is a model monograph; it is useful for teaching the central role of women in Progressivism....[It is] on the cutting edge of scholarship."-Greg Field, University of Michigan at Dearborn "A superb book."-Mary O. Turner, University of California at Santa Barbara "This is not just another study of female reform. Muncy's treatment of the professionalization of reform and the creation of new bailiwicks for women within the federal bureaucracy is a significant contribution to early twentieth-century social history. The author uncovers important connections, not only among the first generation of female progressive reformers, but between them and the younger women they brought through the ranks. She fleshes out much of what we have only suspected regarding goals, strategies, and accomplishments, placing her findings in the broader context of the women's movement, as well as changes in government and the professions."-Regina Morantz-Sanchez, University of California, Los Angeles "This is a very good work-interesting, well and concisely written, and relevant to major questions about 20th-century women, politics, and the state. I especially like the way Muncy has perceived and presented the structure of the "dominion," moving across voluntary associations, education and reform institutions, and government. This is impressive, and I think could serve as a model for other studies."-Suzanne Lebsock, Rutgers University "A masterful recounting of the intergenerational relations of a group of social reformers/professionals embedded in a strikingly original concept of a dominion of women. Gender and reform, professionalization, public policy, are marvelous additions to our comprehension of the first third of the twentieth century, and put women where they belong, at the center of the development of the welfare state."-Nancy Weiss, University of Hawaii at Manoa "The argument is original and illuminating. Women's inventions in and contributions to the formation of social welfare policy in the U.S. have never been described more concisely and effectively than in this book."-Nancy Cott, Yale University "In the burgeoning literature on women and welfare in the first three decades of the century, Muncy's study of the female dominion opens new territory. It is a must read."-Journal of American History "Offers a powerful and provocative synthesis of women's reform activities and demonstrates conclusively their key role in building the welfare state."-History of Education Quarterly "An important contribution to the literature on Progressivism, feminism, and reform."-American Historical Review "A finely crafted study....Muncy's book is a fine example of recent works that critically document women's political activism and their influence on the making of the welfare system."-The Nationshow more

Back cover copy

In this book, Muncy explains the continuity of white, middle-class, American female reform activity between the Progressive era and the New Deal.show more

Rating details

41 ratings
3.7 out of 5 stars
5 22% (9)
4 32% (13)
3 41% (17)
2 5% (2)
1 0% (0)
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