Annabelle Berthiaume (McGill University, Montreal, Canada)
December 6 @ 14:00
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“The “Activation” Funnel: Mother’s Involvement in Anti-Poverty Intervention in the Era of Social Investment”
How anti-poverty interventions are involving mothers ? Recent redefinition of policies and programs in the social sector has been concomitant with a reconfiguration of responsibilities and responses to poverty from the state, the private sector, community organizations, families and individuals. Therefore, researchers have observed an increase of burden into two levels, namely community organizations, on the one hand, and families, in which women continue to assume preponderant responsibilities, on the other. This shift raises a paradox: although it may be a result of reforms that favour public policies emphasizing decentralized shared governance, it is not incompatible with claims made since the 1970s to recognize, give greater autonomy to, and even empower civil society, in contrast with states’ bureaucratic top-down approach to addressing poverty.
Drawing on preliminary findings from an ethnographic research in a poor neighborhood in Montreal (Canada), my presentation will explore how this shift of burden can be analyzed through social interventions around child poverty. Results suggest that the “activation turn” is not only traceable in policies and programs designed to address employment and access to labor market issues, but it is also redefining parenthood, and more specifically motherhood, targeting once again poor mothers in their mothering role.