Amahirany
Gaspar 

Sincerely,

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From
this experience I learned a lot and found my main weakness. I will be
practicing and spending more time on parts where I struggled. And will use what
I did learn in other classes. In the beginning I didn’t spend enough time on
the paraphrasing and citations, so I will be giving it more time and finding
help when I need it. Getting help is a struggle for me but I did find it
useful. I just need to make sure I understand the material to be successful
using it, whatever it might be. I learned a lot in your class and I thank you
for the time u spent on me.

I
think just knowing how to read an article went well for me. I learned a simpler
way of reading. And it is a time saver, especially because we had to use six or
more articles for our final paper. So that’s a technique oi will be using for
other classes I take in the future. Ill also use the data base from the library
to find peer reviewed articles to make sure they are articles with credibility.
Although, these things were easier for me to learn, I did struggle with
paraphrasing and citations. I believe that I was mixing the up, which caused me
trouble in two of my papers. I have now spent more time on these two things to
make sure that in the future I will not have the same problem. I will be
practicing over vacations to make sure I get this down because I don’t want any
troubles with it in other classes.

Having
to deal with many sources was a bit confusing but it was manageable. Once I got
the hang of finding the main points I wanted to use, it was easier to put into
a chart and outline that was needed. I think making the chart and the outline
made it easier to structure my paper. Finding the subtopics and seeing which
articles were talking about same subtopics and different. This is where I was
seeing the similarities and differences between articles, which helped find my
argument using the similarities and differences. So, the charts and outlines we
did helped a lot to transform and structure my paper.

Later,
we were taught how to read an article instead of reading the whole article,
which would have been time consuming. I learned that the abstract on an article
is like a mini summary of what you will be reading about. Subtitles in articles
also made it easier to navigate through the article. It showed what those
paragraphs will be about, which helped me find the info I wanted. A lot of the
findings could be found in the conclusions and in the abstracts. Also, to give
some sight on how the studies went we could look for the subtitles “Methods”
and if you wanted the data it would be under “Data” or names of the variables
used. Overall, I learned how to make it simple to get through an article
without having to read word by word. It helped a lot to just look for the
subtitles like I mentioned before. Also, we did a comparative essay where we
used two of the five articles to do a mini literature review. This also helped
to have a base where we later could add from using the rest of the articles.

Learning
to find research was a bit challenging because I had to find articles that
talked about my topic. Especially finding the articles that where peer review.
To find articles I used the online database from school. It was a great help to
see that there were articles by majors, which narrowed it down a lot. Finding
ways to look up articles was also a challenge because by putting “And” or
putting “Or” can change the search on the search engine. It was neat to see how
it changed by putting or taking out a single word from the search engine. I
finally found about 5 articles that went together. I had used two of them from
a previous class where we used it to talk about poverty. This made it easier to
find only three more.

To
start my research, I had to find a topic that mainly interested me. I choose
doing it on the welfare system because I believe that many negative stigmas
arise from people. They judge mothers who get help because they are in need. I
believe that these women deserve a break from societies stigmas. Also, my
mother became sick in 2008, which made my dad quit his job to take care of her.
She later passed away when I was 16 years old, which forced my father to get on
welfare. I noticed how he felt embarrassed when he would have to take out the
card provided to pay for the things we were buying. So that is why I chose this
topic because I know first-hand how people may look at you when they see you
pay with the card.

I
am writing this letter to you to let you know how my process of getting my mini
literature review together went. I believe that this assignment was a good way
to give me a sense of how building a research paper is. It is good to know how
this process is and will use for other classes when it is required to do one.
This research made me see weaknesses and made me see what I might be good at as
well.

Hello
Dr. Abell,

  December
14,2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seccombe,
Karen, Delores James, and Kimberly B. Walters. 1998. “‘They Think You
Ain’t Much of Nothing’: The Social Construction of the Welfare Mother.” Journal of Marriage and the Family.
60(4): 849-65.

Rank,
Mark R. 1994. “A View from the Inside Out: Recipients’ Perceptions of
Welfare.” The Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare. 21(2):27-47.

Oyelere,
Ruth U., and Maharouf Oyolola. 2012. “The Role of Race and Birthplace in
Welfare Usage Among Comparable Women: Evidence from the U.S.” The Review of Black Political Economy.
39(3): 285-97.

Mickelson,
Kristin D., and Hazlett, Emily. 2014. “”Why me?”: Low-Income Women’s
Poverty Attributions, Mental Health, and Social Class Perceptions.” Sex Roles. 71(9-10): 319-32.

Dolan,
Elizabeth M., Sharon B. Seiling, Bonnie Braun, and Mary Jo Katras. 2012.
“Having Their Say: Rural Mothers Talk about Welfare.” Poverty & Public Policy. 4(2): 1-18.

Bullock,
Heather E. 2004. “From the Front Lines of Welfare Reform: An Analysis of Social
worker and Welfare Recipient Attitudes.” The
Journal of Social Psychology. 144(6): 571-88.

References:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The
roles that the internal and external groups played in the construction of the
welfare beneficiaries were important to the perception of the mothers who
received welfare. Although, stereotypes are made that there are many people
that take advantage of the system, there are many others that do need the
programs to provide for their families. It’s getting stricter and stricter to
the point where families now think twice whether to apply or not, when it
should not be that way. If they need the help, then help they should receive.
Society has constructed this negative image on these mothers that try to
provide for their families, which is very unfair. Society should see them as
individuals and not as a group that is out to use the government’s assistance
and taxpayers’ money.

As
women and families apply for public assistance to make ends meet, many think
twice about it because of the stigmas that come with it. Many stigmas come from
social workers, other mothers who are on welfare as well, and from society.
They give a negative perception of the mother as being lazy, undeserving of the
benefits, and/or that she is taking advantage of the system. To keep away from
these stigmas, mothers believed that they were different. They believed that
they were not taking advantage of the system and that they were deserving of
the help, unlike the “other” women on welfare.

According
to Dolan et al. (2012), they found that that some mothers who were getting
welfare, while being accepting of the negative stereotypes about those receiving
public benefits, would see themselves as different from those “others” because
welfare was providing the help they needed. They (Mickelson
& Hazlett 2014) also found that poverty were faults from having children
and having relationships with other people. Rank (1994) also states that many
who are on welfare tended to try to push away from the stigmas that rise from
society. Rank (1994) also found that recipients were likely to separate
themselves from other cases compared to their own. Overall, Rank (1994) found
that perceptions were being faced from society and from their own selves. They
were being judged left to right by people on welfare, by their own selves, and
by social workers who were supposed to be there to help them, not judge them.

Seccombe
et al. (1998), also found that in their interviews, that African American and
White women believed other women’s use of welfare was due to their laziness,
drug use, lack of human capital, personal choice or other personal shortcomings
or irresponsible behavior. The individualistic perspective came into play on
how women on welfare saw other women on it. Also, they found that there was a
preference for their own valid explanations so women receiving public
assistance distanced themselves from the rest of the women on welfare. The
women who received welfare explained why other women were on welfare using the
individualistic perspective, while using structural causes to justify their
use.

According
to Seccombe et al. (1998), they found that the respondents were aware of the
stigmas that were constructed about them and that most of the times these
stigmas were directed towards them personally. “The theme of laziness, an image
embodied in the individualistic perspective, emerged with relative consistency”
(Seccombe et al. 1998:853). Scholars (Seccombe et al. 1998), also found that
many negative comments were heard at welfare offices , which made welfare
recipients not trust them and saw them with suspicion.

Bullock
(2004), on the other hand, found differences between both groups, social
workers and the welfare beneficiaries. Bullock (2004) found that that if these
groups have different views, understanding caseworkers’ perspectives is
important to understand social groups’ views and interactions. Through her
research, Bullock (2004) also found that the beneficiaries were more likely to guess
that a high percentage of recipients do fraud when using welfare programs than being
honest compared to social workers. Many differences showed that social workers
and recipients had different views but were similar in economic/structural
causes for poverty amongst the recipients (Bullock 2004).

Dolan
et al. (2012) found that experiencing negative attitudes from employees of
welfare agencies may have had a huge effect on the recipients or future
recipients. They also found that, for most women on welfare the negative
perceptions about the system and its employees were negative, based on how they
were treated and what they  believed to
be discriminatory treatment in offices (Dolan et al. 2012).

Also,
according to Oyelere and Oyolola (2012), there were a lot of people taking
advantage of the system in the 90’s. In 1996, congress passed the Personal
Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), which
restricted eligibility to immigrants, got stricter for Americans, and ended
welfare as an entitlement programs. It passed so that the abuse of the system
would decrease. Both scholars saw that women from minority groups were poor and
unemployed. They believed that education would reduce the chance of being poor
and relying on the welfare system (Oyeler and Oyolola 2012). Rank
(1994) mentions that stigmas automatically are negative when talking or hearing
about welfare and emerges negative images.

Many years ago, the welfare system was called Aid to
Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). It was later replaced by Temporary
Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) in 1997, which we currently still have
today (Seccombe et al. 1998). The
program changed its lifetime welfare payments to a maximum of five years and
majority of adult beneficiaries were also required to work after two years.
Makers of the welfare system believed that by 2002, 50% of the people on
welfare should have been employed. A lot of things changed when the new program
came about, it got stricter and harder for families to apply. Also, these
programs were primarily made for White widows and their children, but changed
over the years since it was provided to mostly divorced and never- married
women with children. Many stigmas rose towards people who were going on
welfare. They believed that women who were never married were
undeserving of these benefits.

Mark
R. Rank (1994) focused on how welfare recipients
saw their situations, how they viewed other people viewing them, and how they
viewed other recipients. Rank (1994) also focused on beneficiaries’ views of
the welfare system by attitudes being the influencer. To do so, he used open
ended qualitative interviews. He also used a sample that was random of welfare beneficiaries.

Mickelson
and Hazlett (2014) showed how attitudes of women towards their own poverty can
be associated with mobility beliefs that they can upgrade. Scholars (Mickelson
and Hazlett 2014) found that women were more likely to believe that their
poverty had to do with having children, their romantic relationships, and
structural/government blame. For their study, they used a sample
of 66 mothers that were low-income. They saw that views of their poverty were
connected to romantic relationships and structural reasons to upward mobility
beliefs, while individualistic views were not.

Oyelere
& Oyolola (2011) believed that it is possible that someone’s experiences
could affect their perception and inclination for using government assistance,
Dolan et. al (2012), also agreed that public’s perception of people on welfare
are generally negative, and saw that mothers, who themselves, received
assistance hold these negative attitudes. And because of these stigmas Seccombe,
James, and Walters (1998) believed that the women often believed them and based
their situations as being different from the norm. All the scholars believed
that negative perceptions have some type of effect on the people who rely on
the government’s assistance. On the other hand, Bullock (2004) believed that to
gain a better understanding of the issues, she looked at social workers and
welfare users’ views for poverty, beliefs of welfare, and opinions towards
welfare reforms.

Dolan,
Seiling, Braun, Katras (2012), showed that negative perceptions rose by
external groups and internal groups. At times, social workers were not as
understanding or helpful toward the people who relied on public assistance.
People themselves, who relied on welfare, had negative perception of “others”
who relied on it as well. Mothers who were on welfare spoke about the
discrimination they received. The data collected was from a three-wave study,
Rural Families Speak(RFS), between the years of 1999 to 2003. Interviews were
conducted with lower-income mothers from 24 rural counties across the country,
who had at least one child under the age 13, and who had eligibility to receive
food assistance. When the interviews were conducted, of the 414 mothers
interviewed, a subsample of 159 rural mothers received welfare, or were
currently receiving welfare. Scholars found that most of the participants were
non-Hispanic Whites, although the total sample had more Hispanic/Latina mothers
at the time of the first interview. And most of those mothers were on Medicaid
and food stamps. The scholars expected that more of the rural mothers who
received welfare, received other benefits than the total sample. The negative
perceptions ranged from what it would cost taxpayers, “others”, and to
discrimination while using welfare programs. Attributes that were mentioned,
were that people on welfare were lazy, had bad character and/or low morals, and
living off the taxpayers. Although these were negative perceptions, some got
positive experiences, by getting help from their case workers. Although some
mothers had positive experiences, they were still worried about the negative
perceptions about being on welfare. They believed that the public should see
these people as individuals and not generalize that all welfare-reliant mothers
are there to take advantage of the system. These perceptions bring
embarrassment to many mothers who depend on the welfare system, when most are
hard working mothers with the need of assistance to make ends meet.

The
study had 47 women on welfare in 1995, deeply interviewed. Most of the women
who were interviewed were not employed, although some worked as babysitters or
as hair stylists.  Seven were employed
part-time and three worked full time. Even though they had jobs, the pay was
not enough to get them above the poverty line. In the interviews they were
asked if they were aware of the stigmas that came with receiving welfare. Many
said that they were aware and that most of the criticism were in person. The
grocery store was a very common place where the negative comments were being
made towards the women, because they had their food stamps in plain view,
another place was the welfare office itself. The caseworkers had negative
comments that made these women feel like they were nothing. Seccombe et al.
(1998) found that the individualistic perspective was commonly used by the
public when dealing with the constructions of poverty and welfare reforms. They
also associated welfare usage by other women to being lazy, having personal
defects, and other deficits. Most women claimed to be different because they
did not abuse the system, they wanted to be someone, did not have health
problems, and were on it to provide for their children.

Seccombe,
James, and Walters (1998) believed that the women often believed the stigmas
and based their situations as being different from the norm. The scholars,
examined the ways women on welfare interpreted the usage of welfare and
perspectives behind the stigmas that came with being beneficiaries of the
welfare system. These women blamed the social structure, the welfare system,
the fate for their own economic situations, and welfare use. They often used
the individualist and “victim-blaming” perspectives, where they believed other
women reliant on the system were not like them. These women also believed in
the constructions made of the welfare mother as being lazy and unmotivated and
having their situation to be different from the norm.

Bullock
(2004) believes that to understanding the issues better, she looked at social
workers and beneficiaries’ opinions on poverty, beliefs of welfare, and
attitudes towards welfare reforms. She showed that there were similarities and
differences on how welfare beneficiaries and social workers viewed the welfare
system and how they defined poverty. She also, examined the relationship
between characteristics, beliefs about welfare beneficiaries, and welfare
reform policies. Overall, Bullock (2004) believed that the relationship among
both groups should be strengthened by forming alliances. Although, people saw
them as opponents, both groups showed similarities in attributions of poverty.
Which Bullock (2004) believed that the groups could start a positive
relationship from. The study had 80 participants, from the 80, 41 were welfare
beneficiaries and 39 social workers. The participants who completed the survey
were mainly women social workers and beneficiaries. One variable that was
looked at was the low-income group. The low-income group had current and former
beneficiaries, while in the social group none were receiving benefits.

Most
programs that the government provide for families in need, especially, welfare,
may be great help for them. But what many might not see is that being on welfare
may bring up different types of stigmas of the beneficiaries. Stigmas are
constructions of society that target a certain group and characterize them as
being a certain way negatively. External and internal groups play a role in the
way the stigmas are constructed towards these women who receive welfare. The external
group consists of people, in general, who don’t receive welfare and the social
workers that women go to with their cases. The internal group consists of the
women themselves who receive welfare who also judge other beneficiaries. They
believed that it was “me vs. them”, and that they were not like the rest, to
justify why their need of assistance compared to the other women on welfare were
valid. It’s important to see where these social constructions come from for
these women because society’s negative perceptions may affect the way some of
these beneficiaries view themselves and each other.

[email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December
2017

Dr.
Leslie Abell

SOC
305

CSU
Channel Islands

Amahirany
Gaspar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social
Constructions and Welfare Beneficiaries