Policy for the‘Deserving,’but politically weak: The 1996 welfare reform act and battered women

Sharon A. Chanley, Nicholas Alozie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law #104–193) is perhaps the most visible national legislation since the sweeping Civil Rights laws of the 1960s. For social policy so well entrenched into the American social fabric, the rapidity with which reforms swept through the welfare system was unprecedented and confound conventional theoretical pronouncements on bureaucracy and policy change. The swiftness of reform, and the political rhetoric that surrounded the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, have prompted criticism that reformers responded more to the social construction of welfare recipients than they did to the dictates of sound public policy (Magusson and Dunham, 1996). This article discusses the ramifications of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act for battered women and concludes that battered women's social construction as deserving of public assistance, but politically weak, precipitated welfare reform policy, targeted to battered women, that has been largely rhetorical rather than substantive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalReview of Policy Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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