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Dreaming a way out : social planning responses to the agency of lone mothers experiencing neo-liberal… Vilches, Silvia Leonor 2011

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   ―Dreaming a Way Out‖: Social Planning Responses to the Agency of Lone Mothers Experiencing Neo-liberal Welfare Reform in Western Canada  by  Silvia Leonor Vilches    B.A., The University of Victoria, 1986  M.A., The University of Victoria, 2002   A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF   Doctor of Philosophy  in  The Faculty of Graduate Studies  (Planning)     THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  (Vancouver)       November 2011  © Silvia Leonor Vilches, 2011    ii ABSTRACT Neo-liberal welfare reform in the province of BC, Canada, has set in motion a contest over the agency of welfare recipients. A critical feminist lens was used to explore the experiences of a diverse group of impoverished lone mothers (n = 17) with young children in the city of Vancouver. Grounded theory and narrative analysis were used in a qualitative mixed methodology to investigate how women are creating a future for themselves and their children, how they resist and interrogate the imposition of policy directives, and the implications for social planning. The results of in-depth interviews from a three year qualitative longitudinal study show that women mediate between public expectations and private needs. They claim public benefits by deploying their identities to match individualizing policy discourses that frame them as people in need. Meanwhile, because of insufficient benefits, they engage in the informal economy to survive, transforming private goods, including sometimes, their bodies, into benefits through barter, sale, and assuming debt. As they scrabble 1  for resources, they create and care for community as a means of affirming their identity as valuable members of society, of surviving and ensuring the future well-being of their children. These women manage the risk of failing to support themselves, their children, and often others, by constituting themselves through dreaming a way out. When their dreaming is at risk of failing, the women are too. If a key normative goal of social planning is to create an equitable and inclusive society, then these findings challenge the often racialized discourses around poverty, affirming the  1  v.t. to scrap or scrape, as with the claws or hands (2) to grapple or struggle with, as with the claws or hands, (3) to scrawl, scribble v.i. (4) to grab for or collect something in a disorderly way; scramble n. (5) a scratching or scraping, as with the claws or hands. (The Random House College Dictionary, 1980, p. 1182).    iii contribution of impoverished lone parent families, including Aboriginal families, to urban life. A key recommendation is to make a conceptual shift away from the polarized debate created by identifying poverty with a lack of finances, or ―need,‖ and toward the capabilities model used at the international level. Recognizing place-based resourcing enables the use of spatial planning tools to help meet the dilemmas impoverished lone parent women face in their struggle to survive. I argue that without recognizing women‘s agency, impoverished lone parent families remain invisible and underserved by existing planning practices.      iv PREFACE This dissertation is based on data collected by the Income Assistance project (IAP) 2003- 2007. As required by UBC regulations, I will describe my involvement and its contribution to my dissertation here, in the preface. Details on the data itself, and reflections on my involvement, are supplied in the methodology chapter and several appendices. I joined the IAP project at the invitation of Dr. Gurstein, Principal Investigator, shortly after it was funded in the spring of 2003. I was fully involved until its end, in 2008. As a team member and principal research assistant, I assisted in developing the interview approach and questions, participated in a practice pilot interview, led the recruitment effort, assigned participants to interviewers, and engaged 6 of 17 participants during the 3-year interviewing process. During this time, I participated in regular IAP team meetings where we debriefed our progress, shared our evolving insights, and made decisions about next steps. Additionally, I also managed the audio files and sent them for transcription. I assisted in developing two coding frameworks, and supervised one research assistant who entered the codes (another later completed this task under the supervisor of Dr. Pulkingham). In 2008, I assisted in recruiting and facilitating three focus groups with service providers. I co-facilitated one group, solely facilitated one group, and took notes for the third, while organizing transcription, file sharing, and coding development as I had for the interviews. I also assisted with organizing a symposium in 2008. I proposed the dissertation questions presented here in 2008, and as described in the methodology chapter, developed a new analytical approach to answer the questions. I used the interview data (transcripts) and my own field journal for the data. I also referred to the case summaries produced for the regular team meetings, and in addition, I did a brief policy review. The analysis and findings presented in this dissertation are wholly my own work.    v The project had an interdisciplinary structure so analytical work, presentations, and publications occurred in pairs or groups, as it made sense. The team discussed their ideas and evolving papers at the team meetings. I typically worked with my advisor, Dr. Gurstein, in publishing, as is reflected below in the publications list. I assisted in authoring three book chapters, one peer-reviewed publication, two reports (one published), one community publication, and several presentations, some with papers. I cite some of the material in the dissertation, but this dissertation was not built on any of those papers and the analysis was developed separately. I have not yet published a paper arising solely out of the analysis or findings of this dissertation. The use of the IAP data by a graduate student was approved by the UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board, file number B03-0240. IAP Publications Role of Silvia Vilches Book Chapters and Journal Articles 1. Gurstein, P., Pulkingham, J., & Vilches, S. (2011). Challenging policies for lone mothers: Reflections on, and insights from, longitudinal qualitative interviewing In W. Frisby & G. Creese (Eds.), Feminist Community Research: Case Studies and Methodologies. Vancouver, BC: UBC. Third author. Development of Presentation for presentation with P. Gurstein (below). Contributed towards early conceptualization and writing, and later, to proofing and commentary. This work was completed prior to the dissertation and is cited in this dissertation. 2. Guhn, M., Swart, S., Pigini, M., & Vilches, S. (2011). Chapter 10, Graduate Student Experiences in the CHILD Project: The Invaluable Contribution of Interdisciplinary, Collaborative Research to Young Academics and Professionals. In H. Goelman (Ed.), New Approaches to Early Childhood Development: Rules, Rituals, and Realities (pp. 179-199). New York, NY: Palgrave.       Contributed to the writing under the lead of chapter editor, Dr. Guhn.    vi IAP Publications Role of Silvia Vilches Book Chapters and Journal Articles (cont.) 3. Gurstein, P., & Vilches, S. (2010). The just city for whom? Re-conceiving active citizenship for lone mothers in Canada. Gender, Place & Culture, 17(4), 421-436.   Co-author. Development of Presentation for presentation (below). Contributed 50% of writing and analysis towards paper. This work was completed prior to the dissertation and is cited in this dissertation. 4. Gurstein, P. and S. Vilches. (2009). Revisioning the Environment of Support for Lone Mothers in Extreme Poverty. In M. Griffin Cohen. & J. Pulkingham. (eds.) Public Policy for Women: The State, Income Security and Labour Market Issues. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Co-author. Development of Presentation for symposium (below). Contributed 50% of writing and analysis towards paper.  This work was completed prior to the dissertation and is cited in this dissertation. Conferences/presentations 1. Vilches, S. Expanding planning responses to poverty by using a capabilities approach. Paper presented at the Planning to Scale, 51st Annual Meeting of the American Collegiate of Schools of Planning, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Oct. 6-11, 2010. Sole author, with accompanying paper. 2. Vilches, S., & Gurstein, D. P. Transforming our understanding of poverty reflexively through immersion in longitudinal qualitative research: Lessons from the Income Assistance Project. Lone Mothers and Welfare to Work Policies: Insights from Longitudinal Qualitative Research. Vancouver, BC. September 26-28, 2008. Co-presenter. Dr. Gurstein and I co-developed a paper for this symposium. Some of the material was used in developing the chapter by Gurstein, Pulkingham and Vilches (2011). 3. Vilches, S., & Goelman, H. Achieving equity in community-university partnerships. Paper presentation. Community-University Exposition, Victoria, BC. May 4- 7, 2008. Co-presenter. This was based on a paper I wrote as a research assistant to the umbrella CHILD group (see below). 4. Vilches, S. Social capital and social debt: The lived impacts of welfare restructuring in BC. Women's Health Research Network Summer Institute, Victoria, BC. May 1-2, 2008.     Sole presenter. No paper. Not peer reviewed.    vii IAP Publications Role of Silvia Vilches Conferences/presentations (cont.) 5. Pulkingham, J., Gurstein, P., Fuller, S., and Vilches, S. Impacts of social service reductions on families and their children Translating Early Child Development Research into Policy and Practice; The CHILD Project 2003-2007. CHILD Forum, Vancouver, BC. Nov. 19, 2007. Co-presented. We each presented a small part of own analytical work as a panel. I focussed on the case of ―Molly‖, speaking to the depletion of women‘s resources. This analysis was developed for the book chapter, above. (Gurstein and Vilches, 2009). 6. Gurstein, P. and Vilches, S. The Just City for Whom? Active Citizenship for Lone Mothers in Extreme Poverty, Paper presentation. The International Sociological Association Research Committee 21 on Sociology of Urban and Regional Development Urban Justice and Sustainability. Vancouver, BC. August 22- 25, 2007. Co-authored presentation. Later developed into book chapter (above). 7. Vilches, S. Narrating the Aboriginal city: Re-Imaging women and children in the urban village. Paper presentation. American Collegiate of Schools of Planning Annual conference, Borders and Cores; What is Planning in the Global Era? Fort Worth, Texas. Nov. 9-12, 2006. Sole presenter. I developed the analysis and completed the presentation, writing a 20-page paper. Not yet published. 8. Vilches, S. Explorations of policy impacts through single parent narratives. Poster presentation. The Storied Nature of Human Experience: Fact and Fiction, Second Biannual Narrative Methodologies Conference. Wolfville, NS. May 24-27, 2006. Sole presenter. I developed the analysis and completed the presentation, writing a short, 10- page paper as an accompaniment. Not yet published. 9. Gurstein, P. and S. Vilches, S. Re-Visioning the Environment of Support for Single Mothers in Extreme Poverty. Paper presentation. Imagining Public Policy to Meet Women’s Economic Security Needs – Economic Security Project. Vancouver, BC. October 16, 2005. Co-authored presentation. Later developed into book chapter (above). 10. Gurstein, P., J. Pulkingham, P. Kershaw, S. Vilches, M. Goldberg.  Panel Report on the Income Assistance Project. C.H.I.L.D. Learning Forum, Vancouver, B.C. February 19, 200         Assisted in developing the presentation. Did not co-present.    viii IAP Publications Role of Silvia Vilches Reports 1. Gurstein, P., Goldberg, M., Fuller, S., Kershaw, P., Pulkingham, J., & Vilches, S. (2008). Precarious and Vulnerable: Lone Mothers on Income Assistance. Burnaby, BC: Social Planning and Research Council of BC. Minor role; assisted with details. 2. Vilches, S. (2005). What Can We Learn? What Can We Share? Interviews with Members of Projects 3.1, 3.2, and 4.4. of CHILD on Collaborative Knowledge Development, Harrison Hot Springs, BC, May 31-June 1, 2005. Sole author and researcher. This 3-month project was undertaken when I was a research assistant for the umbrella CHILD project, headed by the Principal Investigator, Hillel Goelman. I interviewed all members of three of the projects (cluster 1, see Appendix A). I analyzed the material and wrote the report, which I presented. Later this was used to develop the presentation Vilches and Goelman (2008). Community Publications 1. Penny Gurstein and Michael Goldberg with Sylvia Fuller, Paul Kershaw, Jane Pulkingham and Silvia Vilches. 2008. Precarious and Vulnerable: Lone Mothers on Income Assistance.  SPARC BC News. Minor role in developing the content. 2. Vilches, S. & Gurstein, P. (2006). Income assistance rules exhaust women‘s resources, SPARC BC News, Summer. Co-author. 3. Stockburger, J. and Fuller, S., with the Income Assistance Project Team. (2005). Lost in the shuffle: Policy changes leave women in north-western British Columbia bewildered, broke and with fewer places to turn. Women and Children in BC Report Card. (www.wmst.ubc.ca). Assisted with editing.      ix TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract................................................................................................................................. ..................... ii Preface................................................................................................................................. ...................... iv Table of Contents................................................................................................................................. ..... ix List of Tables................................................................................................................................. ............xv List of Figures ................................................................................................................................. ....... xvi Glossary of Terms and Acronyms ......................................................................................................... xvii Acknowledgements  ............................................................................................................................ xxiii Foreword................................................................................................................................. ................xxv Dedication................................................................................................................................. .......... xxviii CHAPTER 1 – Planning Responses to Lone Mother‘s Poverty .................................................................1 1.1 Social Planning Responses to Neoliberal Welfare Reform ........................................................4 1.2 Gender Sensitive Approaches in Social Planning .......................................................................7 1.3 Critical Feminist Approaches to Social Planning Research .....................................................12 1.4 Research Problem Statement and Questions ............................................................................15  1.4.1 Research Questions  ....................................................................................................15 1.5 Structure of the Dissertation: Looking Forward .......................................................................15 CHAPTER 2 – Theoretical Perspectives on Neoliberal Welfare Reform and Lone Mothers ..................18 2.1 Neoliberalism and Third Way as Welfare Reform ...................................................................19   2.1.1 Comparative Analysis of Welfare Reform ..................................................................20   2.1.2 Critical Perspectives on Citizen Activation Policies ...................................................24  2.2 Redefining Poverty ...................................................................................................................27   2.2.1. The Capabilities Approach to Poverty........................................................................29  2.3  Neoliberal Reforms of Third Sector Supports .........................................................................33  2.4  Studying the Impacts of Welfare Reform on Women .............................................................35    x   2.4.1 Citizens Who Care: Resubjectification through Social Reproduction ........................37   2.4.2 Empirical Themes in Studies of Lone Mothers ...........................................................38   2.4.3 Sex Trade Work and Neoliberal Reform .....................................................................43  2.5 Implications of Welfare Reform ...............................................................................................47 CHAPTER 3 – Critically Examining the Case of BC Welfare Reform....................................................49 3.1 Implementing Neoliberalism ....................................................................................................50  3.1.2 Benefit Changes ..........................................................................................................51  3.1.3 Workforce Participation Rate of Lone Mothers ..........................................................56  3.1.4 Reducing or Increasing the Welfare Wall?..................................................................58  3.1.5 Disciplining Recipients through Reclassification ........................................................61 3.2 Restructuring the Responsibility Mix .......................................................................................65  3.2.1 Third Sector Reform  ...................................................................................................66 3.3 Characterizing the Consequences of BC Reform .....................................................................69 CHAPTER 4 – Applying a Critical Lens ..................................................................................................72  4.1 Recognizing Resistance ............................................................................................................72  4.2 Critical Approaches to Poverty .................................................................................................77   4.2.1 Focusing on Lone Mothers‘ Agency ...........................................................................77    4.2.1.1 Defining Agency .........................................................................................78    4.2.1.2 Agency as a Context Subject: Passivity ......................................................80  4.3 Everyday Experience as a Foundation of Inquiry .....................................................................81   4.3.1 Methodological Dilemmas of Incorporating Voice .....................................................85  4.4 Intersectionality as Critical Lens ..............................................................................................87   4.4.1 Shifting the Focus: Issues of Concern to African American Populations ...................87   4.4.2 Racial Uplift: Womanist Interpretations and Collectivist Contributions ....................88   4.4.3 Community Work as Resistance .................................................................................90    xi  4.5 Constructed Citizenship Boundaries .........................................................................................90  4.6 Welfare Colonialism and Aboriginal Women‘s Resistance .....................................................92  4.7 Epistemological Implications of Considering Difference .........................................................95  4.8 Survivance as Collective Resistance and Social Transformation .............................................96  4.9 Conclusion ..............................................................................................................................100 CHAPTER 5 – Methodological Approach for the Dissertation ..............................................................102  5.1 Background to the Income Assistance Project (IAP) .............................................................103   5.1.1 Design of the Income Assistance Project ..................................................................105  5.2 IAP Data Used in the Dissertation ..........................................................................................106   5.2.1 Sampling: Individual Interviews ...............................................................................106    5.2.1.1 Development of IAP Questions and Method ............................................108    5.2.1.2 Recruitment of the IAP Participant Sample ..............................................109    5.2.1.3 Characteristics of the IAP Participant Sample ..........................................111    5.2.1.4 Attrition ....................................................................................................116    5.2.1.5 Transcripts and Case Summaries as Used in the Dissertation ..................117   5.2.2 Focus Groups with Service Providers .......................................................................118   5.2.3 Neighbourhood Selection and Observations .............................................................120    5.2.3.1 Field Observations and Field Notes ..........................................................121   5.2.4 Policy Review ............................................................................................................123  5.3 Analyzing the Lone Mothers‘ Interviews for the Dissertation ...............................................124   5.3.1 Drawing on Two Analytic Approaches as Mixed Qualitative Methods ....................125   5.3.2 Investigating Agency with Grounded Theory Methodology .....................................126   5.3.3 Looking at Time and Context with Narrative Analysis .............................................128  5.4 Limitations and Strengths Using the IAP Study Data ............................................................130  5.5 Strengths and Limitations of the Two Analytical Approaches ...............................................132    xii  5.6 Looking Forward ....................................................................................................................135 CHAPTER 6 – The Economy of Poverty for Lone Mothers on Welfare ...............................................136  6.1 Staying Alive ..........................................................................................................................139   6.1.1 Defining Poverty  ......................................................................................................139   6.1.2 Critical Feminist Positions on the Nature of Poverty and Work ...............................141  6.2 A Manufactured Need .............................................................................................................142  6.3 Scrabbling for Resources ........................................................................................................148  6.3.1 Generating Income ....................................................................................................149   6.3.1.1 Labouring for Income ...............................................................................150   6.3.1.2 Selling Assets............................................................................................152   6.3.1.3 Using the Body for Income: Sex Work ....................................................155  6.3.2 Manufacturing Debt...................................................................................................159   6.3.2.1 Formal Loans: The Business of Pawning  ................................................160   6.3.2.2 Borrowing, Barter and Trade ....................................................................161  6.3.3 Fighting Back: Resisting Debt ...................................................................................163  6.4 Transitioning to Work .............................................................................................................169  6.4.1 Motivating Identities .................................................................................................169 6.4.2 Orchestrating the Steps ..............................................................................................171 6.4.3 Balancing Family and Child Care .............................................................................174 6.4.4 Being On-time and In-phase ......................................................................................177 6.4.5 Intention, Context and Timing ..................................................................................180  6.5 Another Way Out: Taking the Nickel .....................................................................................182 6.6 Summary  ..............................................................................................................................186 CHAPTER 7 – How Lone Mothers Use Dreaming to Create a Future ..................................................189  7.1 Dreaming as a Constitutive Act ..............................................................................................190    xiii  7.1.1 Dreaming as Family ..................................................................................................190  7.1.2 Dreaming as Lineage and Future ...............................................................................193  7.1.3 Dreaming as Healing .................................................................................................196  7.2 Unrequited Dreams as Social Exclusion .................................................................................202  7.3 Enacting Dreams: Resisting Public Expectations ...................................................................206  7.4 Nurturing Dreams: Protecting the Self ...................................................................................215 7.4.1 Finding and Creating Supportive Environments .......................................................218 7.4.2 Helping Others: Forbidden Work ..............................................................................224  7.5 Summary  ..............................................................................................................................230 CHAPTER 8 – Mediating the Public-Private Divide .............................................................................232  8.1 Falling Between the Public/Private Divide .............................................................................233  8.2 The Spatialized Dimensions of Resistance .............................................................................244  8.3 Revisiting the Performance of Resistance and Agency ..........................................................252  8.4 Reframing the Definition of Lone Parenting ..........................................................................259   8.4.1 Survivance in the Interstice .......................................................................................263  8.5 Transformations of Gender Exclusion ....................................................................................268 CHAPTER 9 – Discussion: Social Planning Responses .........................................................................271  9.1 The Effects of BC Reforms on Future Life Possibilities ........................................................271   9.1.1 Research Question No. 1 ...........................................................................................272   9.1.2 Characterizing the Effects of BC Welfare Reforms on Lone Mothers ......................274   9.1.3 Recognizing Aboriginal Women in the City .............................................................276   9.1.4 Recommendations for Family Research ....................................................................278  9.2 The Effects of Place and Policy on Agency ...........................................................................282   9.2.1. Research Question No. 2 ..........................................................................................282   9.2.2 Considering the Interaction of Place and Gender ......................................................288    xiv  9.3 The Implications of Interrogating Poverty Policy ..................................................................292   9.3.1 Research Question No. 3 ...........................................................................................292  9.4 Imagining Social Planning Responses ....................................................................................296   9.4.1 Research Question No. 4 ...........................................................................................297   9.4.2 Planning Practice Implications ..................................................................................297   9.4.3 The Dark Side of Planning: New Post-colonialisms? ...............................................300   9.4.4 Planning for Gender in Place for Lone Mothers ........................................................301  9.5 Conclusion: Conceptualizing Planning Practice as Work in the Interstice .............................303  References................................................................................................................................ .....305  Appendix A: CHILD projects .......................................................................................................331  Appendix B: IAP Recruitment Text and Poster ............................................................................333  Appendix C: IAP Screening Questions ........................................................................................335  Appendix D: IAP Interview Guide and Final Questions ..............................................................336  Appendix E: IAP Focus Group Questions ....................................................................................338  Appendix F: City of Vancouver and Recruitment Area ...............................................................339  Appendix G: IAP Analytic Objectives .........................................................................................341  Appendix H: IAP Interview Transcript Codes .............................................................................342  Appendix I: IAP Focus Group Codes ...........................................................................................345  Appendix J: Development of Dissertation Codes (Grounded Theory Analysis) ..........................352  Appendix K: Development of Narrative Analysis ........................................................................355      xv LIST OF TABLES   Table 1 Annual Maximum Child Benefits (July 2011 to June 2012) .............................................53  Table 2 IAP Sampling Frame for Interviewees ............................................................................107  Table 3 IAP Interviewer Assignments to Cases ...........................................................................111  Table 4 Key Characteristics of the IAP Participant Sample Listed by Pseudonyms ....................112  Table 5 Number of Children and Size of Household ....................................................................113  Table 6 Identification and Status of Aboriginal Women in the IAP Study ..................................114  Table 7 Total Number of Interviews, Showing Attrition ..............................................................117  Table 8 List of CHILD Projects ....................................................................................................331  Table 9 IAP Interview Codes .......................................................................................................342  Table 10 IAP Focus Group Codes ................................................................................................345  Table 11 Example of Hierarchical Organization of Dissertation Codes .......................................352  Table 12 Example of Narrative Analysis: Life Events Timeline for Natasha ..............................355       xvi LIST OF FIGURES   Figure 1 Welfare Diamond Showing Neoliberal Reform .......................................................23  Figure 2 The Process of Dreaming a Way Out ......................................................................137  Figure 3 Unintended Effects of Neoliberal Welfare Reform on the Structure of Government-Citizen Relations and the Economy ..................................................235  Figure 4 City of Vancouver, Showing Neighbourhoods ......................................................339  Figure 5 IAP Recruitment Area, East Vancouver, Showing Social Housing Units ..........339      xvii GLOSSARY OF TERMS AND ACRONYMS Acronym Full term Note AFDC Aid to Families with Dependent Children National US program which distributed benefits to needy families, supplanted in 1996 by TANF. BC Benefits BC Benefits (Income Assistance) Act BC provincial income assistance legislation (1996). Repealed in 2002 and replaced by the Employment Assistance Act. BSP Basic social process Term used in grounded theory methodology to describe the type of desired theoretical results CAP Canada Assistance Plan Cost sharing agreement between the federal government and the provinces, dismantled in 1996 and replaced with the SUFA. CCRR Child Care Resource and Referral  A provincial service to parents and child care operators that helps parents to locate spaces and helps operators understand regulations, assists with insurance, and provides referrals for business needs. CCTB Canada Child Tax Benefit  Introduced in 1993 by the federal government as a universal tax credit. CHILD Consortium for Health, Intervention, Learning and Development 10 research projects focussed on early childhood, involving the four BC universities and community partners. Principal Investigator Dr. Hillel Goelman, UBC. Funded under SSHRC MCRI. CIHR Child in home of relative A formal child protection assignment to a relative or someone with kin status, typically in lieu of formal foster parent arrangements. Modest funding is attached. CP Child protection A common way to refer to child protection services Dogwood BC high school diploma Named after the BC provincial tree, the Dogwood is the official name of the diploma awarded to those who complete grade 12.    xviii Acronym Full term Note DTES Downtown Eastside Known as the poorest postal code in Canada this small area adjacent to historic Chinatown and on the historic main street of Vancouver is a gathering place for people with many social issues, including addictions. Although street sex work is scattered throughout other neighbourhoods, there is a street sex trade here in addition to an open drug trade. EA Employment Assistance Act Provincial income assistance legislation (2002). Replaced the BC Benefits Act (1996). EAPD Employment Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Income assistance administered under a separate act from income assistance, but through the same offices (2001). East Vancouver East Vancouver Technically the half of the city east of the dividing line of Main St. More colloquially this is used to refer to the northeast sector of the city, distinguishing it from the largely residential mid-east and southeast sectors. In common usage the term refers to the part of the city that starts where the business district ends, which is a few blocks west of Main St. EAW Employment Assistance Worker Income Assistance Disbursement officer, so named as part of government rhetoric to emphasize employment rather than charity ETW Expected to Work One of 3 income assistance status (Expected to Work, PPMB and PWD). This status may be suspended for a variety of reasons (child under 3 years of age, temporary medical, and others) EU European Union A partnership of 27 European nations operating through sets of councils (www.europa.eu, 2011) FMEP Family Maintenance Enforcement Program Contracted program which collects child maintenance benefits on behalf of the province GAIN Guaranteed Annual Income for Need Act Provincial income assistance legislation (1979). Repealed in 1996 and replaced by the BC Benefits Act.    xix Acronym Full term Note GED General Educational Development  Is accepted as equivalent to a high school diploma, though is generally not sufficient for college or university entrance without further upgrading. GST  Goods and Services Tax A tax credit is available to low-income families to offset federal sales tax. This is known as the GST credit. GTM Grounded theory methodology HDI Human Development Index The named given to the national comparative measures of quality of life conducted by the United Nations Development Programme. The HDI is an application of the capabilities measure. HELP Human Early Learning Partnership Five-year study gathering data on indicators for every school age child in BC HIPPY Home Instruction Program for Parents and Youth Similar to Head Start programs in intent; this federal government program is intended to support children at risk of developmental delays. IA Income Assistance  When referred to in capital letters, either the provincial program or the Ministry which disburses benefits. In lower case letters, indicating the benefits formerly known as social assistance, or colloquially as welfare IAP Income Assistance Project Project 3.1 of the CHILD MCRI SSHRC funded community-university projects LICO  Low-income cut-off A relative measure used widely as a poverty line in Canada. The LICO represents the income level below which 1/5 of the Canadian households live.  The depth of poverty is sometimes indicated as an absolute measure below the LICO. MCFD Ministry for Child and Family Development Although the ministry names regularly change in BC, the ministry responsible for child welfare was called MCFD throughout much of the study period.    xx Acronym Full term Note MCRI Multi-collaborative Research Initiative  A funding stream from SSHRC, a national funding agency, designed to enable large community-university partnerships. Five year grants. Funding the IAP as part of CHILD. MDG Millennium Development Goals Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2000, the MDG set out 8 goals with 21 targets, including reducing deep poverty (less than $1/day), by 2015. MEIA Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance   Name of ministry responsible for income assistance. Preceded by Ministry of Human Resources (June 16, 2005 – June 23, 2008) - Followed by Ministry of Housing and Social Development  (2008-2011) MHR Ministry of Human Resources  Name of ministry responsible for income assistance.  Followed by MEIA. (June 5, 2001 – June 16, 2005). - Preceded by Ministry of Social Development and Economic Security (1999-2001) NAACP National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Dating to 1909, the NAACP advocate for civil rights for African Americans in the USA. NCB National Child Benefit  Introduced in 1998 by the federal government, the NCB is income dependent and taxable. OECD Organization for Economic Co- operation and Development Founded in Europe in 1948 to administer economic recovery after World War II, in 1961 the name became the OECD and today 39 countries, including many with advanced economies and high HDI ratings, comprise an economic development consortium. PPMB Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers One of 3 income assistance status (Expected to Work, PPMB and PWD). Formerly known as Disability I, two year or temporary disability status    xxi Acronym Full term Note PWD Persons with Disabilities One of 3 income assistance status (Expected to Work, PPMB and PWD). Formerly known as Disability II, permanent or ongoing disability status. PWORA Personal Work Opportunity and Responsibility Act 1996 US federal act which introduced welfare reform under the administration of President Clinton. Social assistance See - Income assistance  Social Worker  When formally referred to, a person hired to provide social or child protection services on behalf of the government, or informally, a person providing social or health supports. Technically, someone who has obtained a Bachelor of Social Work who is certified by the professional body. This is not an income assistance disbursement officer. SRO Single room occupancy A hotel room rented on a weekly or monthly basis, typically at low cost. SSHRC Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council One of three national research funding streams, the other two being focussed on health and the natural sciences. SUFA Social Union Transfer Agreement Replaced the CAP as a funding transfer mechanism between the federal government and the provinces in 1996. TANF Temporary Assistance to Needy Families Federal US program which replaced AFDC in 1996 under PWORA legislation. TANF ended direct federal policy by disbursing block grants to the states, which were expected to set their own policy within a federal framework of penalties and bonuses for meeting federal caseload objectives.    xxii Acronym Full term Note Third Sector Third sector Third system In North America, generally referring to not-for-profit organizations. In Europe, this may also include for- profit organizations that purposefully earn income, which is wholly dedicated to supporting social issues. Third sector may also include faith- based organizations and grassroots advocacy organizations. UCB Universal Child Benefit Distributed monthly at $100 per child. UNDP United Nations Development Programme  Welfare See: - BC Benefits - GAIN - Income assistance - MEIA - MHR - PWORA - TANF Also known as social assistance.       xxiii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I have been surrounded by a stellar group of colleagues, mentors and friends. I could not have written a feminist dissertation without the whole-hearted support of my advisor, Dr. Penny Gurstein. Through my many life challenges, she kept the wind at my back and made the journey possible. Her concise insight was often prescient. My committee members, Drs. Nora Angeles and Annette Browne applied extremely able expertise to help me to shape my lump of clay. I am particularly grateful to have been well-funded, initially as a research assistant to the Income Assistance Project (IAP). The IAP was embedded in a rich interdisciplinary, cross- university community partnership. The team members provided excellent insight and leadership.  Dr. Penny Gurstein, UBC, Principal Investigator (2003-2006)  Dr. Jane Pulkingham, SFU, Principal Investigator (2007-2008)  Michael Goldberg, Research Director of the Social Planning Council of BC  Seth Klein, Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in BC  Dr. Sylvia Fuller, UBC  Dr. Paul Kershaw, UBC  Dr. Jo-Anne Fiske, University of Lethbridge, Northern project lead  Dr. Dara Culhane, SFU  Research Assistants (graduate): Suzy Blown, Laverne Gervais, Jenny Haw, and Jillian Stockburger; (undergraduate) Tatiana Gadjalova. Thanks are due to the people and funders involved in three stages of my attempts to obtain data. The opportunity to use the IAP data in northern BC disappeared due to the actual policy dilemmas we were studying. I was supported by my advisor to pursue similar data in northern the northeast of BC. I was supported for three years by the Michael Smith Health Research Foundation (Partnership Grant), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and, later, a thesis grant from the Human Early Learning Partnership. I learned a great deal about northern research from the people of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organizations with whom I engaged in my field work. I extend a sincere thanks to Lynn Locher and the Fort St. John Early Childhood Table, Dr. Charls Bandenhorst, the Medical Officer of the Northeast Division of Northern Health, Connie Kaweesi, Chair of Academic Programs at Northern Lights College, and    xxiv Dr. Orland Wilkerson, Northeast Liaison for the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). A scholarship in rural studies offered by the Public Health and Agriculture Rural Ecosystems group (University of Saskatoon) offered me an incredible learning experience. When the Northern project encountered community barriers, a finishing grant from the College for Interdisciplinary Studies, UBC, helped me to complete the dissertation presented here. The School of Community and Regional Planning has been an interdisciplinary home to me on my quest to ground social planning. A great collection of Masters and Ph.D. students shared their professional development and aspirations; hopeful, optimistic, visionary, resolute, and community minded. I owe thanks to those of my own cohort year, but all my fellow Ph.D. students have been great colleagues and friends. The grounded theory club at the University of Victoria provided an expert sounding board, as did my two partners-in-crime there, Will Weigler and Darlaine Jantzen. Lastly, I must thank two special mentors; Dr. John Friedmann, who challenged me to be clear and bold in my commitment to equity, and Dr. Leonie Sandercock, Ph.D. Program chair, who applied her considerable scholarship to hearing what I really said. Finally, I must thank my family for their support. My partner, Lori Wanamaker, has supported me generously and kindly while facing increasingly demanding duties in her work. Our daughter, Kala Vilches, grew into a beautiful and strong young woman while I was in graduate school. My parents Sherrolyn and Harry Ferguson, and Oscar and Christine Vilches, have supported me and been inspirations; thank you. I would also like to acknowledge, the passing of my daughter‘s father, three grandmothers, my stepfather, my brother, an uncle and several great-aunts. In addition, there have been some serious illnesses among other family members, but also delights in the births of two new nephews. Whatever a family is, it is a source of joy, worry, love and camaraderie. I hope the love I received is reflected here.    xxv FOREWORD Over twenty years ago I was working as a community advocate on poverty issues, and I became frustrated with the inability to publicly communicate the message that welfare was not enough. The consequences could be extremely dire. The year my daughter was two years old, a lone mother took her children into a field, doused them with gasoline and set fire to the field. One child lived as I recall, and the rest died, including the woman. My child was the same age as one of her daughters; I knew the intensity of struggling to be a good parent. Though I do not know that particular woman‘s struggles, through my advocacy work, I met many people, Aboriginal like her, and otherwise, who struggled daily with experiences of deep poverty in the context of a society that has plenty. It made the struggle to be a good parent that much harder. To speak about poverty in a nation that rates in the top five for quality of life among all countries (United Nations Development Programme, 2008)  is to talk about a humanitarian crisis, although that is not the way it is publicly framed in Western liberal democracies. Dire poverty is an unfortunate reality in the Global South, but it is not admitted to in the Global North. This denial is, itself, a problem, and makes the current End Poverty campaign in Canada seem faintly ridiculous, like a consumer advertisement to subscribe to yet one more unneeded thing. Twenty years ago, however, welfare was less restrictive. The challenges that would be faced by impoverished lone parents are much worse today. The benefits have less scope, the distribution amounts are the same as they were twenty years ago though the cost of living is higher, and the regulations for eligibility are tighter. Many benefits which were allowed, like going back to school to get a grade 12 equivalency, to learn to speak English, or to get higher education, are now prohibited. At the same time, the economy has changed; there are fewer well-paying jobs, fewer union jobs, and less job security. Pillaging the environment has exhausted BC‘s natural    xxvi resources, and forestry and fishing, principal economic drivers and major political funders, have become marginal players. For women, family wages were always difficult to obtain, but the increase in employment insecurity combined with liberation of family forms has meant that women must work to support families; and the work they have is more precarious. Governments seem to be focussed on the race for global competitiveness, even if this drives domestic salaries down and makes individuals less economically secure. The advocacy community, by which I include national organizations as well as local, has been unable to effect change in the political climate of Canada, except in the province of Quebec, where social support programs are seen as part of the nationalistic need to sustain the francophone population. However, even Quebec has not escaped the increasing income disparity of Canada. In the twenty years since I worked as an advocate, food banks have become an institution and child poverty has deepened. The flow of Aboriginal people to urban areas, part of a larger trend of rural to urban flow, has brought the poorest of the poor to Canadian cities. Today a significant proportion of children grow up in lone parent families, and these children are statistically more likely to be poor. The consequence of the neoliberal orientation toward global competitiveness has been that we are raising future generations in poverty. All the early childhood indicators point to a lifetime of disadvantage accruing from income inequality and poverty in childhood. We may be investing in a divided future; we may be utilizing the assets of today in a way that exhausts the capacity of our society to be resilient in the future. Meanwhile, it seems that city planners are ineffectively mopping up the impacts of policies set at higher levels of government. My own community advocacy work ended years ago, but I continue to search for the deeper roots of our social inability to address poverty. I heed Howell Baum (2010), a planning theoretician who has drawn our attention to the possible psychological drivers of our    xxvii need to set the poor aside as different, but I hope that this dissertation may explore some of the practical possibilities for reimagining a theoretically informed social planning response to poverty.    xxviii DEDICATION    I honour the 17 women who shared their stories with us, so that we may understand how welfare really feels. Chapter 1 – Social Planning    1 CHAPTER I – PLANNING RESPONSES TO LONE MOTHERS’ POVERTY Poverty is one of the traditional standing ―problems‖ of urban planning, dating farther back than Jane Addams and the development of the Hull House collective settlement house model in Chicago in the 1880s (Hull House, 1970; Thomas, 1999). Planners continue to be interested in how land use planning techniques distribute the impoverished and help or trap them in the process (Dávila, 2004, 1987; Ruddick, 1996; Watson, 2009) and how neighbourhoods and urban (and rural) spaces are shaped by the social composition of their residents along gender, class and other divides (see, for example Borbridge, 2007; Fenster, 2005; Lykogianni, 2008). These concerns reflect an interest in local and place-based quality of life, in the disadvantages experienced by some, and in the contribution of the diverse humanity which makes up the cityscape to the whole of urban vitality. Contemporary challenges of poverty in Canada arise from increasing income disparity, changing family forms, and the rising interest in social investment perspectives on poverty amelioration. One of the newer demographic trends in poverty and inequality has been the growth of female-headed lone-parent households. The proportion of Canadian families with children that are headed by female lone parents has risen from 10% in 1971, to 16% in 1986, and then to 20% in 2001 (Statistics Canada, 2006), where it has stabilized. Lone parents are now a permanent feature of the social landscape, which is both an interesting development and a concern because they constitute a class with persistent poverty. According to 1998 figures, 39% of female-headed lone parent families live below Canada‘s low-income cut-off (LICO) (Kapsalis & Tourigny, 2002). In 2003, the proportion of female-headed lone parent households living in poverty after- Chapter 1 – Social Planning    2 tax 2  was 38%, comparing unfavourably to an average poverty rate for two-parent households of 7% and for male-headed lone-parent families at 13% (Statistics Canada, 2006). The average income, before government transfers, for low-income (working and non-working) mothers was $3,012, compared to $25,656 for non-low-income lone mothers, with the non-low income average being approximately half the average income for all family types (Kapsalis & Tourigny, 2002). The advocacy group First Call notes that on minimum wage of $10.26/hr a single person would have to work 40 hours a week for 52 weeks a year, to surpass the LICO; the actual minimum wage in BC when welfare reforms were introduced in 2002 was the lowest in Canada at $8/hr (First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, 2008). Lone-parent families have been one of the population groups strongly affected by neoliberal welfare restructuring. Unemployed lone-parent families are dependent on government transfers, known as welfare, or officially as social assistance. Welfare reform has swept what may be called the ―Global North‖. Governments in all five of the Western Anglo nations – Great Britain, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia – have implemented sets of reforms that have reduced rates, restricted access, increased conditions for receipt of benefits, altered the structure of delivery, and changed the intended outcomes from support to employment engagement. While the nature of reforms may be roughly collected under the rubric of neoliberalism or Third Way reform, there are important differences between the models and  2  Several distinctions are important: 20% of all families (households) are lone-parent families; but 25% of all families with children are headed by lone-parent families. Of all lone-parent families, approximately 80% are headed by women, indicating that 16% of all families are female-headed lone-parent families. Before tax transfers, the gross poverty rate is much higher than after tax and government pension transfers, including welfare. The LICO is a relative measure; that is, the measure is that which one-fifth of Canadian households live below. Nevertheless, it is used as a poverty line. The depth of poverty is sometimes indicated as an absolute amount above or below the LICO. Chapter 1 – Social Planning    3 the way they are adopted within different national contexts. In Canada which is known for its distributed federalism, welfare is administered under provincial jurisdiction. This arrangement leaves municipalities like the city of Vancouver to respond to needs which are not met by income disbursements. The challenges are not just substantive in the sense of presenting a quantitative change in income support levels: critical analysis suggests that neoliberal welfare reform is fundamentally changing, in gendered ways, the social contract established in the twentieth century after the two World Wars (Brodie, 2002b; Mayer, 2008; McDonald & Marston, 2005). The surge in assignment of responsibility to those on welfare operates under a neoliberal rubric of taking responsibility for opportunity, or what is called ―citizen activation.‖ However, if activation is the explicit policy focus, then the question arises of who or what lies in the shadows, or, in other words, what inactivity might be why active (Jenson & Saint-Martin, 2003; Lewis & Giullari, 2005; Skevik, 2005). Kershaw, Pulkingham and Fuller (2008), for example, point out that the gendered nature of care work ensures that the focus on employment as a definition of activation overlooks the lack of engagement of men in domestic work. Further, the logics of neoliberal reforms extend to policies which encourage volunteering and punish lack of volunteer participation on the premise that those who are not economically engaged are not busy (Fuller, Pulkingham, & Kershaw, 2008). Given the nature of responsibilities that fall to women, such expectations are, Breitkreuz (2005) argues, altering the kind of support women can expect from the state and therefore gendering the nature of citizenship. Others go further in arguing that such policies are engendering social exclusion, particularly when policies take the approach of ―social investment‖ which focusses on the future utility of social expenditures (Good-Gingrich, 2008; Jenson & Saint-Martin, 2003). At debate is Chapter 1 – Social Planning    4 a conceptualization of the citizen as a neutral, decontextualized being without responsibilities versus a situated, contextualized understanding of inequality within a political economy. By focussing on traditional areas such as transportation or land use planning, or what is called ―town planning‖ in the British tradition, planning theory and practice have neglected policy developments at upper levels of government, especially in areas of social infrastructure like welfare reform, education, social supports and health that are affecting the local urban context (Goldsmith & Blakely, 2010; Webb, 2008). A new and perhaps more coherent framing of how land use planning practice can respond to the shifting political landscape and contribute proactively to shaping the social infrastructure of the city, much as Mannheim called for in the early part of the twentieth century (1940). 1.1 Social Planning Responses to Neoliberal Welfare Reform Reflecting on the way mainstream planning theories have been taken up in the Global South, Watson (2009) argues that planners have failed to take account of the proliferation of the urban poor and informal settlements, and therefore failed to keep up with the global reconfiguration of cities as they change from planned (formal) to unplanned (informal), as well as with the economy as it becomes predominantly informal. Miraftab and Wills (2005) use the framework of insurgent planning to look at responses to neoliberal restructuring in the informal settlements of South Africa, suggesting that active citizenship needs to be reconceptualised to fit an empowered notion of the citizen. A similar argument about the lack of attention to the changing face of the impoverished in the field of planning could be made in countries of the Global North (Goldsmith & Blakely, 2010). Nussbaum‘s perspective on gender equity and the capabilities framework (Fainstein, 2010; Nussbaum, 2006), or Chant‘s (2007) questioning of the Chapter 1 – Social Planning    5 specific dynamics of the feminization of poverty across various population differences internationally could also enrich the development of planning theorizing in the Global North. The theoretical challenges to planning may be organized as the need for (a) substantive knowledge for planning, (b) theory about the nature of planning, and (c) theory of planning practice (Friedmann, 2003). In looking at social planning responses to the poverty of lone parents, the challenges translate to a lack of accessible and relevant subject-based knowledge about neoliberal reform and its effect on lone-parent families. In addition, in spite of a very few models which are available (Friedmann, 1992), there is a need for theorizing frames of planning paradigms which could be relevant to social planning. Finally, there is a need for a coherent theory of planning practices in social planning. Between theorizing from macro-economic data to planning for specific communities and neighbourhoods, better theory and information would enable more tailored and effective responses. A response to the first challenge must acknowledge that Canada is among countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with the highest growth in income disparity (OECD, 2008). In addition, the specific context of BC has unique challenges as a multicultural and geographically diverse region with a growing urban Aboriginal population. Census-level data indicates that income disparity is increasing for lone mothers; that they have disproportionately low incomes and that dependency on state grants is growing (BC Stats, 2006). These broad indicators need to be understood further, though, because, as Chant (2007) argues, income measures may obscure other dynamics, including ways that at least some sectors of women are thriving. Challenging the view of impoverished lone parents also opens the way to acknowledging the vital contribution that low-income female parents make to civic life. Chapter 1 – Social Planning    6 The second challenge to social planning in BC arises from the lack of a coherent theory or concept of social planning. BC has a robust practice of social planning, which is embedded in local governments, in addition to charitable agencies and provincially funded ‗third sector‘ services. However, a lack of coherent theorization about these practices in planning means that frameworks used in other planning applications, like collaborative or communicative planning, must be adapted to the challenges of theoretically understanding how to address lone mothers‘ needs or incorporating the benefits of having this family form in communities. As a result, part of the theoretical challenge is to establish an inquiry that can suggest ways of conceptualizing a robust local government practice of social planning. Such a schema must have ways of thinking about successful interactions with other stakeholders in as yet undocumented social planning arenas. The third challenge that this dissertation may address is the ways the scope, scale and style of social planning responses to lone mothers‘ poverty are imagined. A range of planning traditions are available, which address change and the making of the future, from insurgent practices, to social learning and scientific management (Friedmann, 1987). This dissertation will explore the use of place-based knowledge to move beyond reaction to poverty toward practices that address the structure-agency dilemmas inherent in state-supported family life. Developing a meta-narrative, or story, about how lone mothers are present as a subject or object of planning could support a dialogue between the disparate fields of critical feminist research and planning research. Supporting a better dialogue might help generate a set of tools that could integrate social planning practice with other planning practices to meet the needs of lone parent families. The three challenges collectively shift the focus away from substantive issues to the intention and suitability of employing certain tools and processes, whether social and income Chapter 1 – Social Planning    7 supports, as is the practice now, or something new. Questioning the current paradigm of delivery requires a broad vision of justice, and the intent to lay the foundations for a new, truly post- modern vision of a society. What Sandercock (2003) sometimes styles the ―mongrel city,‖ is a city that is deliberatively co-created with processes inside and outside traditional institutional frameworks; Sandercock looks to the re-laying of narrative as a foundational work in this epistemic project, but the outcome is a society understood to rest on a bed of constantly co- created and shifting dialogues. An inquiry into lone motherhood based on this approach would first of all ask what narrative is at work, what we mean when we look to the construction of lone motherhood, and the material positioning of lone mothers as a disadvantaged group. Sandercock and Attili‘s (2010) recent work investigates the ways in which colonialism has created two side- by-side communities, a context which occurs throughout BC and Canada‘ north. What, she asks, would a healing narrative be that would change this story and begin to bring about change? We could similarly ask what narrative would invite lone parent families into communities as equal and honoured partners. 1.2 Gender Sensitive Approaches in Social Planning Addressing the invisibility of lone parents in urban settings requires the development or adoption of a framework that can not only address the object, or subject, of the emergence of lone-parent families, but that can also serve as a practice framework in an inter- and intra- institutionalized setting. The widespread practice of social planning in Canada is fragmented into specific subjects of practice at the urban level, such as affordable housing, revitalization of public spaces, youth engagement, services for seniors, and recreation. Gender approaches in social planning are neither comprehensively nor deeply theorized at the level of social planning in Canada, although the ethical guidelines of the Canadian Institutes of Planning do direct Chapter 1 – Social Planning    8 planners to attend to inequity. Several foci on gender or diversity in planning offer possibilities for framing a normative view, although they have different epistemological implications. The first approach is built on a tradition, though somewhat thin and discontinuous, of gender-based approaches in planning. The gender-mainstreaming policy adopted by the European Union and taken up by Great Britain might be seen as one potentially applicable approach (Jenson, 2008; Lewis, 1997). Gender mainstreaming invites consideration of how to measure outcomes as well as how to move from theory to practice. As Greed, Davies, Brown, and Dühr (2002) note: Gender mainstreaming goes beyond just 'equality' as defined as 'treating everyone the same', or traditional 'women and planning' initiatives, because it takes into account the different ways of life and daily travel patterns of women as against men – and the consequently different land use and development requirements that the planner must address. Gender mainstreaming has implications for men as well as women. (p. 5) Greed (2002) notes, however, that gender mainstreaming in planning practice and foci have not successfully evidenced a noticeable change in gender-related issues. Perrons (2005) critically investigates neoliberal reforms in Europe and notes that, although gender mainstreaming has been adopted, the scalar interaction of local planning contexts and global economics means that gender inequities are deepened, rather than ameliorated, by reforms. As a result, she suggests that gender mainstreaming needs to be broaden its focus from only outcomes to an examination of the processes that produce inequality. Using Friedmann‘s distinctions between planning theory which is about a subject, and planning theory of processes, gender mainstreaming is clearly ―about‖ women as subjects/objects of planning, as well as about women as planners and about structuring the content of planning (Greed, 2005). Gender mainstreaming does have a strong Chapter 1 – Social Planning    9 focus on formal, institutional accountability, though, it demands data gathering to measure progress. In addition, gender mainstreaming offers a model of practice, though Greed notes that if gender mainstreaming means meeting pro forma requirements, it can become a set of tick- boxes because of the complicated nature of processes between multiple players and stakeholders. The approach to gender equity in international development work is complex and varied, differing between major institutions like the World Bank and UNICEF, as well as in models ranging from ecological approaches, which see women as an integral part of economic development or health development, to normative principles grounded in rights or standards. There is often an ethical precept to approach gender and development with participatory, community-engaging methods, which is based on values and a history of practice-based discovery (Moser, 2003). The goals in these approaches are to engage citizens in making their own solutions, with the theory being that this creates more appropriate and therefore more effective and sustained solutions (Moser, 1993). These principles and approaches are not evident in gender mainstreaming in the ―town and country‖ tradition, perhaps partly because there is more latitude in the focus in international development, but there is no reason why they could not be. Another approach, not exclusive to studies of gender but perhaps applicable to such issues, is exemplified by Sandercock in her 1998 book Making the Invisible Visible. Sandercock ―shines the light‖ on stories that constitute tales of planning from communities which are often marginalized by mainstream planning, such as queer, Latino/a, and African American communities and women in planning. Through retelling unheard stories of the experiences of these communities, planning is reframed and its definitions broadened to include ways and outlooks which vary between cultures and subcultures. Isin and Ustundag (2008), for example, Chapter 1 – Social Planning    10 detail the way in which the traditional practice of giving by women in Istanbul constructs or co- constructs a formal social structure. Similarly, Fiske (1991) describes, through the stories of Aboriginal Elders, how traditional matriarchal processes of community development that occurred through kinship development were slowly undermined and then actively blocked by colonial policies and practices, demonstrating the central role women had. Hill Collins (1994), who described other-mothering in the African American community, led the way in reframing the work of mothering, linking it to community development and resistance against racialization. These struggles are not necessarily about resolution. Staehaeli (2008) suggests that: Community is a ‗problem‘ not because it is inherently ‗bad,‘ but rather, because it is a site where contests are waged over citizenship and the terms of membership in society. Community is . . . the object of struggle in which different moral geographies are imagined. (p. 5) Surfacing ―hidden‖ planning narratives not only reveals other ways that planning is occurring in communities, it also indicates who is marginalized by the institutions of power that official planning practices represent within society. Developing narratives may provide a powerful foundation for changing the approach to lone parents but unlike gender mainstreaming, even a foundational narrative does not have an institutional accountability framework, making it more difficult to use as a formal response to neoliberal welfare restructuring. Fainstein (2000) argues that orientation to a clear outcome is necessary for hold planners accountable. However, focussing on hidden narratives offers the strength of focussing on how citizens create their own vision, and, in doing so, provides a blueprint for processes that incorporate citizens as partners, not merely as subjects/objects (Forester, 1999). Incorporating hidden narratives may be particularly applicable to Chapter 1 – Social Planning    11 reconceptualising the role of lone mothers and the changing family, where a large body of work on welfare reform has not been brought into planning theory. Nevertheless, Fainstein (2000; 2005b) urges planners to utilize structural analysis so as to be able to distinguish a ―pluralistic, cooperative, and decentralized form of welfare provision (from) the state-centered model of the bureaucratic welfare state‖ (Fainstein, 2000, p. 473). In other words, she proposes a conscious target that is justice oriented, and suggests that planners have a role in envisioning and setting that target.  Both approaches have merit, but the tensions between the two may offer ways to begin to tease out a new vision and practice for incorporating this diverse family form. Between communicative planning, which focusses on the development of dialogue as a means to justice, and the intensive call to responsibility present in Fainstein‘s work, is a debate about belonging and citizenship. Critical feminist commentary on lone motherhood has focussed on the citizenship implications of the new so-called active citizen model (Kortewig, 2006; Skevik, 2005). Jenson and Saint Martin (2003) note that without an equity lens, the European deployment of the social investment model risks doubling the burden on women as they continue to struggle with traditional domestic responsibilities in addition to increased pressure to work. Dual responsibility is a concern in international reviews of global economic restructuring as well (Elson, 2005). However, critical feminist perspectives, while informative about the subject and lending considerable complexity to an understanding of the institutional frameworks that shape impoverished women‘s experiences, are unfortunately unconnected to planning practice, especially urban planning, except in international arenas. As Watson (2009) argues, this separation is problematic and speaks to the need for substantive knowledge to inform the practice. Chapter 1 – Social Planning    12 Within the developed-nation context, the question is not only a practical one demanding substantive theory about how to work with a changing citizenry, as outlined in the section on the status of lone parents, but also a problem that demands conceptualization of social planning responses, including their nexus with land use and other forms of city planning. International policy and practice incorporates women‘s lived experience as data while utilizing a deep analysis of the socio-structural effects of women‘s position in society (Moser, 1993). The challenge in the advanced economy nations may be a lack of information about the status of women‘s urban experiences, as Greed (2006) argues, making it difficult to apply a gender lens. However, if planners are to work towards equity and justice, Fainstein (2005a) points out, they not only need the information, they also need to understand how to apply information that is available to them from a variety of disciplines. Feminist critical perspectives, which are present in Fainstein‘s references, are premised on incorporating diverse women‘s perspectives and gender-sensitive approaches. However, Sandercock, (1998), argues that they require a deeper process of democracy to help lift the invisible experiences of women and other intersecting marginalities out of invisibility. All three approaches, gender mainstreaming, international, and insurgent may be necessary to build a new gender-sensitive practice of social planning in the urban context. 1.3 Critical Feminist Approaches to Social Planning Research Each of the theoretical and substantive approaches to gender-sensitive planning would have its own compatibilities with a critical feminist perspective. As an example of a critical feminist inquiry into a social planning issue, Naples‘ (1998) ethnographic retrospective study of African American women who were employed under the American War on Poverty 3  program  3  The U.S. ―War on Poverty‖, initiated with the Economic Opportunity Act (1964) under the Johnson administration, utilized principles of empowerment to help develop human capital in Chapter 1 – Social Planning    13 provides an example of a critical feminist perspective on a social planning policy. A variety of acts and programs were targeted at assisting impoverished inner-city women, who were often lone mothers and who occupied positions of socialized marginalization because of racialization or other systemic disadvantages (ibid). Naples looked at whether the support of leadership made a positive impact on these women or their communities or families, not by developing a deductive leadership framework, but by looking to the women as authoritative sources of information about the subject of inquiry. Naples (2003), drawing on the work of D. Smith (1987) and Hartsock (1983) among others, deliberately and specifically focusses on everyday experience, to inductively develop new categories of inquiry and new research questions. A long perspective illuminates the tensions between the War on Poverty policy, which was designed to address individual and community empowerment through specific local programming, the way the policy shifted over time, and the community and women‘s perspectives on their intentions and goals. In Naples‘ study, the approach and assumptions about authorship are consistent with the goals of a method of inquiry in which storying contextualizes meaning and reveals the tensions between social issues, policy goals, and the socially mediated experience of citizenry (Forester, 1989; Throgmorton, 2003). In Naples‘ study, relevant to the questions posed here, the way the program worked and impacted recipients is revealed by focussing on the experiential interface. Though the focus on experience may mitigate gathering information about organizational structures, and focussing on the actors, such as provincial representatives, and neighbourhood  impoverished cities, targeting racial minorities, principally African Americans, in an attempt to address structural and systemic poverty at a time of social unrest (Fox Piven, 2002; Mayer, 2008; Naples, 1998; Pearce, 1990). Although many modifications were made over two decades, the era of the program is considered to have ended with the introduction of the neoliberal reform of the welfare act, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996. Chapter 1 – Social Planning    14 settings, this provides a way to compare the interactive effects of a range of stakeholders. As with Naples study, a small scale qualitative study has the potential to reveal how lone parents interact in their urban environment beyond the institutional frames of the policy delivery system. The assumption behind investigations into everyday experience is that agency matters for understanding how change occurs and the impact that welfare restructuring is having on the lone- parent family form (Elliott, 2002). A second assumption is that women are authors of their own lives and, as free citizens, have the right and the wherewithal to disagree with state directives. While this seems obvious from a research point of view, Williams, Popay and Oakley (1999) point out that much welfare research focusses on how individuals cope with poverty, how they survive, what conditions surround their existence, and how they exit welfare or transition to paid work. Williams, Popay and Oakley (1999) suggest that a critical inquiry must also include perspectives on how women resist, fail to comply, or use frames of reference which are broader than just welfare policy. Examining the frame of welfare or even poverty is particularly important for Aboriginal women and women of colour, for whom welfare, poverty and historical disadvantage form an interwoven arena of disadvantage. If agency is important for the substantive understanding of impacts, then the close study of the minutia of everyday experience helps to overturn categories that have been developed out of perspectives, like the coping perspective, which carry assumptions that confirm those categories (D. Smith, 1974, 1987). My goal is to understand how women‘s resistance and action act as counterbalances to state restraints, as well as to use an understanding of agency to move beyond the traditional concepts that local governments use to work with the impoverished. This should help to reconceptualise ways that social planning may respond to a gendered understanding of human habitation, as suggested by Fainstein and Servon (2005). Chapter 1 – Social Planning    15 1.4 Research Problem Statement and Questions Focusing on agency positions the focus of this inquiry on the way women‘s responsibilities as parents and their rights as individuals are conceptualized within neoliberal formats of income assistance policies. The research questions prioritize women‘s resistance to and subversion of neoliberal welfare policies in order to understand how agency can affect the structure-agency dynamic and inform better local social planning. 1.4.1 Research Questions How does the current restructuring of state welfare systems, as evidenced in changes in income assistance policies, mould, constrain and direct the future life possibilities for lone mothers and their children? a) How do the context of place and the constraints of material conditions interact with income assistance policies to affect lone mothers‘ agency and resistance to create a future they want for themselves and their children? b) How do lone mothers interrogate, resist and subvert the gaps and limitations of income assistance policies affecting their lives and the lives of their children? c) What are the implications for social planning and policy reform of understanding lone mothers‘ resistance and agency in efforts of creating a future they want for themselves and their children? 1.5 Structure of the Dissertation: Looking Forward The structure of the dissertation follows the format for developing an inductive argument. Deductively developed research designs often begin with a theoretical question or framework which is then tested (Creswell, 2003, p. 119). However, in much qualitative research, or what Polkinghorne (2007) calls ―reform‖ approaches, the use of theory is more varied. Creswell Chapter 1 – Social Planning    16 (2003) notes that in some methodologies, a discussion of relevant theories may be presented first, forming a theoretical lens which grounds and guides the inquiry. In this dissertation, I have employed two qualitative methods, which both work inductively, as a mixed qualitative methodology. Using these narrative and grounded theory methodologies to investigate the structure-agency relationship outlined in the research questions means that the analysis itself takes an inductive approach. In order to set the context for this exploration, the dissertation starts in a traditional manner with a review of extant literature, but then the structure follows the lead of the analysis, building through the analysis to answer the questions. Part 1 of the dissertation includes a review of contemporary literature that is relevant to the research questions. After laying out social planning dilemmas in chapter 1, the neoliberal third way and social investment approaches to poverty alleviation are explored in the first half of chapter 2. Each of these frames describes a different approach to the problem of poverty. In the second half of chapter 2 I explore lessons learned from studying women on welfare, including sex trade workers who have also been affected by neoliberal reforms. The concepts from chapter 2 are then applied, in chapter 3, to a review of the case of BC welfare reform. Chapter 4 outlines a critical approach to the topic of welfare reform and lone mothers‘ resistance. In this chapter, the concepts of resistance, agency and survivance are explored. Survivance is a broader concept than resistance, referring to cultural movements. 4  It is used here to help expand the focus of resistance by critically examining the potential object of resistance. The last chapter of part 1 reviews the methodology used to answer the research questions,  4  Survivance is also used as an organizing concept in Indigenous post-colonial discourse (Stromberg, 2006; Vizenor & Lee, 1999; Wolfe, 2008), and it has also been picked up by Hill Collins, the scholar of African-American mothering. In this latter application, survivance describes Hill Collins‘ (1994) theoretical development of alternate conceptions of mothering in the face of culturally based discrimination. Chapter 1 – Social Planning    17 starting with the data. The data were derived from a longitudinal qualitative study of the impacts of welfare reform on 17 lone mothers living in East Vancouver. Thus the outline of the design is a review of both the project and the treatment of it through what is framed as secondary analysis. The chapter describes my involvement with the project, the approach taken by the team, and then the analytical method and research questions used by me to analyze the data. Part 2 of the dissertation discusses the findings and includes the conclusion. There is a brief introduction to part 2 which presents an ―executive summary‖ of the main conclusion. Chapter 6 utilizes the cross-sectional strength of grounded theory methodology and introduces the women‘s struggles in the context of material constraint. Chapter 7 focusses on how dreaming of a future gives meaning to the participants‘ survival activities. In chapter 8, I focus on the ways public and private domains are being rewritten by the struggles of lone mothers, even while neoliberal restructuring simultaneously attempts to shape society. I then conclude with implications for understanding the way welfare reform implements a gendered restructuring of urban life. The final commentary, in chapter 9, is a reflection on the implications of understanding women‘s resistance for the theoretical frames of, about and for social planning, following the framework Friedmann (2003) laid out for theorizing planning. I look at the relevance of the findings for better understanding potential interventions in the context of BC welfare reform. I conclude by discussing the implications for understanding women‘s resistance and place making, suggesting that understanding the two in combination may be highly productive for articulating more localized responses to the problem of the poverty of lone mothers and neoliberal welfare reform. Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    18 CHAPTER 2 – THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES ON NEOLIBERAL WELFARE REFORM AND LONE MOTHERS In this chapter I will review some of the gender critiques of welfare reform, concepts of poverty, and problems identified by studying lone mothers in receipt of government assistance. Welfare reform occupies a very particular moment in Western democracies; women‘s positions in society are changing, as is the family form. However, there are several models or trends in welfare reform models, which each frame the challenge of poverty differently and potentially impact women differently. This review provides frames with which to understand the kind of welfare reform approach that was taken in BC, and some of the experiences lone mothers have had elsewhere with reform. Consistent with critical feminist approaches, the material presented here is deliberately approached as a contested topic, unstable and subject to power dynamics inherent in research activity (Campbell & Gregor, 2004; Clarke, 2005; Payne & Payne, 2004). Three modes of welfare reform which have been implemented in Western democracies, so-called Third Way, neo-liberal, and social investment models, are reviewed to establish a basis for contextualizing the BC reforms. These approaches to poverty alleviation are then contrasted with the capabilities model used at the international level, which I argue also offers a possible additional avenue for welfare reform in developed nation democracies. This review introduces the importance of defining poverty, as each model defines the problem of poverty differently. Each model also differently addresses what is called ―the responsibility mix‖ between public and private, with implications for gender equity. In particular, Skevik (2005) has noted that lone parents, burdened with the necessity of caring for others, must manage even in the context of systemic marginalization and make an excellent critical indicator for the sufficiency of welfare supports. The challenge is to adequately conceptualize agency, so after reviewing the critiques of Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    19 welfare reform (in this chapter), and how they apply to the BC case (in the next chapter), concepts of agency and resistance will be reviewed in chapter 4. 2.1 Neoliberalism and Third Way as Welfare Reform The current era of welfare reform can be traced to the early 1980s when the governments of England and Germany simultaneously abandoned the structural approaches of left-of-centre parties in what has since been identified as the ―Third Way‖ (Hudson, Hwang, and Kuhner, 2008). The neoliberal movement, emerging out of the Washington consensus on structural debt crisis, has intersected with the Third Way to give a particular shape to welfare reform (Morgen & Maskovsky, 2003). Through these movements, the liberal commitment to equality has been exchanged for individualized equality of opportunity (Armstrong, 2003). Various models of welfare reform may be characterized by their approach to macroeconomic risk, which takes various approaches to economic liberalization as a response to individual economic insecurity (Fox Piven, 2002). The resulting models may be characterized as three orientations to risk that reorganize governments‘ relationships to citizens (Hudson, Hwang, & Kuhner, 2008). The first orientation to risk focusses on the national need to remain globally economically competitive by maintaining a responsive labour pool. Critics argue that trading flexibility against labour security undermines labour costs by attempting to compete with parts of the globe where individuals earn vastly disparate wages in very different conditions (Fox Piven, 2002). The second two orientations to risk affect the activities of government as well as policy objectives. The second response to risk occurs when states abandon the attempt to micro-manage citizenry and shift to monitoring (and demanding) processes of engagement (Hudson, Hwang, & Kuhner, 2008). The third orientation to risk arises from the way Third Way reform focusses on the risk for the global flight of capital by shifting from Keynesian demand side management to a supply Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    20 side management, focussing on training instead of income supports. These last two orientations to risk achieve their ends by reforming government practices (Hudson, Hwang, & Kuhner, 2008). Some of the tools used to accomplish these ends include reducing the cost of production by reforming tax structures, reducing the size of bureaucracy to manage expense, and assisting with preparing the workforce to be responsive to global labour needs. Income security is replaced with a staggered set of incentives which are intended to enable citizens to find their own way into employment. However, the hoped-for results overlook systemic disadvantage because all citizens are assumed to have an equal ability to be engaged in social learning, equal access to the machineries of government and economy, and to reap equal rewards, even though this is not the case (Jenson, 2008). 2.1.1 Comparative Analysis of Welfare Reform Cross national comparisons reveal ways in which the impacts of welfare reforms can vary according to the kind of national orientations to citizen welfare, by orientation to economic risk, and by the tools used to accomplish ends. Esping-Anderson (1990) named three welfare regime types: the continental European countries which preference family supports, the Scandinavian countries which preference labour engagement, and the former Anglo British colonies (USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia) which preference engagement with the private sector instead of social support. However, over time Esping-Anderson‘s typology has come under critique for ignoring important within-nation differences that matter to welfare reform (Fuller, Pulkingham, & Kershaw, 2008). One of the differences between policy regimes concerns the eligibility and rationale for qualifying as a recipient. Fox Piven (2002) points out that few countries have restricted eligibility as stringently or dropped rates as drastically as the USA, whereas in the OECD strong Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    21 rhetoric about social investment rationalizes expenditures to improve labour pool quality. Contrasting Canada with the USA highlights the way eligibility varies by household type. Depending on the state, lone adults in the USA may only be eligible for limited supports like shelter beds or Food Stamp programs (Human Resources Development Canada, 2001; Schram, 1995), whereas in Canada, even under neoliberal reform, citizens are still universally eligible. Information about baseline conditions and specific reforms adds important information to regime typecasting, and shows that countries with similar reforms may achieve outcomes which are quite different because of the interaction of specific starting conditions and policies. Comparisons between support programs for education and work training further illustrate the difference these policy details make. In Australia, an Anglo model country, lone mothers are permitted to collect income assistance without expectations for work until the youngest child in the house reaches the age of 16. Somewhat similarly, mothers in the UK may opt into training programs, and although many do, they are not penalized if they do not (Millar & Gardiner, 2004). New Zealand, similar to Australia, has voluntary participation in work retraining schemes for lone mothers, as does Norway, even though Esping-Anderson places these countries in different regime types (Skevik, 2005). Strell and Duncan (2001) point out that countries seldom achieve supports for parenting and employment engagement simultaneously, so the balance between voluntary and forced employment participation may be more significant for lone parents. Both Clasen (2000) and Skevik (2005) agree that allowing recipients to choose their training engagements constitutes a more important point for differentiating policy approaches than the regime types Esping-Anderson identified. Analyzing welfare reform by looking at the distribution of responsibilities across the state, the economic market, and individual citizens highlights another facet of welfare reform; Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    22 the way responsibilities have been shifted to the private or economic sector (Evers, Pilj, & Ungerson, 1994). Using a rubric which Evers, Pilj and Ungerson initially developed, later called the welfare diamond after Jenson and Saint Martin (2003) added the social service sector, reveals the way welfare reform serves other objectives, such as economic reform, or resolves state or province level politics. (See Figure 1 The Welfare Diamond). In this diagram, the four sectors of the state/government, the market/economy, the third sector, or social services, and the community/kin are depicted as realms of society in productive tension with each other. Neoliberal objectives aim to rebalance the role of government, as seen in Figure 2 Rebalancing the Welfare Diamond, and welfare reform produces a particular alteration the relationships between the sectors, or realms, in specific ways. For example, the 1996 welfare reform in the USA 5  resolved a problem which arose in 1969 when a court order struck the ability of states to tie welfare eligibility to residency (Schram, 1995). State legislators were loath to raise welfare rates out of fear of becoming ―welfare magnets‖ to potential border crossers. The 1996 welfare reform delegated responsibility for welfare policy to the individual states permitting them to pay lower rates to out-of-state residents again. Thus administrative organization was used to end universality for US citizens, also demonstrating the way that shifting responsibility resolves market issues, in this case of labour mobility. Looking at the distribution of responsibility demonstrates the way social citizenship is being reshaped in service of economic objectives even though it changes the boundaries of social inclusion for all citizens.  5  In 1996 the Personal Work Opportunities and Responsibility Act (PWORA) replaced the federal distribution of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with block grants to the states, which then assumed direct policy responsibility (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or TANF). Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    23   As opposed to neoliberal reform, which emphasizes individual responsibility for economic engagement, a shift toward what is called a social investment model has been led by European nations (Lewis, 1997) and by organizations such as the World Bank (Human Resources Development Canada, 2001). Social investment approaches focus on investing in human capital, as a way of lowering barriers for trade. The implication for governance is that direct provision of services is replaced with a focus on preparation for achievement. This shifts the focus to future measurable outcomes, distancing government from responsibility for individual well-being. Focussing on labour readiness, however, implies that some citizens have more potential for return from investment than others (Jenson & Saint-Martin, 2003; Kershaw & Long, 2003). For example, the very young become attractive targets for expenditure because of the lifetime benefits that may accrue from modest investment, though the context of early childhood, such as poverty, may also be ignored (Kershaw & Long, 2003). Similar to the neoliberal model, the social investment model curtails universal benefits, using the potential return for investment in Market / Economy Third Sector Government – The State Community / Kin Figure 1 Welfare Diamond Showing Neoliberal Reform (After Jenson and Saint Martin, 2003) Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    24 human capital as the metric. Social investment programs in the EU have been accompanied by mechanisms that increasingly erase structural differences tied to gender by substituting a focus on accommodating and including diversity (Jenson, 2008). The social investment model is thus another model of welfare reform that threatens gender equity (Lewis, 1997). Among the concerns with the neoliberal shift of the responsibility mix for citizenship well-being toward the private sector of the economy are the attendant consequences for gender equity, for preventing the growth of inequity, and for social inclusion and exclusion (Evers & Laville, 2004; Evers, Pilj, & Ungerson, 1994; Jenson & Saint-Martin, 2003). As universal entitlements are abandoned, a logic of individualism in which people are assumed to be responsible for their own well-being and life paths is normalized (Leitner, Sheppard, Sziarto, & Maringanti, 2007). One of the tensions that emerges from a focus on individuals, is the extent to which difference fractures a sense of social solidarity and collective identity (Brodie, 2002b). Identifying citizenship with market engagement has the potential to demarcate the relationship of the citizen to the state according to economic status, which also occurs along gender lines and intersects with other structural and historical disadvantages. 2.1.2 Critical Perspectives on Citizen Activation Policies Rebalancing responsibilities between state and the market has been shaped through what have been called citizen activation policies (Pulkingham, Fuller, & Kershaw, 2010). Activation has been defined as "a range of policies and measures targeted at people receiving public income support or in danger of becoming permanently excluded from the labour market" (Anders Drøpping, Hvinden, & Vik, 1999, cited in Skevik, 2005, p. 42); it is also known variously as workfare, welfare to work, or the work approach. Worker activation policies have focussed narrowly on increases in employment as measures of success, regardless of quantity Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    25 and quality of work obtained (Wallace, Klein, & Reitsma-Street, 2006). However, cross-national comparisons reveal the relative nature of this measure. A successful increase in female employment was achieved in the European Union (EU) but it occurred in the context of relatively low rates of female workforce participation (Knijn, Martin and Millar, 2007). In Great Britain, objectives were set to increase female employment from 56% to 70% by 2010, a remarkable target in the context of a high employment rate in Britain compared to the other European economies (Knijn, Millar & Ridge, 2006). Making these cross-national comparisons shows how activation policies vary widely, by context, in the nature of employment targets for lone parents, and with little consistency in the construction of employment support policies (Knijn, Martin, & Millar, 2007; Syltevik, 2008). The rhetoric of worker activation can be seen to be fuelled by, and to fuel, a logic of independence focussed on self-support in the market economy. This logic, however, makes invisible the gendered nature of social reproduction and employment. One of the central employment challenges for lone parents is child care, a particularly female burden. Roy, Tubbs and Burton (2004), who did empirical studies in the US of mothers‘ work and care time, note that time spent caring for children severely curtails the amount of free time they have. The burdens not only include direct care, but also organizing care, being available when caregivers are not, balancing child care with workplace timelines, and coordinating care with other, public, timetable requirements such as transit schedules. Not only is time to care a challenge, but from a policy perspective, freedom from economic penalties for those who opt not to work must be framed as the right to time for care work, otherwise the economic necessity of organizing care becomes another part of the burden (Ellingsæter, 2007; Kershaw, 2005b). Skevik (2005) argues that because lone mothers have the primary burden as carers, they are ideal study subjects to Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    26 embody the effects of welfare reform, reflecting gendered tensions in society and conflicts over work and family supports. The tensions between the two burdens, of child care and employment, are demonstrated by the choices women make in Britain, where a voluntary program of work engagement included encouragement supports, including training, tax credits for working families, and child care (Millar & Ridge, 2006). In spite of the incentives, Millar and Ridge found that women balanced the need to care with income needs in ways that preserved their economic assets, including potential tax credits, calculating how they can use state supports to preserve their assets against the potential penalties or benefits offered through work activation policies. Worker activation policies that demand the dedication of time to labour in the market economy colonize caring time by displacing or requiring alterations in the way time is spent. The struggle to distribute time demonstrates the symbiotic nature of public and private time and the way policies about labouring affect private time, while so-called demands of private time affect public activities. Worker activation policies are based on the premise that market engagement is possible, and lack of employment is a choice. However, what Kjeldstad (2000) observed in the Norwegian context is that increased regulations imposed through worker activation policies reduce the flexibility women have traditionally used to manage child care, and home and work burdens. Kjeldstad argues that in the context of economic motivations to increase workforce flexibility, worker activation policies may actually mitigate chances of success, and thereby make lone mothers more vulnerable to economic downturns. Citizen activation policies may thus enforce colonization of private time, which, because of the unequal burden of care borne by women, may create further gender inequities. Following the U.S. welfare reforms of the mid-1990s, Gault, Hartmann, and Yi (1999) predicted that, ―many welfare recipients will have difficulty entering Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    27 the labour market following sanctions or time limits, unless states significantly provide for their child care needs, build their skills, and provide services to address other serious barriers to employment‖ (p. 225). Lewis and Giullari (2005) agree, noting that the difficulties women have in moving into the workforce belie simple assumptions about motivation or choice. The focus on worker activation has been part of a shift in the meaning of welfare from a source of help for those in need to a system of labour market engagement support (Knijn, Martin, & Millar, 2007; Skevik, 2005). This is in spite of the fact that under some conditions welfare-to- work policies may expand the welfare state through an increase of government expenditures on creating work opportunities, as occurred in the USA (Clasen, 2000), or in improving human capital, as occurred in the European Union (EU). At the same time, policies may be increasingly coercive in terms of narrowing options and increasing surveillance (Morgen & Maskovsky, 2003). In addition, the way policies focus on class, or income, as the central ―problem‖ may obscure a focus on structural determinants of gender inequality. Important national differences highlight the way elements of welfare reforms make a difference to the focus and opportunities of recipients‘ experience. It is important, therefore, not to rely on generalizations, but to focus on the dynamics of specific policies and opportunities, and to acknowledge that workplace activation strategies shift the responsibility to care for others from the public to the private. 2.2 Redefining Poverty As has been discussed above, part of the outcome of welfare reform has been what is called a limiting of the commitment to being a resource of last resort and to providing for the basic material needs of citizenry. At its most basic level, social assistance is not about social investment or workforce adjustment, though, it is about poverty alleviation and basic needs. Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    28 Reductions in benefits therefore prompt questions over how little is too little at the individual level, even as restructuring is attempting to accomplish macro-economic aims. On the surface, the facts of poverty seem incontrovertible. Poverty seems like a material object; it has visible and material outcomes, in its most dire forms, such as homelessness, hunger or starvation, ill health and the consequences of trying to cope with poverty, such as becoming a scavenger, a child sex trade worker, or a purchased bride. Early attempts to fix a poverty line beyond which incontrovertible hardship would occur, though, betrayed a careful negotiation between what might be acceptable as competition to labourers‘ wages, in terms of government expenditure, and to the general public (Bowpitt, 2000). As the Chief Statistician in Canada noted, the calculation of a minimum income level requires a social consensus and decisions about whether such standards should apply internationally, or only within a nation (Fellegi, 1997). As a result, in Canada poverty is officially tracked and documented through the use of the Low- Income Cut-Off, or LICO,  ―that identifies those who are substantially worse-off than the average‖ (Statistics Canada, 1999, p. 6). This is set at the lowest quintile of the population (after some adjustments), and calculated both before-tax and after-tax, meaning after the inclusion of government transfers such as pensions, child care benefits, tax rebates, social assistance and so on. This measure therefore reflects comparative disadvantage rather than absolute disadvantage. Relative and absolute poverty lines are not the only ways to assess poverty, though. Bourguignon (2004) notes that over the course of the twentieth century, as the measurement of poverty came to be perfected, the adequacy of what he refers to as the ―income poverty Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    29 paradigm‖ came to be questioned by the social justice community.6 The income paradigm assumes that individual choice plays a central role, which Bourguignon points out is challenged by diverse areas of research. As Lister (2004) suggests, the problem is in the approach: assessing poverty as an amount below an income boundary becomes a technical measurement matter, which risks obscuring the nature of the condition and mitigates conceptualizing it clearly. 2.2.1 The Capabilities Approach to Poverty One of the responses to the problem of poverty assessment has been the capabilities model.  Although it is not called a welfare reform approach, the capabilities model adopted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 1999 does address need, and is itself a reform of previous approaches to poverty in international work. While some of the tools used by the UNDP, like a quality of life index, have been used in the less developed nation, or ―minority world‖ context7, the capabilities approach as a whole has not been adopted or studied as a model of welfare reform in the Global North. The discussion of the human capabilities approach is nuanced and raises interesting questions about what poverty is, what should be attended to and therefore what the focus of policy reform should be. As Sen (1993), credited with co-founding development of the capabilities model, argues: Development can be seen as the process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy. These freedoms are both the primary end and the principal means. (Sen, 1999, p. 3)  6  The World Bank uses absolute thresholds of $2.00 a day which they term ―deep poverty,‖ and $1.00 per day, which they term ―extreme poverty.‖ Frances Bourguignon was chief economist for the World Bank from 2003-2007. 7  The terms ―Global South‖ and ―Global North‖ are used to indicate the contrast between post- industrial economies and others. However, these terms are geographically confusing. I prefer ―minority world‖ and ―majority world‖, which remind the reader that the vast majority of the world‘s population lives outside the wealthy few countries. Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    30 In this section, the capabilities approach to poverty will be reviewed as another possible approach to poverty alleviation There are two basic components to the capabilities approach (Sen, 1993). The first concerns the outcome, or end state, which is defined as well-being rather than alleviation of poverty. Well-being is theoretically to be determined by the individual within the context of their society, although specific measures are used by the UNDP. Some argue that there is or could be a hierarchy of wellbeing which constitutes indisputable basic needs (Seabright, 1993), while others argue that attempting to determine such priorities only repeats the processes of attempting to establish absolute poverty lines (Parfitt, 1993). Others, such as Nussbaum (2006), also integrally involved in the development of the UNDP approach, argue from an explicitly feminist perspective that a capabilities measure is not complete without consideration of a basic set of human rights, including gender rights, as well as access to clean water and other external minimal conditions. The capabilities approach reconceptualises poverty alleviation approaches as ―access to advantage,‖ or the ability for individuals to achieve ends which they identify as important (Korsgaard, 1993). Focusing on ability, or what Sen terms ―capability‖ requires the freedom to achieve, a concept which gives some trouble because it requires an argument about unfreedom, or the inability to make choice, and therefore how much positive intervention or negative (opportunity) states are necessary (Gandjour, 2008). The technical details provide a template for a very different policy approach to poverty alleviation, though. Sen (1993) divides capabilities into two components, ―functionings‖, which are bundles of options out of which a choice will be made, while the freedom to choose is also called ―capabilities.‖ The term ―functionings‖ refers to the sets of options. Cohen (1993) breaks this down further, suggesting that a basic resource or Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    31 asset must be available (there must be clean water, or a stable governmental structure, or resources which can be developed, for example). Further, Cohen (ibid) breaks down freedom to achieve into being 8 , and doing. Neither of these, though, are wholly within the control of the individual, and therefore, Cohen argues, they are not capabilities in the sense that they are properties of the individual, but instead externally accrue from public, environmental or other collective sources. In summary, the capabilities approach is comprised of a relationship between assets or resources, which generate options, which individuals choose amongst in order to achieve well-being in their own terms. The capabilities model provides a strong contrast to the income poverty paradigm, bypassing some of the ―black box9‖ thinking about human agency inherent to welfare reform models. The capabilities model also shifts the focus of poverty alleviation from income to the capacity resident in the individual, and implies that inequality is an inequality of ability, including both being in a position of inequality as well as of the ability to make a choice (Korsgaard, 1993). The issue of how one moves from resource to outcome is critical to understanding the role context plays, and conversely, the role that agency plays. To take one example, in looking at infant mortality, the outcome that is counted is the survival of the child, not the care it received, per se. This is consistent with an income measure which looks at achieved income as the relevant outcome. However, in the case of infant mortality rates, the social determinants of health are widely acknowledged to play a role in determining outcome. What the capabilities model focusses on are the intermediate processes, such as nutrition,  8  Being might be an instance of a negative state, such as freedom from malaria, which indicates good health, or it might be a positive state, such as the state of belonging (Cohen, 1993). 9  In psychology, those models that study motivation by focussing on the inputs and outputs but ignoring cognition or psychological processes are said to treat thinking as a ―black box.‖ Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    32 economic access, and infant care. While Cohen (1993) would separate these into resources and choices, Sen (1993) argues choices are dependent on the available set, so the outcome, or the result of the choice, can indicate the set. As Lister (1997) points out, though, discussing choice introduces interaction, which leads to consideration of independence, dependence and interdependence. This is a critical issue for gender equity. While the capabilities approach to poverty is sensitive to context, Nussbaum (1995) argues that in order to achieve gender equity the capabilities approach still needs to be supplemented by a basic needs list. Rights, Nussbaum argues (2006) should be combined with an understanding of achievement as expressed through the capabilities measure. Sen (2006) counters that doing so minimizes the focus on agency which the capabilities approach introduces, and argues that moving towards universalizing measures mitigates the struggle to add ―voice‖ to the understanding of what constitutes inequality and poverty. Fukada-Parr (2003) similarly argues that the Human Development Index (HDI) is an instrument capable of capturing inequality, including gender inequality, and points out that since its inception it has moved closer toward focussing on the conditions which lead to and support empowerment, from having contaminant-free water and a healthy environment, to women‘s empowerment and freedom from terror. In spite of both the pragmatic proof Fukada-Parr points to, and Sen‘s focus on retaining agency, the question that Cohen raised, over what happens after a resource has been provided and prior to making a choice, still needs to be addressed. As in the case of the infant who achieves well-being due to processes of care, there is a context of interaction, as Lister (2002) pointed to, that matters for the outcome, and which may matter in particular to women. Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    33 2.3 Neoliberal Reforms of Third Sector Supports The capabilities model highlights the importance of resources for individual agency. However, in addition to shifting individual benefits and eligibility, what is known as the third sector has been the target of neoliberal reforms. While in North America the third sector is equated with a particular type of organization, in Europe the third sector, or system, includes organizations that may generate a profit which is reinvested for a social objective, such as co- operatives or mutual aid societies (Laville et al., 1999). The third sector, in North America may be focussed on government transfer programs, such as seniors‘ benefits, child care, public health programs, employment supports, education, and social assistance. However, focussing on the sector by its output activities, rather than the source of funding enables interpretation of the vigour of civic society as well as the links between civic society and economic functioning (Laville, op cit). The third sector, or ―system,‖ was originally overlooked as a significant or independent sector, as the early form of the welfare diamond, discussed above, attests (Evers & Laville, 2004). However, even though organizations in the third sector are sometimes treated analytically as extensions of government, Small (2006) suggests that informal community organizations, especially neighbourhood organizations like churches and child care centres, may act as brokers, facilitating access to government services and funding for marginalized community residents. Formal agencies may also facilitate access to other sectors, operate as social support networks, as well as providing services to citizens, making them important buffers for those in need, as well as important players in welfare reform (Evers & Laville, 2004). Dolfsma and Dannreuther (2003) confirm that the third sector operates as the nexus between formal and informal organizations, the monetary economy and the non-monetary economy, the state and the individual in family, Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    34 and the formal non-profit and the market system. Small (2006) argues that the power of these organizations to exert pressure on government or to independently influence civil society should not be underestimated. Third Way restructuring of public sector contracts for social supports has included shifts to private-public partnerships, ensuring global competitiveness by lowering costs and reducing government size (Aimers, 2011; C. Fuller, 1999). Identifying these funding shifts, reveals the blurring of boundaries of function between market and state (Elson, 2002), and the transfer of what is called the ―mix‖ of responsibilities from the public to the private sector. For example, the reduction of third sector funding anticipates a transition of support function from the financial economy to the non-monetary economy, as well as an increased economic reward accruing from non-monetary supports (Elson, 2002). Anticipating economic return from the non-monetary economy utilizes a Bourdieusian (1980) concept of social capital in which nonmonetary assets are converted to financially measured assets. However, Portes (1998) cautions against blurring or compacting distinct functions of social capital by assuming that networks have a directional and quantitative benefit. In addition, Bourdieu‘s concept of social capital does not necessarily incorporate adequate attention to gendered divisions of labour or other causes of marginalization, and risks building on a nostalgic view of a past that may only have existed for some middle class women (Bezanson, 2006; Fowler, 2003). The way the publicly funded third sector has been subject to changing expectations and demands is similar to welfare reform, and prompts several questions related to the focus of this dissertation. Following the capabilities model, the context of support is theorized to be critical to the functionings, or choices, available to achieve well-being. However, neoliberal welfare reform is changing the responsibility mix by both reducing supports to recipients as well as funding to Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    35 the third sector. Brodie (2002b) suggests that the erosion of services is thus not only an issue of need; it is also an issue of inclusion and equity. The shifting nature of supports raises questions about the interaction between individuals and contexts, including whether or how the demand from individuals is affecting third sector agencies, and whether expectations of return from social capital are being realized. Overall, as well, a question prompted by this review is whether or how women are being affected differently than men. The discussion of third sector supports concludes the discussion of models of reform. In the last half of the chapter studies of the experiences of women with neoliberal reform are reviewed. 2.4 Studying the Impacts of Welfare Reform on Women Welfare reforms have largely ignored gender, focussing instead on class as the primary driver of social difference (Lewis, 1997). The focus on class, or income, has resulted in a narrowing of spaces for discussion for gendered work (Gartside, 2007; Morgen & Maskovsky, 2003; Neysmith & Reitsma-Street, 2005). Critical reviews that do examine gender effects focus on the implications for social citizenship (Armstrong, 2003; Skevik, 2005), on social inclusion and exclusion (Dobrowolsky & Lister, 2005; Good-Gingrich, 2008; Jenson, 2008), on the potential for retrenchment of racialized dichotomies of opportunity (Yuval-Davis, Anthias, & Kofman, 2005), on classist assumptions about marriage and employment options (Edin & Kefalas, 2005), and on the dichotomization and resubjectification of women as either consumers or workers rather than as both (Patterson, 2008; Weight, 2006). Patterson and Briar (2005) suggest that although neoliberalism has a superficial parallel to a politics of recognition where the contribution of diverse groups is recognized, the focus on opportunity can also decentre gender as a structural determinant of inequality. Fraser (2000) argues that in the late twentieth Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    36 century the politics of recognizing difference, which was meant to include diverse groups and create opportunities for equitable wealth distribution, has evolved into politics of separation based on identity and chauvinism, which obscures inequality. Jenson argues that marketizing responsibility for meeting needs delegitimizes the relevance of gender equity as an appropriate focus. As reviewed above, the emphasis on equality of opportunity in contemporary welfare reform ignores the gendered division of labour, including unpaid labour in the home, where women still conduct the majority of child care and domestic labour (Breitkreuz, 2005). The rise in concern about investment in children, for example, ignores the need for adults, particularly lone parents, to be involved in both work and care (Kershaw & Long, 2003). In public rhetoric, the frame around gender inequity shifts from labour participation rates to work-family balance, which is recast as a family issue, not a gender issue (Jenson, 2008). Part of the challenge is that there has been an ideological shift from the male breadwinner model to a degendered adult worker which may have reconstructed the way the lone-parent family is perceived (Hudson, Hwang, & Kuhner, 2008; Lewis & Giullari, 2005). In the UK, France, and the Netherlands, concepts about lone parents shifted from the idea that they represented an exception to the husband-wife norm which needed to be supported, such as widows, to a new view which frames lone parenthood as a chosen alternative to the husband- wife norm (Knijn, Martin, & Millar, 2007). This perspective is so strong that young women who believe in gender equity blame and resent lone mothers on welfare because, in their view, dependency on welfare is an individual choice or fault, rather than a reflection of systemic disadvantage (Knijn, Martin, & Millar, 2007). The shift in conceptualization has justified removing supports that had previously been available because of perceived disadvantage. Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    37 Everingham, Stevenson, and Warner-Smith (2007) suggest that in the past, a ‗progress‘ narrative existed that rationalized interventions because lone parenthood was seen as a state of inequality that could, with time and advocacy, lead to a future where gender parity would be present. In the next three sections of this chapter, approaches to studying the effects of welfare reform on women will be explored; first in the area of social reproduction, second on the experiences of reform, and third in the intersection of poverty and sex trade work in which impoverished and marginalized women are particularly vulnerable. 2.4.1 Citizens Who Care: Resubjectification through Social Reproduction The family is still the most significant purveyor of human welfare, and so the balance of paid work, unpaid work and welfare is a critical indicator of the evolution of welfare reform (Eivind Kolberg, 1991; Lewis, 1997; Taylor-Gooby, Larsen, & Kananen, 2004). Two avenues of investigation, time-work and caring studies, are particularly informative for the way the gendered nature of work within the private (family) sector is affected by neoliberal restructuring, particularly of the third sector. Time-work studies, such as those Luxton (1980) conducted of domestic work, highlight the public-private divide and the quantity, complexity and breadth of work conducted in the private setting. Yantzi and Rosenberg (2008) note that the home becomes a contested ground as women move inside to perform complex caring duties, reconfiguring the meaning of home and displacing the ideal of individual leisure coincident  with a romantic view of home. Elson (2005) argues that ignoring the value of domestic work may be significant enough to threaten achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) set by the United Nations. In addition to the burden of social reproduction duties, one of the central issues for examining the impacts of shifting the market-state mix, is how social reproduction duties cross Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    38 the public-private divide. In this case, it should be noted that private does not necessarily indicate the market as opposed to the state, as it does in discussions of state responsibility and the welfare diamond (Evers, Pilj, & Ungerson, 1994; Jenson & Saint-Martin, 2003). In discussing social reproduction, private means those aspects of life that are conducted within the so-called domestic and personal realm, as opposed to those conducted at the social level, whether they be community service, economic, or state oriented or inspired (Breitkreuz, 2005; Luxton, 1997; Neysmith & Reitsma-Street, 2005). The shift to a social investment model re-entrenches women‘s noneconomic work as a private matter by decontextualizing social reproductive work, which is needed to serve state goals of investment in the future of children and, at the same time, disregarding care work as relevant to state citizen activation targets (Elson, 2005; Jenson, 2008). Gender equity is reframed as labour participation targets and work-family balance, with work- family balance being recast as a family issue, not a gender issue (Jenson, 2008). 2.4.2 Empirical Themes in Studies of Lone Mothers As Kershaw (2005a) points out, the penalty of stepping out of the labour force is senior years of poverty. Women who take time out to raise children, whether married or single, forfeit the accumulation of pension contributions as well as current-day income and career progression. For working class women, as Edin and Kefalus (2005) point out in the U.S., there is also no ‗future‘ in work; inner city poverty and globalization present opportunities for serial minimum wage jobs, not career advancement. Employment also presents real dilemmas, though: Unemployment may be a single mother‘s response to the tension between the growing pressure for economic self-sufficiency that is part of the current policy shifts due to welfare reform and the primary mission in her life – to be a good mother. (Lein, Benjamin, McManus, & Roy, 2006, p. 23) Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    39 While much welfare literature is focussed on the success or lack thereof of transitions to work, critical studies deconstruct assumptions about linear transitions which are unidirectional and lead progressively to increasing benefits (Fuller, Pulkingham, & Kershaw, 2008; Millar & Ridge, 2006; Patterson, 2008). In the pre-reform era in the US, half of lone mothers surveyed by Gault, Hartmann and Yi (1999) worked 300 hours in a two-year period, with 26.6% looking for work, while 6.6% were classified as disabled. 10  More importantly, though, Gault and her colleagues found patterns which they called ―cycling‖ in and out of work, ―combining‖ work and welfare, ―limited hours,‖ referring to a choice to work a limited amount of time, and ―job seeking,‖ in which 23% were engaged in job searches without finding a job (Gault, p. 214). Bok (2004) casts doubt on the purported ease of transitions, noting reforms tend to decrease quality training opportunities, especially training that provides certifications which enable individuals to move up the job ladder. Fuller, Pulkingham and Kershaw (op cit) who also looked more closely at the logics of voluntarism, noted that the BC reforms included expectations of mandatory community work as part of a demonstration of ―active‖ citizenship, which impacted job search capacity and the ability to execute family responsibilities. Studies of the passage from unemployment to employment indicate that the transition is neither linear nor final (Edin & Kefalas, 2005; Fuller, Pulkingham, & Kershaw, 2008). Weigt (2008) looked at the interaction of U.S. policies which promote marriage as an option and notes that the choices are complex and the outcomes uncertain. Some women refuse such options on the grounds they cannot manage another potential drain on their resources (Edin & Kefalas, 2005), or they are afraid to risk violence, and therefore choose safety over the risk of marriage  10  This 1991 study surveyed 1,181 lone mothers who collected welfare at least 2 months in the 24 month study period. Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    40 (Weigt, 2008). Millar and Ridge (2009) note that women in the U.K. who choose not to marry or partner because of the risk of losing their assets, engage their children as support while they inch towards financial independence. Patterson (2008), in New Zealand, found that women make complex calculations as to how far they can extend the various benefits packages before falling or jumping onto the next layer of income supports such as tax credits. In New Zealand, as elsewhere, each income support platform is configured differently, so benefits, resources, taxes and potential risks occur in new patterns. Patterson speculates that some level of resource cushion is necessary before women can take the risk to let go of a support and reach for a new income resource. Further, she finds that maintenance payments, mandated not only in New Zealand but in Norway, Canada, and the U.S., are a very problematic and unstable source of income which increase, rather than decrease, the risk of cash flow crisis. Implicit and explicit theories about the nature of lone parents and the indigent lie behind the transition to work models. Corcoran (1995) examines four explanatory models of transitions to work, (a) a ―risk factors‖ model, which looks for explanation or prediction in such issues as lower education, lower ability or female head-of-household arrangements, (b) a lack of resources model, which causes poverty by subsuming families into survival and criminal activities, (c) an intergenerational transmission model which suggests poor parental mores lead to lack of motivation for or skill in obtaining work and, (d) a deviance model, suggesting that the poor are ―different‖ and require socialization. Countering these mainstream perspectives, Patterson (2008) focusses on the remaking of women into consumers, who are implied to choose amongst options for work, family care and various futures, much as they would ―shop‖ for home necessities. Patterson‘s explorations highlight the way that the frames of poverty research shape not only policy approaches but the conceptualization of identity and the nature of the citizen and what Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    41 citizenship means. The making of the poor into consumers is a trick, Hill Collins (2006) argues, which is premised on the idea that those who can purchase are ―advantaged‖ and those who cannot are ―disadvantaged‖. This tautological argument nevertheless sets up opportunities for impoverished black youth to enter the marketplace and ―sell‖ their blackness and resistance in contemporary hip-hop culture. Impoverished women are not so lucky; they have the opportunity to sell their bodies literally rather than figuratively (Mansvelt, 2008). Some policies have focussed on the potential of poor neighbourhoods to contribute to employment stagnation, and so moving individuals out of low-income neighbourhoods. These appear to have inconsistent results, depending more on the aspirations of the individual, their ability to integrate with neighbours who may be quite different, and how much they need supports they leave behind (McClure, 2004). Sandlin (2004) argues that the effect of new work expectations is to ―teach‖ or discipline women about what gender means, although Solomon (2003) provides an example of the ways in which women may ―fight back‖ by disciplining training program instructors about their assumptions about women on welfare, in particular, racialized women on welfare. Syltevik (2008) also argues that even when women do successfully move from dependence on state benefits, the incomes they achieve in the market may be just as problematic from the point of view of family responsibilities, and may increase financial insecurity. Fewer studies focus on the impacts of welfare reform for other aspects of life and well- being. The IAP, which provided data for this dissertation, looked at the impacts of BC welfare reform on mothers with young children and noted that the reforms increased the risk of surveillance while simultaneously putting them at risk of not having enough to care properly for their children (Pulkingham, Fuller & Kershaw, 2010). The potential for increased risk focusses Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    42 on the intersection of government and other systems and the way the poor are exposed by their vulnerability and forced dependency. However, in the face of surveillance and need, when there is not enough for food or shelter, women must balance the needs of everyone, which is often accomplished by going without (McIntyre et al., 2003; Tarasuk, 2003). The inability to provide, and more importantly, the need to explain, has consequences for parenting: ‗You‘ve got your health, you have a place to sleep, and something to eat.‘ It's an awful thing to preach to kids but you have to. You have to make them understand. You can't keep brushing them off, like ‗Oh yeah, one day you [will] get this and that,‘ because that day might not come. So you have to tell them like it is. We'll do what we can do. If we can afford it we'll get it, and they'll learn to appreciate it better, anyway, compared to someone who gets it all the time. (Power, 2005, pp. 16-17) In the context of the turn to rhetoric on the importance of early childhood, parents who cannot provide for their children are both framed as ―damaging‖ their children, and by the children as they age, as ―deserving‖ more (Kershaw & Long, 2003). As Williams, Popay and Oakley (1999) point out, studies are structured to look at impacts, which results in a focus on coping rather than structural critiques. Studies which look more closely at how women fare focus on well-being, risk of violence, and the intersection with other forms of marginalization. Neoliberal restructuring raises particularly acute issues for women with disabilities who are additionally challenged to meet demands for citizen activation, or to join the ―consumer culture‖ without additional supports (Cassiman, 2008; Chouinard & Crook, 2005; Parish, Magaña, & Cassiman, 2008). Cassiman (2008) documents the same balancing acts other parents use such as going without so that children have food, but he points out that battling stigma becomes particularly problematic, especially for women whose Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    43 disabilities are either not officially diagnosed, or who have invisible disabilities. Dubray and Sanders (1999) suggest that the push for official diagnosis is problematic for Native Americans, who have tended to be reluctant to be labelled through the medical system and who find support in the context of community and family, valuing cooperation over labelling and categorization. Disability advocates argue that disability is not supported and that inclusion of people with disability in the vision of the working population (the ―active‖ citizen) is also missing (Wehbi, 2009). The lack of identity makes it more difficult to argue for supports, and obscures the extra burden carried by parents with disabilities, making stigma and invisibility the first barriers that must be addressed. Studies of the experiences of women on welfare confirm the material effects of disadvantage described in macro political analysis, but add everyday impacts as analytical lenses, like going without, battling stigma, and the impacts of intersectional issues like disability. Studies of everyday experience provide evidence of the ways in which scientific frameworks of female-headed lone parents on welfare may be problematic. Critical qualitative studies also point to other explanatory frames, exploring the way concepts of consumption are embedded in neoliberal assumptions. To explore this theme further, the connections between women who are sex trade workers and neoliberal welfare reform will be explored in the next section. 2.4.3 Sex Trade Work and Neoliberal Reform Various analytic frames used to analyze sex trade work offer some insight into perspectives and methods which are productive for this study, intersecting with the potential for women on welfare to seek sex trade work in order to survive. For example, a Foucauldian frame, which emphasizes the constitutive nature of gaze, draws attention to the role consumerism plays in objectifying persons who work in the sex trade (Foucault, 1977; Said, 1979). The gaze may be Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    44 materially shaped by the arenas of sex work, such as the practice of striptease which orients and encourages the consumptive gaze (Pilcher, 2011), or the growth of street sex work, which also physically presents an ―Other.‖11 Construction of the Other interacts with the structural origins of marginalization, empowering the gazer through bourgeois consumerism and reinforcing marginalization (Mansvelt, 2008). While the consumptive gaze constitutes the Other, the presence of the Other also challenges social assumptions of culturally homogeneous sexual identity (Tani, 2002). Othering may serve to heighten a sense of a fractured national identity and, lead to policies which further reinforce marginalization (Yuval-Davis, Anthias, & Kofman, 2005). Brent‘s and Sanders (2010) argue that the mainstreaming of consumerism, especially through neoliberal approaches, has enabled the growth of the sex trade industry and its normalization which has fuelled or been coincident with a global rise in the sex trade. A Foucauldian perspective is useful in that it challenges simplistic binary constructions of the sex trade worker as an Other, drawing attention to morally juxtaposed identities, such as mother and sex trade worker, and questioning why these are opposed. Another implication of sexual identity which is interrogated by a Foucauldian analytic approach is the creation of deviant genders. This construction is especially apparent in the invisibilization of male identities such as the male prostitute, and in particular, youth, men of colour, and men of Indigenous ancestry (Kong, 2009; Ross, 2010; Whowell, 2010), but it also focusses attention on how some identities are sexualized and others are not. While Foucauldian analysis draws attention to invisible presence and offers the opportunity to understand how objectification occurs and  11  The concept of the ―Other‖ was used by Simone de Beauvoir  (1972) to describe the way that one position, maleness and heteronormative, is taken as standard or normative, and variations are rendered as problematic, marginal, or as Sandercock (1998) writes, ―invisible.‖ In this dissertation, the word ―other‖ is capitalized when referring to this specific meaning. Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    45 complexity is obscured, it also de-emphasizes agency by focussing on the self-perpetuating and objectifying nature of the flows of power. Other analytic frames also offer productive avenues for understanding; for example, Johnson (2010) used a Bourdieusian frame to focus on the moral habitus of policing, which contributes to the Othering of sex trade workers. This type of analytic perspective focuses on meso-level interactions that reproduce practices which maintain the status quo, and it is useful for studying the institutional effects of neoliberal reforms on sex trade workers. Brown and Bloom (2009) describe, for example, the way that neoliberal welfare reforms in Hawai‘i shift responsibility for care and resources to family, drawing extended family and kin relations into surveillance for their performance. They argue that the distribution of responsibility reproduces colonialist practices, subjecting Indigenous Hawaiians to structural disadvantage as their whole network depleted. These dynamics criminalize individuals who lack supports and seek to escape or survive through sex work. Heath et al. (1999) link impoverishment, the fragility of supports, and the invisibility of young Indigenous male sex workers in Vancouver to increased risk-taking behaviour, suggesting that criminalization and marginalization operate hand in hand to decrease health and safety. Studies of criminalization also explore the changing context of the sex trade as it becomes an increasingly fluid global commerce (Pajnik, 2010) and a commerce that has been spatially dispersed by the advent of new communication media (Jeffreys, 2010). These two challenges to police work point to the interconnectedness of local conditions with global economies and highlight the necessity of exploring issues at various scales to understand how local regulatory regimes fit into global trends. As a close study of sex trade workers in Spain documents, women from various South American countries may travel to Spain to work in the Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    46 sex trade, utilizing distance for anonymity but also choosing cultural familiarity to enable work in a stigmatized industry (Casas, 2010). The effort women employ to avoid stigma, as well as to avoid violence at home or the challenges of lack of employment opportunities for women, points to the interconnectedness of domestic policies and global opportunities. This connection brings trafficking and sex tourism into relevance as they relate to the question of how local policies affect women as they make a future for themselves and their children. In addition, it highlights the way women may utilize international irregularities in regulation to navigate the boundary between legal and illegal in order to survive. Studies of identity reveal the way the sex trade marks the urban landscape, occupying sanctioned or unsanctioned red light districts and dividing the city into zones of sexualisation versus family or commerce zones (Jeffreys, 2010). At the same time, the city has been made more permeable by the introduction of virtual networking, and Aalbers (2005) notes that even Amsterdam‘s official red light district, which is clearly marked, offers nonsexualized family tourism opportunities along with sexual commerce. The marking and permeability indicate ways in which the geography can mark those who pass through it, yet also allow others to pass through it. At the same time, the focus on sexuality, including the making of hyper-masculinity or femininity, can render other expressions of sexual identity invisible or deviant (Boyd, 2010; Hubbard, Matthews, Scoular, & Agustin, 2008; Koskela & Sirpa, 2005; Tani, 2002). In spite of the permeability of spaces focussed on sexual normativity, such as night club zones, and family zones, zones of sex trade work tend to be marginal spaces, coincident with low-wage districts and marginal spaces (Hubbard, Matthews, Scoular, & Agustin, 2008; Rosen & Venkatesh, 2008). As Wolsink (2006) notes, zones of sex work tend to mark spaces of exclusion. The geographic Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    47 organization of sexualized space offers a context for thinking about how lone mothers may also occupy or be rendered invisible in some kinds of urban spaces. The variety of frames employed in studies of sex trade and sex trade workers pose interesting questions to consider in the study of lone mothers. First, as the studies reviewed above make clear, while sex trade work occurs within localized regulatory regimes, it is fully connected to international global commerce. Second, observations of gender norming around sexual identity point to a need to examine the way polarized and simplified identities are interacting with broader neoliberal trends which focus on consumerism (Brents & Sanders, 2010; Scoular & Sanders, 2010). Given that the object of consumption is a human being, the vulnerability of the poor and women to entering the sex trade suggests a pull for women toward being re-objectified through consumption. The maintenance of a simplified identity coincident with public displays of sexual identities in urban zones raises questions about how other gendered identities, like motherhood, may contrast or coincide with, fuel or act as a foil to sexualized urban landscapes. 2.5 Implications of Welfare Reform The focus of the material reviewed in this chapter was to trace the genealogy of lone parents as policy objects and to examine how poverty alleviation policies shape the definition of women as recipients. Analysis of the changes in welfare provisioning indicate that the nature of state-citizen relations is changing, and redefining the scope of government and the role it plays in citizens‘ lives. Neoliberal, Third Way, and social investment modes of reform are increasing hardship for those on welfare. These approaches to poverty alleviation are challenged by the capabilities model, which focusses on functionings and resources instead of income as a primary Chapter 2 – Researching Lone Mothers    48 indicator of and opportunity for poverty alleviation, but this approach is virtually untried in the Global North, or ―minority world‖ context. The nature of the reforms appears to risk re-entrenchment of gender divides due to the way it relies on social capital, including ―free‖ social reproduction, to meet what were formerly public responsibilities. It may be that the lone parent family embodies the tensions of these reforms most intensely, and therefore forms the ideal study subject (Skevik, 2005). However, one of the challenges in focussing on lone parenthood is that both poverty and lone parenthood are slippery concepts and the subject of various theoretical attempts at modelling. The current way of identifying poverty as an income deficit, combined with the demand that lone parents assume the same responsibilities as two parent families to generate finances are culture specific and carry certain assumptions. In the next chapter, these international findings are applied to the BC case, beginning with an overview of the changes in welfare provisioning and then applying the feminist critiques reviewed in this chapter. The examples reviewed here highlight the way it is important to be specific in identifying exactly what form the reforms have taken, and what vulnerabilities they intersect with. The focus of the next chapter is a concern with the shifting meaning of these changes, not only for the very poor, but also for the definitions of poverty and lone parenthood. Chapter 3 – BC Welfare Reform    49 CHAPTER 3 – CRITICALLY EXAMINING THE CASE OF BC WELFARE REFORM As noted in the previous chapter, neoliberalism is a broad term and research findings should relate to specific reforms (Mayer, 2008; Skevik, 2005). Although the research questions focus on women‘s agency, it is important to understand the confluence of history and dominant ideology, which is represented in the benefit packages, taxation structures, and institutional structures that constitute neoliberal and social investment trends (Tretjak & Abrell, 2011). It is also important to understand neoliberalism as a process, not an end-state (Maskovsky & Kingfisher, 2001; Morgen & Maskovsky, 2003). The markers of the neoliberal ‗narrative‘ are increasing privatization of state assets and services and a deliberate shrinking of the size, expenditures, and reach of government, but these should be seen as ideologically inspired agendas, or part of institutional trajectories, rather than sudden epochal changes (Hudson, Hwang, & Kuhner, 2008; Mayer, 2008). In the BC case, these trends led to two parallel trajectories; the first is a narrative timeline, which asserts itself as a hegemonic story, and the second consists of the evolving set of interactions which punctuate the story with explanatory events. The discursive and material storylines interact and, as Mayer suggests, create particularities in the shape and form of neoliberal changes in different jurisdictions. These two trajectories will be described here in the context of the theory presented in the previous chapter The details of the BC welfare reform set the context for understanding what the struggles of women on welfare mean, and how this moment in history may not only affect the futures of individual women, but may also alter the course of social citizenship in the province and perhaps in Canada. I start by detailing the material policy changes and then I examine the relationship to various models of welfare reform. Chapter 3 – BC Welfare Reform    50 3.1 Implementing Neoliberalism The round of changes to welfare in BC began in 2001, when a provincial election brought the new slightly right-of-centre BC Liberal Party 12  to power. In keeping with a neoliberal narrative, the Liberal campaign platform promised a leaner government, reduction in government deficits, reduction in overall government size, increased efficiency (such as removing bureaucratic hurdles to business, or ―red tape‖), and increasing accountability. To implement these changes, all the provincial ministries were required to prepare business plans with service objectives. These plans were then reviewed and budgets were reduced across all ministries in 2002, with some exceptions such as for health care and child protection services. The welfare reforms included cuts to benefits, staffing, and infrastructure, as well as a reduction in number and amount of contracts for third-sector services. The operating budget of the Ministry of Human Resources (responsible for social assistance) was reduced by $581 million (30% of the overall budget) over three years. Staff positions were cut by 459 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, and 36 welfare offices across the province were closed (Gurstein & Vilches, 2009). The remaining budget reduction targets were achieved through a combination of cuts to welfare benefits and a tightening of eligibility rules (Gurstein et al., 2008). Thus all three aspects of the neoliberal agenda were enacted: smaller government, reduced provision, and reduced expenditures.  12  The provincial BC Liberal Party is independent of the centrist national Liberal Party, which is to the left of the conservative party or parties. At the provincial level The BC Liberals are more to the political right than the left-of-centre New Democratic Party. Chapter 3 – BC Welfare Reform    51 3.1.2 Benefit Changes In Canada, welfare falls under provincial jurisdiction. Officially termed income assistance, 13   benefits are provided in a single monthly payment from the provincial government to eligible heads of household. As Moore (2002) points out, each ―welfare case‖ may include a number of recipients such as children, other dependents, and spouses or partners. Payment is made to the head of household in a single disbursement, so when the participants in the study discussed changes to their cheque they were referring to what has been intended to be the sole source of support. Lately, federal child tax benefits have become an important supplement, as shall be discussed below.  (Q) How much have you lost in total since Campbell 14  came in? (A) Well, the cutbacks on the rent, the $100 a month, okay  . . .  I couldn‘t believe it when, because you were allowed $650, or $620 or $630 for rent, and then all of a sudden it dropped down to $555, you know? (Q) And then you lost the diet allowance? (A) Diet allowance was over a year ago, just after August.  (Jeanie, Rnd 1, 680-698) 15  The welfare benefit amount is calculated in two portions, with some adjustments for the size of household: a ―shelter‖ portion that is intended to cover housing or rental costs, including utilities like heat and light, and a portion termed ―support‖ that is intended to provide food and the necessities of life for all the persons in the household. In 2002, the support portion for a lone parent with one child was reduced by $50 to $325.58, a reduction of 15%. The shelter portion  13  See the Glossary for listings of terms used to refer to income assistance, also known as social assistance or ―welfare‖ in BC. 14  Welfare reform was introduced in 2002, after the election of the BC Liberal Party in 2001. Gordon Campbell served as premier. 15  Interviews for round one were conducted between May and June of 2004. Chapter 3 – BC Welfare Reform    52 was reduced by $55 for families with more than three people (including the parent) and by up to $75 per month for larger families. In addition, support portions for larger families were capped, so that the maximum payment occurred for a three-person family (Kienzel, 2010). The shelter portion for a lone parent with one child (two-person family) was retained at $520, while after the changes, a three-person household was eligible for $555 (Long & Goldberg, 2002). The amount is adjusted for rural and urban locations, family size, family composition (married or lone parent or single adult), and eligibility classification (disability, employable, or ―person with persistent multiple barriers‖ (PPMB). The shelter allowance may be adjusted downward if costs are lower than the designated amount, and some other issues may cause minor variations. The welfare cheque is the main source of income transfer from government sources: in addition, three tax credits (payments) go to parents on a per-child calculation from the federal government. The only provincial support payments (income transfers) other than the social assistance are child care subsidies for parents with children in child care (a reimbursement) and any federal pensions, typically for seniors, but also sometimes worker post-injury payments (Workers‘ Compensation Board Benefits, or WCB). The amounts of these payments are, as of the 2002 changes, deducted from the welfare cheque amount as what were called ―earnings exemptions‖ was eliminated. Any needs that exceed what is provided for by the welfare payment are primarily delivered through charitable services such as clothing redistribution charities, food banks, Christmas gift registries run by social agencies, or social housing, but these do not provide a cash flow to the recipient. Charity and social support are provided through third-sector agencies including non-profit charities, faith-based institutions, or social service agencies, like immigrant services or shelters for battered women, which are funded by the provincial government. Chapter 3 – BC Welfare Reform    53 Services like food banks may receive local municipal-level funding, and shelters for the homeless tend to be operated locally. The third sector, as this may be termed, is not designed to deliver core support except under unusual and temporary circumstances. Unlike in the US, every indigent person is eligible for support, though the 2002 changes introduced stringent requirements that advocates argue effectively disenfranchised the mentally ill, those with health struggles like substance use disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder, and individuals who could not meet the minimum employability conditions introduced at that time. Three federal tax credits are available to low-income families, in addition to provincial benefits. The Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) was introduced in 1993 by the federal government as a tax credit for all families with children. An amount of $102.33 was paid for each child under the age of 7 per month (Canada Revenue Agency, 2008). An additional supplement for low-income families called the National Child Benefit (NCB) was introduced in 1998. The NCB is income dependent and taxable. The family income threshold for full payment of the NCB in 2008 was $20,435. An example of the scale of rate changes for additional children is shown in table 1 for the year 2011. Table 1 Annual Maximum Child Benefits (July 2011 to June 2012) Number of Children* Basic CCTB NCB Total  Monthly Benefit 1st child  $1367  $2118  $3485  $290.41 2nd child  $1367  $1873  $3240  $270.00 3rd & each additional child $1462  $1782  $3244  $270.33 * For families with net incomes below declared incomes of $24,183 in 2011 16   Both child tax benefits, which are based on the previous year‘s income tax declaration, are issued together in a single cheque which arrives by mail in about the third week of the month.  16  Government of Canada  www.nationalchildbenefit.ca/eng/06/cctb_children.shtml Chapter 3 – BC Welfare Reform    54 These two benefits are supplemented with a Universal Child Benefit (UCB), which is intended by the federal government to support families with young children to purchase child care but is not dependent on them obtaining child care (it can therefore be used to supplement the income of families where one parent stays home to care for children). This amount is set at $100 per month for each child under the age of 6. The total possible payment of all three benefits is close to the target of $5,000 per year that the Canadian advocacy agency Campaign 2000 recommends for helping to eliminate child poverty (Campaign 2000, 2009). The CCTB (excluding the NCB) and UCB payments are not deducted from the welfare cheque at the individual level, but BC was one of two provinces that dropped their support levels significantly when this benefit was introduced. In comparison to other provinces where benefits to recipients rose with the CCTB, in BC it became a supplement to a much reduced income assistance benefit. Critics have identified the way the province reduced costs by reducing the benefits as a tax transfer made through individuals (Shillington, 2000). As a result of the dependency of welfare recipients on the single provincial payment, reductions to the basic income assistance amount were highly important. Added together, the monthly welfare cheque for a family with three children, two of whom are under 7 and therefore eligible for the CCTB and the UTB, is approximately $555 in shelter and $325 in support, or $880, plus approximately $680 for all three federal payments. The welfare cheque arrives on the last Wednesday of the month. At a typical rent for a four-person family in Vancouver, the cheque might go almost entirely toward the rent. The family would then use the federal cheque, which arrives in about the third week of the month, for food and other living costs. The intersection of these three sources of funding, plus the welfare cheque, makes a confusing schedule of cash flow. Chapter 3 – BC Welfare Reform    55  The low provincial rates make the monthly federal payments essential for covering living costs. The rental cost of a two-bedroom apartment, at the 40th percentile of the market was $810 per month, with heat additional; at the 25th percentile, the cost was $755. This would mean that even for a lone parent with one child seeking a two-bedroom apartment, 75 % of accommodations would be at least $235 over the shelter rate. If this amount was taken out of the support portion of $325.58, only $90.42 would be available across four or five weeks of a month for heat, food, transportation, school projects, diapers and formula, first aid medications like aspirin, and all the other small necessities required for sustenance and a job search. Based on the estimate for a four-person family and a low rent of $810 per month, only $70 might be available from the welfare cheque to live on, with an additional $465.75 for the month, or $116.43 per week, coming from the federal child tax credits. (In a five-week month, which occurs four times a year, only $93.15 per week would be available to pay for all necessities.) These amounts cannot cover exceptional circumstances or emergencies. This point is illustrated by one of the participants in the Income Assistance study, which provided the data for this dissertation: And I had a bunch of stuff going at this time, and then, because of all these cutbacks, single mothers are not allowed to get the support . . .  We‘re not allowed to get emergency taxi rides like we used to. If our kids had something wrong with them, we‘d get a certain amount of emergency money, where you can take your kid to the Children‘s Hospital, right? Now you‘re only entitled to like, 3 or 4 taxi rides a year, or something like that.  And I was quite shocked about that. But I had to do that on my own. (Carla, Rnd 1, 198) To balance the constraints of the small welfare amounts, social assistance in BC has long had an emergency supplement system, whereby a client or citizen can apply under exceptional Chapter 3 – BC Welfare Reform    56 circumstances for a small additional amount. However, when the basic benefit was cut, there were also changes to a comprehensive range of supplementary benefits, both occasional and emergency (Klein & Long, 2003; Moore, 2002). Many of the small grants were eliminated and emergency grants were capped at $20 per person per year. Conditions for granting monies were also restricted, so, for example, moving expenses were only allowed when the new place was mandated by government staff for safety reasons or when the shelter costs were lower, unlikely in the case of Vancouver rents. The effect on individuals was to cap what might be called ―safety valves,‖ amounts that a family might need for occasional financial needs, like a child‘s winter coat, a hair cut needed for a job interview, or back-to-school supplies. The question is, beyond income and straight cash flow, whether or how the loss of these safety valves affects the availability of the type of primary goods described in the capabilities measure, and further, what the effect might be on women of the loss of these functionings (Nussbaum, 2006). The cuts also included a severe curtailing of allowable assets, although a primary place of residence (home) was exempt. A vehicle is allowed, up to a value of $5,000, as are tools or equipment required to operate a business. Any other valuable assets may reduce eligibility. In sum, the reductions in rates and other benefits were small in absolute standards, but highly significant in the context of the overall low starting rate. The elimination of small benefits and emergency grants meant the narrowing of respite or room to manoeuvre. In addition, little notice or explanation of the changes was provided, making recipients‘ experiences of the transition stressful, as shall be reported in the chapters on the findings. 3.1.3 Workforce Participation Rates of Lone Mothers Part of the neoliberal goal was to reduce dependency on state disbursements and encourage workforce participation. However, in Canada, women‘s workforce participation rate is Chapter 3 – BC Welfare Reform    57 high, averaging 70% for all women with children and 68% for lone parents in 2002 (Statistics Canada, 2006). This is much higher than the rates in other countries (Kjeldstad, 2000; Millar, 2007). The workforce participation rate varies by age of children and family composition, though, suggesting that women‘s ability to engage in paid labour varies according to caring duties (Skevik, 2004). Both partnered and lone women were vulnerable to the reduction in supports, though as of 1991, slightly over half of lone mothers with children under 6 were in the workforce, compared to 66% of partnered women (OECD Directorate for Education, 2004). The women who were most vulnerable to interruption, with a workforce participation rate of 47%, were those whose youngest children was under 3 years of age (OECD Directorate for Education, 2004). Contrary to the neoliberal focus on motivating workforce participation the evidence suggests that circumstances, such as lack of formal or family child care, provides a better explanation than motivation alone for workforce participation. Perhaps as a result of their lower ability to be employed, lone mothers are much more dependent on government transfers. A 1998 Statistics Canada survey of labour and income data (SLID) report found that the gap (or depth) of poverty below the LICO for low-income lone mothers was reduced from 82.5% to 29.7% by government transfer payments (Kapsalis & Tourigny, 2002). Thus although lone mothers had neither the lowest after-tax poverty (reserved for couples) nor the highest rate of before-tax poverty (reserved for the smaller percentage of low income lone fathers), they had the largest reduction in poverty through government transfers because they started with the highest average low-income, or the deepest poverty (Kapsalis & Tourigny, 2002). After government transfers, the after-tax average rate of poverty (below the LICO) for all lone mothers in Canada in 2006 was 32.3% (Rothman & Noble, 2008). Chapter 3 – BC Welfare Reform    58 The comparatively high workforce participation rates and government transfer payments in Canada challenge several concepts behind workforce activation rhetoric. First, the empirical variations in workforce engagement indicate that some common structural constraints rather than personal choices physically limit workforce engagement. Urban and rural experiences are different; a small study of women in Oregon, for example, demonstrates that rural women have more difficulty obtaining sustaining work, suitable work training, and work engagement supports like childcare, speaking again to structural constraints rather than individual choice (Anderson & Van Hoy, 2006). 3.1.4 Reducing or Increasing the Welfare Wall? One of the specific goals of welfare reform and the neoliberal turn in general as it unfolded in BC was to reduce what is called the welfare wall. The welfare wall is composed of direct and indirect taxes which accrue when individuals gain employment (Leonard, Ragan, & St-Hilaire, 2007; Torjman & Battle, 1993). One of the participants in the Income Assistance study described how the welfare wall changed after the 2002 reforms were introduced: They used to have a really good program, which has been eliminated, called Youth Options, and you used to be able to do volunteer work and get tuition credit paid for your volunteer work. You made $8 an hour tuition money, 17  and so I did 300 hours of volunteer work as a peer support worker at the pregnant parenting place on the North Shore and I got $2400.00 [in credits] for tuition. (Gemma, Rnd 1, 196 ) Direct taxes include federal and provincial income taxes as well as payroll deductions such as compulsory pension deductions and (un)employment insurance, which begin as soon as a  17  Tuition money was earned as ―banked credits‖, not cash, so at the end, Gemma had $2400 in banked credits which could be used for tuition at any institution. Chapter 3 – BC Welfare Reform    59 person has employment. Income tax credits, also part of the direct tax system but in the reverse direction, reduce income tax owing at year end or are paid out in regular instalments throughout the year to those with low incomes. Two examples of the latter in Canada are the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit and the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB). However, the welfare wall is also created by benefits and allowances that people are no longer eligible for after they exit welfare. The loss of these benefits can be considered as a kind of tax, in that they reduce income transfers and the utility of income. These benefits may include children‘s extended health benefits, which parents are eligible to collect while receiving assistance, as well as emergency grants for food or shelter, supplements for those going back to work or school, transportation allowances, and other benefits which were described above. The sum total of direct and indirect taxes may cause a kind of lurch as people leave welfare and move into a different system of income flows. The 2002 changes were intended to reduce the cost of transferring out of welfare. However, it appears that the costs were increased and that the institution of mandatory wait times and lifetime limits increased the potential cost of exiting welfare by increasing insecurity (Wallace, Klein, & Reitsma-Street, 2006). In addition to reducing the ancillary benefits, such as health or dietary allowances (reviewed above), that formed an attractive negative tax (i.e. bonus), earning exemptions, which are also a form of negative tax were reduced. For example, for recipients who were classified as employable, earnings exemptions were reduced from $200 to zero, and for lone parents, maintenance payments, which had also been exempt up to $100 per child, were also reduced to zero, so that in both cases any income was deducted on a dollar-for- dollar basis. A mandatory three-week waiting period for reapplication or a new application was instituted, meaning that a person had to have a three-week income cushion in order to survive the Chapter 3 – BC Welfare Reform    60 wait time. This means that a person who was contemplating exiting welfare, who would be well aware of this re-entry condition, must anticipate whether their potential earnings would either be more than the level of welfare so that they could save for the potential layoff, or, if not, they must have good job security so that they were assured of not being laid off. If they were not able to build the savings cushion, they might not be able to pay rent, and might become homeless. The changes were a clear departure from previous policy. Prior to the changes, the earnings were reduced on a ratio basis (i.e. 25% for the first $100, 50% for the next $200, and 100% for the remainder). After the reforms, all earnings were deducted on a dollar-for-dollar basis from the next month‘s cheque, as were orphans‘ benefits (federal payment), family maintenance payments (spousal), and workers‘ compensation payments (provincial). If the loss of benefits is considered a tax, the marginal rate would be 100% or even more if earnings cause ineligibility for other kinds of benefits like back-to-school grants (Duclos, 2008; Leonard, Ragan, & St-Hilaire, 2007). As Patterson (2008) points out, in the New Zealand case where this was also introduced, there can be a time lag between these flows, so that earnings received in one month are matched by an equivalent deduction from the welfare cheque in the following month. This means that one month is a rich month and the next is below welfare rates. The effective implication is also that below the level of benefits, a person would be working but not receiving any more net income and perhaps less, than the amount of welfare benefits. This occurs because of out-of-pocket expenses related to working such as transportation or child care as well as the loss of ancillary benefits such as transition allowances or access to emergency funds. The potential for having savings to cover cash flow fluctuations among those most at risk of not having sufficient and secure employment is low, though. The minimum wage in BC is $8.00 per hour (at the time of the study), the lowest in Canada. If a standard work week is 40 Chapter 3 – BC Welfare Reform    61 hours, a four-week month would generate $1,280 per month. This is helpful for a lone person, who received only $537 after the reforms were implemented. However, for a lone parent with one child, who is receiving a combined income of about $1200 from income assistance and the federal child tax benefits, there is almost no incentive to make the transition to a minimum-wage job, and plenty of potential costs. In 2008, 293,000 persons in BC earned less than $10/hr (New Democratic Party of BC, 2009).  For these low-wage workers the ability to take a risk is very low, or nil, because they have no cushion. This inability to take a risk actually increases the welfare wall, making it more difficult to leave unsatisfactory or insufficient low-wage employment and to leave welfare for a temporary or potentially insufficient job. It is unclear whether the 2002 restructuring has reduced the welfare wall or not. It may be that instability has increased, driving individuals to reduce their risk-taking behaviour, and thus increasing the rigidity between the sectors, rather than encouraging a flow from state to economic engagement. 3.1.5 Disciplining Recipients through Reclassification The reorganization of benefits that took place in 2002 was complemented by the comprehensive and mandatory reclassification of all recipients. Recategorization disciplined recipients by reconstructing them into able and not-able citizens, creating what Powers (2005) calls ―cages‖ of discourses. Although there had been categories with differing levels of benefit before, the reduction of training supports and increase of stringency for qualifying for disability created a deeper rift between the two types of recipients. All recipients who were deemed employable were assigned to work or résumé preparation workshops. However, education and longer term training, such as adult basic education towards high school diploma equivalencies or trades training, were disallowed. Welfare recipients were encouraged to take student loans if they wanted to retrain, although being in receipt of a student loan would automatically disqualify Chapter 3 – BC Welfare Reform    62 them from receiving welfare support. Recipients