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Skocpol on the State Thread

Skocpol on the State [ 30 Jul 1994 ]


Recently Alan Brinkley in the May 26, 1994 _New York Review of Books called Theda Skocpol's _Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origns of Social Policy in the United States_, "the most important study yet written on the early origins of the welfare state -- a brillant corrective to previous scholarship and a work with which everyone approaching this subjet must now contend" (p. 43). Would list members agree with Brinkley's assessment? If not, what specific problems do list members find in Skocpol's account of the origins if the US welfare state? Is her thesis of the US evolving from a "paternalist" welfare state to a "maternalist" one flawed? Is gender as important in the origins of the welfare state as Skocpol postulates? Perhaps list members doing research in this area would care to share their findings as it confirms or counters Skocpol's thesis.

E. Wayne Carp
H-State Co-moderator
carpw@plu.edu Skocpol/Gordon

Skocpol/Gordon [ 4 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Thu, 04 Aug 1994 22:32:48 -0500
From: Spencer Wood <wood@ssc.wisc.edu>

I was, indeed, referring to the exchange between Linda Gordan and Theda Skocpol in _Contentions_, not _Signs_. Sorry for any confusion or misdirection this may have caused. Thanks--Spencer


Skocpol: Gordon on women's Roles in Welfare State Fromation
       Skocpol & Gordon on Women's Role in Welfare State Formation (x [ 5 Aug 1994  ]

-----------------------------------------------------------------              H-Women)

Date: Fri, 05 Aug 1994 10:43:19 -0500
From:COHEN@vaxsar.vassar.edu

I want to echo Eileen Boris's assessment of the place of the Skocpol book in the scholarship on women and the making of the welfare state. I, too, think Alice Kessler-Harris' JAH review is one of the best, along with Linda Gordon's Contentions piece. I would only add with emphasis, that I am increasingly convinced that the Skocpol emphasis on state policymakers alone leaves her uanable to make a proper assessment of the so called "successes" or failures in the development of the welfare state. As I state in a forthcoming revew of the book in Journal of Social History, while reform intellectuals are importnat because they can help to shape an agenda, there are others who wield more power--who control ecnomic resources, or can deliver large voting blocs and can command attention of lawmakers. Thus, as a number of studies have shown American women's marginality still had its costs in terms of providing anything like a meaningful "maternlist" state in the pre-New Deal years, despite Skocpol's celebratory view, especially for African-American women. And, during the New Deal, as Soc. Sec. was being put together, those policy thinkers so important to Skocpol are less important than those politicos such as Frances Perkins, whose job was to put together coalitions of those in a position to bargin--i.e., labor, business, farm interests, i.e., she could ignore Abe Epstein, (actually cut him out) but not Sidney Hillman--and again, the non-mobilized (most women, blacks) were again almost left out. And, I note that the way health care is unfolding today, with perhaps even a less progressive coalition that wields power, is another example of the importance of recgonizing that all the policy wonks in the world, sitting in committee, do not ultimately make policy. (That is a problem I have with Ann Orloff's description of how old age pension policy was enacted into the Soc. Sec. Act. In the end, the emphasis is all on the arguments and debates within the CES, but the moblized forces outside the door, and the folks FDR and Congress will have to listen to have faded into deep background.) In the end, I'd say this debate very much goes to Linda Gordon. I think Eileen is right to point out that the book is useful--it does bring together lots of material--although known to historians of the welfare state, it is done in a provocative way, with a clear argument that has helped to focus the discussion on women and the welfare state.

Miriam Cohen e-mail Cohen@vassar.edu More on Skocpol on the State

More on Skocpol on the State (x H-SHGAPE) [ 5 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Fri, 05 Aug 1994 14:20:52 -0700
From: Richard R. John

In regard to the recents posts on Skocpol's Protecting Soldiers and Mothers and, in particular, to Professor Lohmann's claim that the popularity of her approach constitutes a shift away from empirical and toward theoretical history, I would like to make three observations:

(1) The leading American political historians of the 1950s and early 1960s were by no means hyperempiricists, as Professor Lohmann seems to imply. Indeed, much of their distinctiveness lay precisely in their self-conscious embrace of the concept of "society" and in their preoccupation with "social forces"--which was, in that era, an extremely daring and broad-gauged way to write political history. This was true not only for self-conscious methodological innovators like Richard Hofstadter, Lee Benson, and David Donald but also for narrative historians like David Potter.

(2) Skocpol's critique of "society-centered" historical writing is far more of a critique of the unchallenged faith of this previous generation of historians with the concept of society as an organizing theme and with their stress upon the causal primacy of social forces in shaping the pattern of the past as it is an assault upon empiricism per se. Indeed, her work is distinctly more empiricist in its orientation than is much of what passes for historically informed political science. (Which helps explain, I think, why fair-minded historians like Alan Brinkley are so quick to stress its importance.) What distinguishes it, rather, is its expansive conception of the proper domain of political history. In place of the familiar constellation of monster abstractions--urbanization, social mobility, class conflict, etc.-Skocpol turns our attention to actual institutional processes and relationships. This, and not some alleged penchant for abstraction, is the key to its importance for historians today.

(3) One of the major reasons that Skocpol's approach is seen as so novel is because historians of the Gilded Age have long been accustomed to treating the history of party behavior as their major--if not their only-- interpretative challenge. Indeed, if there is a "paradigm-shift" in the making, as Professor Lohmann contends, I would think that it involves not only a rejection of some of the cardinal premises of the 'new' social history--that is, its preoccupation with the concept of "society" and with "social forces" as primary causal agents--but also a welcome broadening of the domain of political history. Political historians no longer need confine themselves to writing a history of party behavior, or so Skocpol's work suggests; rather, they can aspire to write the history of the political processes that have helped to shape the social groups, cultural forms and institutional practices that make the United States what it is today. This, I submit, is the importance of Skocpol's work for historians, and not its putative assault upon empiricism.

Richard R. John
University of Illinois at Chicago Skocpol on the State

Response: SKocpol on the State [ 6 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Sat, 06 Aug 1994 18:15:14 -0600 (MDT) From: USERLIEB@mts.ucs.ualberta.ca <Helen Liebel>

To Gus in North Texas
Paradigm shift ? One must be careful when this sort of jargon is tossed about. The generally accepted set of interpretations of a field may gain acceptance among professionals, but they can be all wrong. New history is always emerging when there is a generation shift. That has happened in American academe several times in this century. The Europeans are much less prone to pitching their arguments to headline snatching of this sort.
In Canada the idea of the welfare state may have reached a peak in the 1970s when Pierre Trudeau was Prime Minister. At the provincial level there seems to be some de-statization going on and the public sector is being privatized to a degree unknown since the 18th century in England. Even the prisons maybe. More on Skocpol on the State

More on Skocpol on the State [ 6 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Sat, 06 Aug 1994 20:45:58 -0600 (MDT) From: USERLIEB@mts.ucs.ualberta.ca

re New History and other slogans
Historians have traditionally been interested in the history of a nation, but then emphasized the history of governments. Some special emphasis studies such as social, eco, histories were called fragmentary by Hegel early in the 19th century. Today they often dominate. Since the enormous influence of Max Weber and the rise of sociology as a discipline, history has been sociologized. Now there seems to be some interest in reversing that trend. But sociology also has a subdivision called political sociology. So the Annales approach (everything goes) continues. However, modern theory of history seems to be lagging. The understanding of epistemology and explanation seems underdeveloped. One can certainly study policy making ( a kind of official history ?) but when it comes to social problems dealt with in welfare legislation, a clear conception of what motivates the actors would help the writer overcome received dogma. H.Liebel Skocpol on the State

Response: SKocpol on the State [ 8 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Mon, 08 Aug 1994 11:11:53 -0400 (EDT) From: GRETCHEN KNAPP <V083J9VH@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu>

I recommend John F. McClymer's War and Welfare: Social Engineering in America, 1890-1925 (Greenwood, 1980) and a nice set of essays in Donald Critchlow and Ellis Hawley, eds., Federal Social Policy" The Historical Dimenstion (PSU, 1988). As you can guess, I'm most interested in war and welfare. BTW, Does anyone have comments on Bruce Porter's War and the Rise of the State (Free Press, 1994)? I thought it was rather light on 20th C US.

Gretchen Knapp
History
SUNY at Buffalo More on Skocpol on the State

More on Skocpol on the State (X H-SHGAPE) [ 10 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Wed, 10 Aug 1994 13:12:59 -0700
From: Daniel Levine <dlevine@polar.Bowdoin.EDU>

Don't throw away lectures on the state and U.S. society yet on the basis of Skocpol's findings on Civil War pensions. Rewards to soldiers was nothing new--they existed in the Revolution--nor unique. Remember the "bonus army"? They were more significant for the CW partly because there were simply more soldiers and partly because the GAR and the GOP were closely entertwined. But I have read all congressional debates, including committee hearings on the Social Security Act as well as a good deal of the periodical literature from the time, and as far as I remember the Civil War pensions were never referred to, either as a positive example to be followed or a negative one to be avoided. Pensions to soldiers (and their dependents) were simply another conceptual category than general old age pensions, or other aspects of the welfare state. No one saw a connection, and doesn't creating a connection now distort the past? More on Skocpol on the State

More on Skocpol on the State (X H-SHGAPE) [ 12 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Fri, 12 Aug 1994 05:15:10 -0500 (CDT) From: michel sonya a. <herfmich@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>

I think Daniel Levine may be telescoping Skocpol's argument re: Civil War pensions as precedents for Social Security somewhat. That is, he is skipping over several important chapters in her book wherein she shows how Civil War pensions were, if anything, precedents for Mothers' Pensions (and there many advocates did draw parallels between motherhood and soldiering as forms of service to the state), which, in turn, served as one of the precedents for at least part of Social Security (namely ADC). Thus the genealogy is more complicated than Levine suggests.

Sonya Michel <skocpol the="the" and="and" state</title="State</title"> </head> <body> <p> Skocpol and the State [ 18 Aug 1994 ] <hr> Date: Thu, 18 Aug 1994 11:01:31 -0700 (PDT) From: Megan McClintock <<a href="mailto:meganmac@u.washington.edu">meganmac@u.washington.edu</a>> I apologize for entering this discussion so late, but I just returned from vacation. Without disputing the importance of _Protecting Soldiers and Mothers_ for the reasons others have outlined (her focus on the political process and political institutions in the formulation of policy), there are several criticisms I would like to make. I just completed a dissertation on Civil War pensions, specifically on the benefits for family members, so I feel most competent commenting on that section of Skocpol's book. Because she relied almost entirely on secondary sources, none of which give much attention to the pensions granted to families, Skocpol misses what was, in fact, truly remarkable about the Civil War pension system: the expansion of federal responsibility for women, children and the elderly. Had she included the benefits for widows, orphans, parents, and siblings, her argument about the extensive involvement by the federal government in social welfare as early as the mid-19th C. would have been even stronger. In other ways, however, a more complete discussion of the Civil War pension system undermines her dichotomy between paternalist and maternalist programs, because Civil War pensions took care of not only male breadwinners but women and children as well. In addition, her analysis of patronage politics, while convincing as an explanation for the timing and substance of veterans benefits, does not account for legislation aimed at families. The picture, I believe, is much more complex than Skocpol's formulation allows. <pre> Megan McClintock University of Washington, Tacoma </pre> </body> </html> <html> <head> <title>Skocpol/Civil War Pensions/Levine's comments

Skocpol/Civil War pensions/Levine's comments [ 19 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Fri, 19 Aug 1994 12:43:04 -0500
From: orloff@ssc.wisc.edu
To: "@UAFSYSB.UARK.EDU:owner-h-state@UICVM.UIC.EDU"@ssc.wisc.edu

On the basis of my own research in the primary sources, policymakers and academics through the Progressive Era made explicit connections between the experience of Civil War pensions and proposals for modern old age pensions and other social provision -- tho with the dying out of the Civil War cohorts bybthe 1930s, this connection was not commented upon in the later decade, when Social Security was being debated. Moreover, in their scope, Civil War pensions went far beyond what other military pension systems did (a point documented by Skocpol). And, finally, as someone who's worked with Skocpol and read her book, I can say that the findings are not based solely on secondary sources (as some who've commented have stated).
Ann Orloff
Sociology/U of Wisconsin-Madison
orloff@ssc.wisc.edu

p.s. see my THE POLITICS OF PENSIONS: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF BRITAIN, CANADA, AND THE UNITED STATES (Wisconsin, 1993) for documentation re the explicit connections being made between civil war pensions and old age pension Skocpol on the State

Skocpol on the State [ 30 Jul 1994 ]


Date: Sat, 30 Jul 1994 16:36:02 -0400 (EDT) From: 3KTB@QUCDN.QueensU.CA

I have yet to read Prof. Skocpol's new book, though it is on my must read list once my exams are finished, therefore I would like to know how she defines 'paternalism' and 'maternalism'. Unless she has redefined these terms I don't see a shift from paternalism to maternalism in the evolution of welfare state policies. To be sure the development of the welfare state, was, and still, is inextricably tied up with constructs of gender, race and class. What I would argue, however, is that paternalism in the form of patriarchy has been a constant thread throughout the development of social welfare, taking on different forms in different historical periods. To those who are interested in the Canadian litterature see Jane Ursel, Private Lives, Public Policy: 100 years of State Intervention in the Family (Women's Press, 1992); and Cynthia Comacchio, "NATIONS ARE BUILT OF BABIES" (McGill-Queen's University Press, 1993

Kevin Brushett
Queen's University Skocpol on the State

Skocpol on the State [ 30 Jul 1994 ]


Date: Sat, 30 Jul 1994 18:22:38 -0400 (EDT) From: peter c holloran <pch@world.std.com>

While the Civil War did precipitate many orphanages for the children of veterans, and military hospitals are a precedent for socialized medicine, I would not overemphasize the influence of either of these examples in social welfare policy and practice. There are many sources for current or future American public health and welfare programs (i.e., medieval Catholicism). This is not a simple issue, but I look forward to this discussion.
Peter Holloran, Pine Manor College Skocpol on the State

Skocpol on the State [ 1 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Mon, 01 Aug 1994 09:58:03 -0400 (EDT) From: RLOHMAN@WVNVM.WVNET.EDU

I haven't read the NYRB article yet, but I have been telling people essentially the same thing since I read Skopol's book. It has the POTENTIAL to completely revise our account of social welfare history, but not for the reasons cited so far.

The maternalism/paternalism issue is interesting, but not where the main significance lies.

If she is correct (and it appears, on balance, that she is) the main implications for me are three-fold:

-There is, in our history, a national benefit program of major significance which has been COMPLETELY missing from our histories. (Which are of fairly recent origin and almost entirely "framed" around the development/industrialization thesis.

       WE MAY NEED TO RETHINK/REFORMULATE THE ROLE OF THE URBANIZATION-
       INDUSTRIALIZATION THESIS.

-The timing, circumstances and demise of that program have major things to say to us. The messages they carry are quite different from the "consensual/contented/development/progressivism":social welfare, social work profession, "progressive/professional (apolitical, nonpatronage) social services are more-or-less irreversible signs of modernization and progress, which are "political" only in their origins and actually evidences of the general will.

       AS IF WE DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH EVIDENCE FROM THE GREAT SOCIETY/
       NEW FRONTIER ERA AND NEW DEAL, MAJOR SOCIAL PROGRAMS CAN AND
       DO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY (AND IN THIS CASE ALMOST WITHOUT A TRACE.)

-Urbanization, industrialization and bureaucratization are not the inevitable social forces behind the rise of social welfare they are usually painted as. There is a role for real people and their real political concerns and actions here.

SOCIAL FORCES DON'T CREATE PROGRAMS; SOCIAL POLITICS DO. Skopol's case study alone does not bring about a complete transformation, but together with the increasing volume of social histories, it certainly points toward one. And implication #1 in my book is to take the abstract theoretical models of socio-economic development, industrialization and urbanization, a lot less seriously, and to take the actual political and historical events -- messy and disorderly as they may be, -- a lot more seriously. (The historical realities of her "materalist" policies comments in this light are an impressive and integral piece of the evidence.)

This may be what a paradigm shift looks like in its early career.


Skocpol on the State

Response: Skocpol on the State (x-H-SHGAPE) [ 2 Aug 1994 ]


[Moderator's Note (EWC): Robert Cherney (RWC), moderator of H-SHGAPE cross-posted H-State's message concerning Skocpol and below is a reply from an H-SHGAPE list member.]

Yesterday Roger Lohmann suggested that Theda Skocpol's _Protecting Soldiers and Mothers_ may mark the beginning of a paradigm shift regarding the way the that we look at the history of social welfare. Here's a reaction. --RWC

COMMENT I think Professor Lohmann is on to something but not necessarily what he thinks he is onto. I think we may be looking, in his terms, at a paradigm shift falling apart.

In my historical world, which was formed in the fifties and early sixties before the rush to social and theoretical history, most historians looked, or hoped they did, at the "actual political and historical events" rather that at theoritical constructs which supposedly gave form and meaning to reality. Not only did they operate that way but they looked down their collective noses at their colleagues in the social sciences to whom theory determined reality. I remember a joke among historians about two "social scientists" talking and one saying to the other "Well yes it seems to occur this way in real life, it's surely a shame it doesn't work out this way in theory."

The point I am making is that the shift, if that is not too grandiose a term to use, may have occurred with the movement towards the "New Social History" which if the last several postings are correct may be in the state of being seriously modified. (NOTE: I have read neither the book nor the NYRB article but proobably will in time.) If that is true the shift may be towards balancing a scale largely tilted in the direction of the "New" history at the expense of the "Old" history. (See for example any recent issue of the JAH for examples of domination of the new history.) One wonders if a correction, no matter how valuable and overdue, can be a shift.

      Gus Seligmann
      Dept of History
      University of North Texas
      gus@cas.unt.edu

[Moderator's note: Most, if not all, of Skocpol's work to date fits into the larger pattern (paradigm?) among some political scientists and, now, historians, of "bringing the state back in." For an overview of the development of this field, see David Brian Robertson, "The Return to History and the New Institutionalism in American Political Science," _Social Science History_ 17 (Spring 1993): 1-36. --RWC] Skocpol on the State

Response: Skocpol on the State [ 3 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Wed, 03 Aug 1994 08:43:38 -0500
From: Spencer Wood <wood@ssc.wisc.edu>

I just received the comments regarding Skocpol's new book as my first post from this discussion group, so forgive me if what I am about to say has already been posted.

Are people aware of the exchange between Theda Skocpol and Linda Gordon regarding _Protecting Mothers..._, which I believe was in an issue of _Signs_ nearly a year or so ago? I think that exchange gets at much of what Gus Seligman and Roger Lohman are discussing. I highly recommend that others get hold of a copy and give it a read.

Additionally, I think there is something to both Lohman and Seligman's points. It is true that much of what was good and useful about Social History, had been lost with the neglect of formal political institutions in the "New Social History". As Seligman points out, howeever, does the re-integration of these formal institutions with the "New Social History" really amount to a pradigm shift? Maybe, I think I tend to agree with Seligman on this. For new paradigms to take foot, they need to
provide better stories or explanations (depending on your alignment between sociology and history!). Linda Gordon raises a number of serious concerns about this Skocpol's new book.

There is some newer work coming
out that is attempting to integrate the "Old Social History" with the "New" and blend it with new forms of cultural history. Have others read Victoria Hattam's _Labor Visions and State Power_? Hattam stresses such a blend.

"Political elites and institutions can no longer be considered the only, or even the primary, domain of politics. Instead, a conscious effort must be made to resituate studies of formal politics in their larger social and cultural context so as to attend to the multiple dimensions of political power" (210).

While Skocpol's book is
not such a piece (in my eyes), I do think that it integrates the Old with the New, by re-introducing more formal political institutions into social history. This, I think, is certainly a welcome addition. One of the key characteristics of the sort of approach argued for by Hattam, is a situating of questions of interpretation at the center of our analysis. I think this sort of aproach is really where the big paradigm shift is coming in. It is the sort of thing that is happening in many other areas as well.

Once again, I hope this is not too repetitive. Thanks.


Skocpol on the State

Skocpol on the State [ 3 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Wed, 03 Aug 1994 11:50:43 -0400 (EDT) From: RLOHMAN@WVNVM

A couple of rejoinders to Gus Seligman's reaction:

  1. I'm not sure how I feel about this list, where the moderators find it

    appropriate to "explain" other people's comments and "cross-post" when the feel like it. I've been a participant in dozens of lists and this is the only one I've ever seen where such centralized control is deemed necessary.

Now, to Seligman:

It appears we are in more substantial agreement than he seems to feel, although we are clearly coming at it from different disciplinary lenses. I was coming out of a social work/sociology mindset which has, in my view, been heavily dominated by the urbanization-industrialization "theory" lens. From this vantage point, Skopol is fascinating because:

  1. She offers a different (much more political) lens; and 2) She relies to a greater extent on the kind of "just the facts" atheoretical empiricism Seligman pines for.

Although *paradigm* is a much-overused buzzword, my point here was an expression of the hope that future welfare state discussions could focus more on the concrete (political) realities of the type Skopol deals with and less on the abstract generalities of modernization theory. While that may represent a retreat into theory for historians, it represents more of a retreat into reality for those of us with other disciplinary lenses.

A final thought: This discussion might go further if others who have actually read Skopol were to chime in.

Roger A. Lohmnan Skocpol on the State

Response: Skocpol on the State [ 4 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Thu, 04 Aug 1994 10:38:09 -0400 (EDT) From: Eileen Boris <ecb4d@darwin.clas.virginia.edu>

The Gordon and Skocpol exchange is not in Signs (that was Gordon and Joan Scott a number of years ago) but rather in a somewhat new and not well circulated journal, Contentions. The best review of the book comes from Alice Kessler-Harris in the Journal of American History earlier this year in which Kessler-Harris reminds us of one major reason why the paternalism/maternalism division is less convincing to those of us who have dug deeply into the primary sources of that period for many years. Many of Skocpol's maternalists championed the same family wage, male breadwinner model that her paternalists also attempted to embody in social policy. Maternalism is a slippery term; it had diverse uses and meanings, depending on the standpoint of the user. (See my comparison of Black and White activist women in the Michel and Koven collection, Mothers of a New World). It certainly is too narrow to confine some of the players (like Florence Kelley) and more complex than presented by Skocpol (see Molly Ladd-Taylor). Most disturbing is the neglect of race as a central component, as the subtext of the debates. Gwendolyn Mink, fortunately, is correcting this lacunae; I am working on the concept of the racialized gendered state; Linda Gordon has done much to illuminate differences among women as well.

This is not to say that Skocpol is not an interesting and important book. But for women's historians, much of what she has to say in that part of her study is old hat, too celebratory, and uncritical ultimately. I would agree that women of the white middle class, broadly construed, played a major role in social provision. Kitty Sklar makes a more compelling case in her biography of Florence Kelley and her earlier articles of how this took place and its historical roots. We are all indebted to Theda Skocpol for bringing the state back in and for theorizing the process of the origins of social policy. Though I tend to think social movements play an important role, I have shifted earlier formulations in part becaue of Skocpol: certainly I can see the ways that implementation of policy is crucial and can trace the administrative structures on policy formation as well as enforcement.

Ann Scott also has a review that places the book better than some written by those who apparently are less familiar with the sources or the literature; it's in Contemporary Sociology, I believe. In part, those who are most involved with the period and the sources are often more critical than others; but, if this book gets others to read about the role of women's organizations in the making of the welfare state, if it gets those who don't read widely in women's history, then women's historians and others involved in the international discussion on gender, race, and the state will be most indebted.
Sorry if this rambles, but I'm taking a break from writing and must get back to my work!

Eileen Boris
History, Howard Univ.
ecb4d@virginia.edu Skocpol/Gordon

Skocpol/Gordon [ 4 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Thu, 04 Aug 1994 20:10:26 -0400 (EDT) From: NANCY MARIE ROBERTSON <ROBRTSNN@ACFcluster.NYU.EDU>

Interchange was in *Contention* 2 #3 (Spring 1993). See also report of roundtable discussion (at either OAH or AHA) by Kloppenburg, Gordon and Fitzpatrick with response by Skocpol reported by Robyn Muncy in *CGWH/CCWHP Newsletter* v.24 #2 May-June 1993. For reviews more critical than Brinkley's, see Alan Wolfe, *The New Republic* 1/4-11/93; Alex Keyssar, *Nation* 4/26/93 and Radical , that is, by Kornbluh in *Radical History Review* 57 (Fall 1993). Kathllen McCarthy had a more positive review in *Reviews in American History* Dec 1993. See also Paula Baker in AHR (April 1993) and Alice Kessler-Harris in JAH (Dec 1993), and Rosenberg in *New York Times* (sorry cite missing, prob 1993).
Interestingly there is no consensus about what is significant, old hat or wrong in the book.
If there was an interchange in *Signs* I would welcome the citation. Nancy Robertson
robrtsnn@acfcluster.nyu.edu Skocpol/Gordon

Skocpol/Gordon [ 4 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Thu, 04 Aug 1994 22:32:48 -0500
From: Spencer Wood <wood@ssc.wisc.edu>

I was, indeed, referring to the exchange between Linda Gordan and Theda Skocpol in _Contentions_, not _Signs_. Sorry for any confusion or misdirection this may have caused. Thanks--Spencer


Skocpol: Gordon on women's Roles in Welfare State Fromation
       Skocpol & Gordon on Women's Role in Welfare State Formation (x [ 5 Aug 1994  ]

-----------------------------------------------------------------              H-Women)

Date: Fri, 05 Aug 1994 10:43:19 -0500
From:COHEN@vaxsar.vassar.edu

I want to echo Eileen Boris's assessment of the place of the Skocpol book in the scholarship on women and the making of the welfare state. I, too, think Alice Kessler-Harris' JAH review is one of the best, along with Linda Gordon's Contentions piece. I would only add with emphasis, that I am increasingly convinced that the Skocpol emphasis on state policymakers alone leaves her uanable to make a proper assessment of the so called "successes" or failures in the development of the welfare state. As I state in a forthcoming revew of the book in Journal of Social History, while reform intellectuals are importnat because they can help to shape an agenda, there are others who wield more power--who control ecnomic resources, or can deliver large voting blocs and can command attention of lawmakers. Thus, as a number of studies have shown American women's marginality still had its costs in terms of providing anything like a meaningful "maternlist" state in the pre-New Deal years, despite Skocpol's celebratory view, especially for African-American women. And, during the New Deal, as Soc. Sec. was being put together, those policy thinkers so important to Skocpol are less important than those politicos such as Frances Perkins, whose job was to put together coalitions of those in a position to bargin--i.e., labor, business, farm interests, i.e., she could ignore Abe Epstein, (actually cut him out) but not Sidney Hillman--and again, the non-mobilized (most women, blacks) were again almost left out. And, I note that the way health care is unfolding today, with perhaps even a less progressive coalition that wields power, is another example of the importance of recgonizing that all the policy wonks in the world, sitting in committee, do not ultimately make policy. (That is a problem I have with Ann Orloff's description of how old age pension policy was enacted into the Soc. Sec. Act. In the end, the emphasis is all on the arguments and debates within the CES, but the moblized forces outside the door, and the folks FDR and Congress will have to listen to have faded into deep background.) In the end, I'd say this debate very much goes to Linda Gordon. I think Eileen is right to point out that the book is useful--it does bring together lots of material--although known to historians of the welfare state, it is done in a provocative way, with a clear argument that has helped to focus the discussion on women and the welfare state.

Miriam Cohen e-mail Cohen@vassar.edu More on Skocpol on the State

More on Skocpol on the State (x H-SHGAPE) [ 5 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Fri, 05 Aug 1994 14:20:52 -0700
From: Richard R. John

In regard to the recents posts on Skocpol's Protecting Soldiers and Mothers and, in particular, to Professor Lohmann's claim that the popularity of her approach constitutes a shift away from empirical and toward theoretical history, I would like to make three observations:

(1) The leading American political historians of the 1950s and early 1960s were by no means hyperempiricists, as Professor Lohmann seems to imply. Indeed, much of their distinctiveness lay precisely in their self-conscious embrace of the concept of "society" and in their preoccupation with "social forces"--which was, in that era, an extremely daring and broad-gauged way to write political history. This was true not only for self-conscious methodological innovators like Richard Hofstadter, Lee Benson, and David Donald but also for narrative historians like David Potter.

(2) Skocpol's critique of "society-centered" historical writing is far more of a critique of the unchallenged faith of this previous generation of historians with the concept of society as an organizing theme and with their stress upon the causal primacy of social forces in shaping the pattern of the past as it is an assault upon empiricism per se. Indeed, her work is distinctly more empiricist in its orientation than is much of what passes for historically informed political science. (Which helps explain, I think, why fair-minded historians like Alan Brinkley are so quick to stress its importance.) What distinguishes it, rather, is its expansive conception of the proper domain of political history. In place of the familiar constellation of monster abstractions--urbanization, social mobility, class conflict, etc.-Skocpol turns our attention to actual institutional processes and relationships. This, and not some alleged penchant for abstraction, is the key to its importance for historians today.

(3) One of the major reasons that Skocpol's approach is seen as so novel is because historians of the Gilded Age have long been accustomed to treating the history of party behavior as their major--if not their only-- interpretative challenge. Indeed, if there is a "paradigm-shift" in the making, as Professor Lohmann contends, I would think that it involves not only a rejection of some of the cardinal premises of the 'new' social history--that is, its preoccupation with the concept of "society" and with "social forces" as primary causal agents--but also a welcome broadening of the domain of political history. Political historians no longer need confine themselves to writing a history of party behavior, or so Skocpol's work suggests; rather, they can aspire to write the history of the political processes that have helped to shape the social groups, cultural forms and institutional practices that make the United States what it is today. This, I submit, is the importance of Skocpol's work for historians, and not its putative assault upon empiricism.

Richard R. John
University of Illinois at Chicago Skocpol on the State

Response: SKocpol on the State [ 6 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Sat, 06 Aug 1994 18:15:14 -0600 (MDT) From: USERLIEB@mts.ucs.ualberta.ca <Helen Liebel>

To Gus in North Texas
Paradigm shift ? One must be careful when this sort of jargon is tossed about. The generally accepted set of interpretations of a field may gain acceptance among professionals, but they can be all wrong. New history is always emerging when there is a generation shift. That has happened in American academe several times in this century. The Europeans are much less prone to pitching their arguments to headline snatching of this sort.
In Canada the idea of the welfare state may have reached a peak in the 1970s when Pierre Trudeau was Prime Minister. At the provincial level there seems to be some de-statization going on and the public sector is being privatized to a degree unknown since the 18th century in England. Even the prisons maybe. More on Skocpol on the State

More on Skocpol on the State [ 6 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Sat, 06 Aug 1994 20:45:58 -0600 (MDT) From: USERLIEB@mts.ucs.ualberta.ca

re New History and other slogans
Historians have traditionally been interested in the history of a nation, but then emphasized the history of governments. Some special emphasis studies such as social, eco, histories were called fragmentary by Hegel early in the 19th century. Today they often dominate. Since the enormous influence of Max Weber and the rise of sociology as a discipline, history has been sociologized. Now there seems to be some interest in reversing that trend. But sociology also has a subdivision called political sociology. So the Annales approach (everything goes) continues. However, modern theory of history seems to be lagging. The understanding of epistemology and explanation seems underdeveloped. One can certainly study policy making ( a kind of official history ?) but when it comes to social problems dealt with in welfare legislation, a clear conception of what motivates the actors would help the writer overcome received dogma. H.Liebel Skocpol on the State

Response: SKocpol on the State [ 8 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Mon, 08 Aug 1994 11:11:53 -0400 (EDT) From: GRETCHEN KNAPP <V083J9VH@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu>

I recommend John F. McClymer's War and Welfare: Social Engineering in America, 1890-1925 (Greenwood, 1980) and a nice set of essays in Donald Critchlow and Ellis Hawley, eds., Federal Social Policy" The Historical Dimenstion (PSU, 1988). As you can guess, I'm most interested in war and welfare. BTW, Does anyone have comments on Bruce Porter's War and the Rise of the State (Free Press, 1994)? I thought it was rather light on 20th C US.

Gretchen Knapp
History
SUNY at Buffalo More on Skocpol on the State

More on Skocpol on the State (X H-SHGAPE) [ 10 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Wed, 10 Aug 1994 13:12:59 -0700
From: Daniel Levine <dlevine@polar.Bowdoin.EDU>

Don't throw away lectures on the state and U.S. society yet on the basis of Skocpol's findings on Civil War pensions. Rewards to soldiers was nothing new--they existed in the Revolution--nor unique. Remember the "bonus army"? They were more significant for the CW partly because there were simply more soldiers and partly because the GAR and the GOP were closely entertwined. But I have read all congressional debates, including committee hearings on the Social Security Act as well as a good deal of the periodical literature from the time, and as far as I remember the Civil War pensions were never referred to, either as a positive example to be followed or a negative one to be avoided. Pensions to soldiers (and their dependents) were simply another conceptual category than general old age pensions, or other aspects of the welfare state. No one saw a connection, and doesn't creating a connection now distort the past? More on Skocpol on the State

More on Skocpol on the State (X H-SHGAPE) [ 12 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Fri, 12 Aug 1994 05:15:10 -0500 (CDT) From: michel sonya a. <herfmich@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>

I think Daniel Levine may be telescoping Skocpol's argument re: Civil War pensions as precedents for Social Security somewhat. That is, he is skipping over several important chapters in her book wherein she shows how Civil War pensions were, if anything, precedents for Mothers' Pensions (and there many advocates did draw parallels between motherhood and soldiering as forms of service to the state), which, in turn, served as one of the precedents for at least part of Social Security (namely ADC). Thus the genealogy is more complicated than Levine suggests.

Sonya Michel <skocpol the="the" and="and" state</title="State</title"> </head> <body> <p> Skocpol and the State [ 18 Aug 1994 ] <hr> Date: Thu, 18 Aug 1994 11:01:31 -0700 (PDT) From: Megan McClintock <<a href="mailto:meganmac@u.washington.edu">meganmac@u.washington.edu</a>> I apologize for entering this discussion so late, but I just returned from vacation. Without disputing the importance of _Protecting Soldiers and Mothers_ for the reasons others have outlined (her focus on the political process and political institutions in the formulation of policy), there are several criticisms I would like to make. I just completed a dissertation on Civil War pensions, specifically on the benefits for family members, so I feel most competent commenting on that section of Skocpol's book. Because she relied almost entirely on secondary sources, none of which give much attention to the pensions granted to families, Skocpol misses what was, in fact, truly remarkable about the Civil War pension system: the expansion of federal responsibility for women, children and the elderly. Had she included the benefits for widows, orphans, parents, and siblings, her argument about the extensive involvement by the federal government in social welfare as early as the mid-19th C. would have been even stronger. In other ways, however, a more complete discussion of the Civil War pension system undermines her dichotomy between paternalist and maternalist programs, because Civil War pensions took care of not only male breadwinners but women and children as well. In addition, her analysis of patronage politics, while convincing as an explanation for the timing and substance of veterans benefits, does not account for legislation aimed at families. The picture, I believe, is much more complex than Skocpol's formulation allows. <pre> Megan McClintock University of Washington, Tacoma </pre> </body> </html> <html> <head> <title>Skocpol/Civil War Pensions/Levine's comments

Skocpol/Civil War pensions/Levine's comments [ 19 Aug 1994 ]


Date: Fri, 19 Aug 1994 12:43:04 -0500
From: orloff@ssc.wisc.edu
To: "@UAFSYSB.UARK.EDU:owner-h-state@UICVM.UIC.EDU"@ssc.wisc.edu

On the basis of my own research in the primary sources, policymakers and academics through the Progressive Era made explicit connections between the experience of Civil War pensions and proposals for modern old age pensions and other social provision -- tho with the dying out of the Civil War cohorts bybthe 1930s, this connection was not commented upon in the later decade, when Social Security was being debated. Moreover, in their scope, Civil War pensions went far beyond what other military pension systems did (a point documented by Skocpol). And, finally, as someone who's worked with Skocpol and read her book, I can say that the findings are not based solely on secondary sources (as some who've commented have stated).
Ann Orloff
Sociology/U of Wisconsin-Madison
orloff@ssc.wisc.edu

p.s. see my THE POLITICS OF PENSIONS: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF BRITAIN, CANADA, AND THE UNITED STATES (Wisconsin, 1993) for documentation re the explicit connections being made between civil war pensions and old age pension



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