Overthrowing the Queen - Telling Stories of Welfare in America
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Examining the popular myths and unseen realities of welfare, this study reveals the political power of folklore and the possibilities of storytelling. In 1976, Ronald Reagan hit the campaign trail with an extraordinary account of a woman committing massive welfare fraud. The story caught fire and a devastating symbol of the misuse government programs was born: the Welfare Queen.Overthrowing the Queen examines these legends of fraud and abuse while bringing to light personal stories of hardship and hope told by cashiers, bus drivers, and business owners; politicians and aid providers; and, most important, aid recipients themselves. Together these stories reveal how the seemingly innocent act of storytelling can create powerful stereotypes that shape public policy. They also showcase redemptive counter-narratives that offer hope for a more accurate and empathetic view of poverty in America today.Overthrowing the Queen tackles perceptions of welfare recipients while proposing new approaches to the study of oral narrative that extend far beyond the study of welfare, poverty, and social justice.