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            Guest For  WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 29, 2008



                               (Originally aired: 03-06-08)                  

                        FRANCES FOX PIVEN PhD


        Professor of Political Science and Sociology

       Graduate Center - City University of New York



                        "Challenging Authority -

            How Ordinary People Change America"



The program can be viewed in its entirety by clicking the you tube link below:

   Frances Fox Piven PhD - Air date: 03-06-08 - FRANCES FOX PIVEN PhD



More about: FRANCES FOX PIVEN     

Biographical Note - Frances Fox Piven PhD

Widely recognized as one of America's most thoughtful and provocative commentators on America's social welfare system, Frances Fox Piven, political scientist, activist, and educator, was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1932. She came to the U.S. in 1933 and was naturalized in 1953, the same year she received her B.A. in City Planning from the University of Chicago. She also received her M.A. (1956) and Ph.D. (1962) from the University of Chicago. While married to Herman Piven, she had a daughter, Sarah. After a brief stint in New York as a city planner, she became a research associate at one of the country's first anti-poverty agencies, Mobilization for Youth -- a comprehensive, community-based service organization on New York City's Lower East Side. At its height the organization coordinated more than fifty experimental programs designed to reduce poverty and crime. A 1965 paper entitled "Mobilizing the Poor: How It Can Be Done," launched Piven and her co-author, Columbia University professor Richard Cloward, into an ongoing national conversation on the welfare state. Piven and Cloward's collaborative work came to influence both careers, and the two eventually married. Their early work together provided a theoretical base for the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO), the first in a long line of grass-roots organizations in which Piven acted as founder, advisor, and/or planner. Piven taught in the Columbia University School of Social Work from 1966 to 1972. From 1972 to 1982 she was a professor of political science at Boston University. In 1982 she joined the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She has co-authored with Richard Cloward Regulating the Poor: The Functions of Public Welfare (1971); The Politics of Turmoil: Essays on Poverty, Race and the Urban Crisis (1974); Poor People's Movements (1977); The New Class War (1982); The Mean Season (1987); Why Americans Don't Vote (1988); and The Breaking of the American Social Compact (1997), as well as dozens of articles, both with Cloward and independently, in scholarly and popular publications.

Piven is known equally for her contributions to social theory and for her social activism. Over the course of her career, she has served on the boards of the ACLU and the Democratic Socialists of America, and has also held offices in several professional associations, including the American Political Science Association and the Society for the Study of Social Problems. In the 1960s, Piven worked with welfare-rights groups to expand benefits; in the eighties and nineties she campaigned relentlessly against welfare cutbacks. A veteran of the war on poverty and subsequent welfare-rights protests both in New York City and on the national stage, she has been instrumental in formulating the theoretical underpinnings of those movements. In Regulating the Poor , Piven and Cloward argued that any advances the poor have made throughout history were directly proportional to their ability to disrupt institutions that depend upon their cooperation. This academic commentary proved useful to George Wiley and the NWRO as well as a great many other community organizers and urban theorists. Since 1994, Piven has led academic and activist opposition to the "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996," (known as the Personal Responsibility Act), appearing in numerous public forums, from television's Firing Line to the U.S. Senate, to discuss the history of welfare and the potential impact of welfare reform initiatives.

In corollary activity, Piven's study of voter registration and participation patterns found fruition in the 1983 founding of the HumanSERVE (Human Service Employees Registration and Voter Education) Campaign. The Campaign's registration reform effort culminated in the 1994 passage of the National Voter Registration Act, or the "Motor-Voter" bill, designed to increase voter registration, especially among low-income groups.

Michael Harrington, whose book The Other America helped focus the nation's attention on poverty in the early 1960s, has said that Piven is "one of the few academics who bridge the world of scholarship and the world of activism." Of this mix, Piven herself has said: "One informs the other, energizes the other . . . There are dimensions of political life that can't be seen if you stay on the sidelines or close to the top . . ." The larger significance of both activism and academics in Piven's life can be gleaned from her remark that such work "also has to do with comradeship and friendship, . . . with being part of the social world in which you live and trying to make some imprint on it, . . . with the real satisfaction of throwing in with the ordinary people who have always been the force for humanitarian social change."


Frances Fox Piven

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Frances Fox Piven, born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1932, is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at The Graduate Center, City University of New York.

She earned her PhD from the University of Chicago in 1962. In 2006-2007 she served as the President of the American Sociological Association. She was married to her long-time collaborator, Richard Cloward, who died in 2001.



[edit] Activism

Throughout her career, Piven has combined academic work with activism. One example: In 1983, she was cofounder of Human SERVE, an organization dedicated to getting people to register to vote. The group's proposition was that people should be asked to register to vote when applying for social services or using the services of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Since it is particularly the poor who often fail to register to vote—Piven knew this from her research—they tended to be disenfranchised. Human SERVE's initiative was taken up by the Clinton administration and made it into the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, colloquially called the "motor voter bill" (Ehrenreich 2006).

[edit] Honors and Awards

She has been honored with the American Sociological Association Career Award for the Practice of Sociology (2000), the Mary Lepper Award of the Womens' Caucus of the American Political Science Association (1998); the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Political Sociology Section of the American Sociology Association; the Tides Foundation Award for Excellence in Public Advocacy (1995); the Annual Award of the National Association of Secretaries of State (1994); President's Award of the American Public Health Association (1993), Lee/Founders Award of the Society for the Study of Social Problems; the Eugene V. Debs Foundation Prize; and the C. Wright Mills Award. (http://web.gc.cuny.edu/Sociology/faculty/)

[edit] Bibliography

  • Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006)
  • The War at Home: The Domestic Costs of Bush's Militarism (New Press, 2004)
  • Labor Parties in Postindustrial Societies (Oxford University Press, 1992)

With Richard Cloward:

  • Why Americans Still Don't Vote: And Why Politicians Want it That Way (Beacon, 2000)
  • The Breaking of the American Social Compact (New Press, 1997)
  • Why Americans Don't Vote: And Why Politicians Want it That Way (Beacon, 1988)
  • New Class War: Reagan's Attack on the Welfare State and Its Consequences (Pantheon, 1982)
  • Poor People's Movements: Why the Succeed, How they Fail (Pantheon, 1977)
  • Regulating the Poor: The Functions of Public Welfare (Pantheon, 1971)

With Lee Staples and Richard Cloward:

  • Roots to Power: A Manual for Grassroots Organizing (Praeger, 1984)

The Frances Fox Piven Papers are held by Smith College; the Fivecolleges.edu website outlines the Scope and Contents of the Collection

[edit] Sources and References




                            Wednesday  October 29, 2008

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