Deserving and Entitled
Social Constructions and Public Policy
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Explores the contradictions between the American ideal of equality and the realities of public policy.
Public policy in the United States is marked by a contradiction between the American ideal of equality and the reality of an underclass of marginalized and disadvantaged people who are widely viewed as undeserving and incapable. Deserving and Entitled provides a close inspection of many different policy arenas, showing how the use of power and the manipulation of images have made it appear both natural and appropriate that some target populations benefit from policy, while others do not. These social constructions of deservedness and entitlement, unless challenged, become amplified over time and institutionalized into permanent lines of social, economic, and political cleavage. The contributors here express concern that too often public policy sends messages harmful to democracy and contributes significantly to the pattern of uneven political participation in the United States.
Anne L. Schneider is Dean of the College of Public Programs at Arizona State University. Helen M. Ingram is Professor Emerita of Planning, Policy, and Design and Political Science at the University of California at Irvine, and Research Fellow, Southwest Center, at the University of Arizona. Schneider and Ingram have published many books, including coauthoring Policy Design for Democracy.