Single welfare mothers' resistance

Yvonne M. Luna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Popular conceptions of welfare recipients are congruous with policy constructions that attribute responsibility for poverty to personal decisions and choices. This research investigates the ways welfare mothers resist these negative constructions. Resistance strategies are methods that the participants in this study used to minimize the pejorative constructions associated with a welfare identity. Focus groups with 64 single welfare mothers and personal interviews with eight of those women reveal two categories of resistance strategies-overt and covert. The less common type of resistance practiced by the women participants, perhaps because of risk of punishment, is overt resistance. This includes oppositional culture, fighting the system, and maintaining control in a McDonaldized welfare culture. Covert resistance strategies are avoidance, withdrawal, and dissociation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-461
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Poverty
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009


  • Avoidance
  • Dissociation
  • McDonaldization
  • Oppositional culture
  • Public assistance
  • Resistance
  • Single welfare mothers
  • Welfare
  • Withdrawal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Sociology and Political Science


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