Maximum Feasible Participation : American Literature and the War on Poverty

Maximum Feasible Participation : American Literature and the War on Poverty


This book traces American writers' contributions and responses to the War on Poverty. Its title comes from the 1964 Opportunity Act, which established a network of federally funded Community Action Agencies that encouraged "maximum feasible participation" by the poor. With this phrase, the Johnson administration provided its imprimatur for an emerging model of professionalism that sought to eradicate boundaries between professionals and their clients-a model that appealed to writers, especially African Americans and Chicanos/as associated with the cultural nationalisms gaining traction in the inner cities. These writers privileged artistic process over product, rejecting conventions that separated writers from their audiences.

"Participatory professionalism," however, drew on a social scientific conception of poverty that proved to be the paradigm's undoing: the culture of poverty thesis popularized by Oscar Lewis, Michael Harrington, and Daniel Moynihan. For writers and policy experts associated with the War on Poverty, this thesis described the cultural gap that they hoped to close. Instead, it eventually led to the dismantling of the welfare state. Ranging from the 1950s to the present, the book explores how writers like Jack Kerouac, Amiri Baraka, Gwendolyn Brooks, Oscar Zeta Acosta, Alice Walker, Philip Roth, and others exposed the War on Poverty's contradictions during its heyday and kept its legacy alive in the decades that followed.

Similar Books

ISBN 10: 1503603806
ISBN 13: 9781503603806

31 Oct 2017
Cristobal Young

ISBN 10: 1503602915
ISBN 13: 9781503602915

25 Jul 2017
Londa Schiebinger

ISBN 10: 150336528X
ISBN 13: 9781503365285

26 Nov 2014
Thomas Carter

ISBN 10: 1503351998
ISBN 13: 9781503351998

23 Nov 2014
Hernan Moreyra

ISBN 10: 1507860528
ISBN 13: 9781507860526

10 Feb 2015
Russell Conwell

ISBN 10: 1501730134
ISBN 13: 9781501730139

15 Nov 2018
Garrett Stewart

ISBN 10: 150335072X
ISBN 13: 9781503350724

22 Jan 2015
Andy Johnson

ISBN 10: 150670316X
ISBN 13: 9781506703169

03 Apr 2018

ISBN 10: 150372011X
ISBN 13: 9781503720114

01 Jan 2017

ISBN 10: 1503603865
ISBN 13: 9781503603868

27 Feb 2018
Kelly Bulkeley

ISBN 10: 0983398607
ISBN 13: 9780983398608

31 Mar 2011
David Thibault

ISBN 10: 150335184X
ISBN 13: 9781503351844

22 Nov 2014
Alberto R Estrada