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Welfare Workings: Popular Politics and the Public in Contemporary India

Our working group, titled ‘Welfare Workings: Popular Politics and the Public in Contemporary India’ comprises doctoral students from the disciplines of Anthropology, History and Sociology, with a shared interest in practices of development and welfare in colonial and post-colonial India. Over the past summer, each of us conducted small fieldwork and archival projects, tying our group’s focus on the multiple, contested, and dynamic meanings and enactments of welfare to diverse historical and geographical contexts in South Asia, ranging from the workings of the rural bureaucracy in Karnataka, NGO programs on women’s empowerment in Himachal Pradesh, late colonial histories of ‘public works’ projects in Uttarakhand, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs in the context of mining projects in Jharkhand. Building on these summer projects, the group sought to use our meetings to ground our preliminary empirical findings in relevant theoretical debates on welfare, development, and the changing nature of the Indian state. We formulated an exciting lecture-discussion meeting format to integrate our analysis of critical scholarship on these themes with the relevant expertise of faculty and visiting scholars at UCLA. Our speaker-discussions included a conversation with Dr. Kevan Hariss, Sociology, on welfare in the context of neoliberalization in the global south; with Prof. Akhil Gupta, Anthropology, on the developmental state in India; and with visiting scholar Alf Nielsen on development projects, hegemony and resistance in western India. Further, we organized a public talk, in collaboration with the Center for India and South Asia, with Dr. Vivek Srinivasan titled ‘Delivering Public Services Effectively: Tamil Nadu and Beyond’. Our reading group continues to read key thematic texts in the Spring quarter and aims to develop a concise literature review on the topic over the coming months.

By: Hannah Carlan, Nafis Hasan, Tanya Matthan, Nivedita Nath, Gabriel Locke Suchodolski, Anthropology, History, and Sociology.

Political Sociology and the Global South Working Group

With generous assistance from the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin, the Political Sociology and the Global South working group has been a success in advancing research, critical thought, and alliances on issues in the Global South. Our working group, led by a group of graduate student coordinators across the social sciences, is an intellectual community of graduate students and scholars who share interests on the intersecting issues of Global South socioeconomic development and underdevelopment, political and social movements, labor, and state-society relations. Our working group is open to all regardless of enrollment status. In the fall quarter, we had two students — Leydy Diossa and Emma Colven — present drafts of their paper while also hosting professors —William Robinson, from UC-Santa Barbara, and Steven McKay, from UC- Santa Cruz. We followed the fall quarter with a strong winter quarter that had three students — Joel Herrera, Pei Palgren, and Andrew Le — present their work while three external speakers — Phillip Hough from Florida Atlantic University, Aihwa Ong from Berkeley, and Yen Le Espiritu from UC- San Diego — also came to our working group. We plan on completing the academic year with Summer Gray, Leslie Salzinger, and Vivek Chibber visiting us from their respective universities along with student presentations by Cory Mengual and Dan Zipp. We will cap the year off with a mini-conference that connects with themes of our working group and the Institute.

By: Kenton Card, Matias Fernandez, Andrew N. Le, Urban Planning and Sociology.

Who Owes What to Whom? From For-Profit Colleges to Payday Lenders: Next Steps in the Debtors Movement

Professor: Hannah Appel, Anthropology

Project Description: The Debt Collective is a team of debtors, organizers, technologists, media, and legal experts that is building a platform to allow members — whether they are low-wage workers, mortgage holding families, people caught up in the court and human caging system or struggling former college students — to renegotiate, resist, and refuse unfair debts. Leveraging the collective power of mass indebtedness, we offer debtors a shared platform for organization, advocacy, and direct action. We are building debtors unions. Alone, our debts are a burden; together, they make us powerful.

Income Inequality and Income Mobility for American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders

Professor: Randall Akee, Public Policy

Project Description: This project investigates the well-known phenomenon of increasing income inequality and reduced economic mobility in the U.S. in recent years.[1] The analysis is novel in that we are able to separate out differences across the major race and ethnic groups in the U.S. Previous researchers have been unable to conduct this type of analysis given the relatively small sample sizes in survey data for certain race and ethnic groups. This table shows the discrepancies across the race and ethnic groups in terms of the top and bottom shares of income distribution in the United States for the years 2000 and 2014.

The share of income accruing to the top 10 percent of the population of all tax filers was about 41 percent in 2000 and 40 percent in 2014. Looking across the columns for 2000, about 90 percent of the income that accrued to the top 10 percent of tax filers went to Whites, while about 2.5 percent went to Hispanics, 2.1 percent to Blacks, 0.25 percent to American Indians, and 5.3 percent to Asians. At the bottom of the panel, we report the proportion of the population of each of these groups for our restricted sample of tax filers ages 25–65. Comparing the share of the population to the share of income accruing to each group provides an additional measure of inequality. Whites received a strongly disproportionate share of top income, while Asians received slightly more than their proportionate share. Meanwhile Hispanics, Blacks, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and Others accrued less than their proportionate share of total income in the top 10 percent. Looking at Panel B (2014), there are noticeable changes over time: The share accruing to Whites decreased to about 84 percent and the share for Hispanics increased to 4 percent. However, the proportion of Whites in the population decreased to about 70 percent, while Hispanics increased to about 13 percent. Asians realized an increase to an 8 percent share while Blacks, American Indians, and Pacific Islanders did not realize any noticeable changes at the top 10 percent over this time period.

This analysis is repeated for the Top 1%, Top 0.1% and the Bottom 1% in the income distribution.

 Full working paper is available at: www.census.gov

[1] This draft is released to inform interested parties of research and to encourage discussion. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Global Youth Justice: Defining Criminal Responsibility in Law and Practice

Professor: Laura Abrams, Social Welfare

Project Description: The goal of this study is to investigate the historical development and implementation of policies and practices related to age and youth justice. We will look at variation in definitions and constructions of age and criminal responsibility, the ways that these policies and practices are currently in flux due to discourses of neo-liberalism, extended age of adolescence, and neuroscience, and what these cases can teach the U.S. about de-incarceration. Purposively selecting four nations as case studies,we pose the following questions: 1)How are “children,” “youth,” “young adults,” and “adults” distinguished, discursively and practically, within global criminal justice systems? 2)How do state-level policies and institutional practices reflect these constructions? 3)What blend of political, economic, or social factors are driving changes and controversies in the policy arena concerning youth justice? 4)How do stakeholders, including policy makers, practitioners, and currently and formerly incarcerated youth view the effectiveness of these policies and practices in promoting youth well being and public safety?

The goal will be to delve into definitions, meanings, and formulations of strategies to address the problem of youth offending in locations with a diverse range of policies and services for young offenders. Four countries have been selected reflecting various combinations of the age of juvenile justice jurisdiction and the age of criminal majority. These four countries will include: a) England/Wales(lower ages in both categories, yet special young offender institutions for 18-21 year olds);b) Belize(low age of juvenile justice jurisdiction and low age of criminal majority); c) Finland (high age of both categories; child welfare involvement for youth under 15, and special provisions for 18-20 year olds); and d) Argentina, (high age of juvenile justice jurisdiction, low age of criminal majority).These four countries represent unique strategies and challenges in their approach to reducing peak age offending .

The findings provide insight into how the category of “juvenile” is conceptualized and delineated within diverse youth justice systems. Read the draft report on this study (paper under review: please do not cite without author’s permission): What is a juvenile? A cross-national comparison of youth justice systems

Recapping our Housing and Activism Series: Despite the Contentious Past, Presenting Hope for the Future

#ChallengeIneq Newsletter

In this newsletter, our very first, we share glimpses of our work…

The Displacement Alert Project Map

The DAP Map is a building-by-building, web-based interactive map designed to show where residential tenants may be facing significant displacement pressures and where affordable apartments are most threatened across New York City. It is a publicly accessible, interactive data visualization of residential buildings and neighborhood conditions throughout New York City. The DAP Map is meant […]

Resource Guide for Resistance

The UCLA Abolitionist Planning Group produced a resource guide that outlines their first steps to understand Trumpism as a moment in United States politics. Committed to a philosophy of abolitionism, they seek to understand how urban planning, as discipline and professional practice, can analyze and address the systematic oppressions expanded and institutionalized by the new administration.

The Making of A Movement

Funmilola Fagbamila, our 2017 Activist-in-Residence, discusses the inception of the Black Lives Matter movement, the importance of recalling and writing this history, and the transformation of social justice activism under the current political regime.

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