Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban Studies


School of Urban Planning and Regional Studies

Major Professor

Gladstone, David

Second Advisor

Ehernfeucht, Renia

Third Advisor

Ehrenreich, Jeffrey


From the time of the "war on poverty" of 1964, to the era of "welfare reform" in 1990s, the federal welfare system underwent a change from a model that acted to protect citizens from the vagaries of the market economy to one that mandated their participation in the paid labor force. For a shift in policy of this magnitude to occur and be unquestioningly accepted by the public, a significant change also had to occur in how poverty and welfare issues were discussed and perceived over the intervening years. Using discourse analysis, this study examines how editorials in elite newspapers framed the issues of poverty and welfare in the months prior to the passage of the Economic Opportunity Act (1964) and the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (1996). It also addresses how newspaper editorials influenced public perception about the nature and causes of poverty and welfare reliance.


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