Frances Fox Piven on the Development of the Welfare State, Voting, and Activism in the Academy

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In this episode of the JustPublics@365 podcast series, I interview Distinguished Professor Frances Fox Piven (Graduate Center, CUNY). Professor Piven is an expert in the development of the welfare state, political movements, urban politics, voting, and electoral politics, and she has been politically engaged with improving the lives of America’s poor since the 1960s. She has taught at several universities in the United States and Europe and among her many books are the bestselling Poor People’s Movements (1977), one of four books she coauthored with Richard A. Cloward; Mean Season: The Attack on the Welfare State (1987); Why Americans Don’t Vote (1989); Why Americans Still Don’t Vote: And Why Politicians Want It That Way (2000); Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America (2008), with Joshua Cohen. In addition, she was invited to write introductions to re-issued volumes of The Lean Years (2010) and The Turbulent Years (2010), both by Irving Bernstein. In this episode, we address the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the Voting Rights Act, her work as an activist, and her research on the welfare system in America.


Podcast – Frances Fox Piven



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This post is part of the JustPublics@365 Podcast Series. The podcast series features CUNY Graduate Center faculty who are working on issues of social justice and inequality. If you have any questions, research that you would like to share, or are interested in being interviewed for the series, please contact Heidi Knoblauch at