The Latent Function of Welfare Un-Reform

Bill Schanefelt
There has been much gnashing of teeth over the fact that the Obama Administration's recent decree on welfare reform means that practicing yoga or bed rest would count as work for purposes of admitting people to welfare rolls, but there well may be another purpose of the action-intended or unintended.   Thomas Merton gave Sociology an important pair of concepts:   Manifest and latent functions are social scientific concepts....(by)sharpening the conceptual tools to be employed in a functional analysis. Manifest functions and dysfunctions are conscious and deliberate, the latent ones the unconscious and unintended.  While functions are intended (manifest) or unintended (latent), and have a positive effect on society, dysfunctions are unintended or unrecognized (latent) and have a negative effect on society.   The Republicans are in full-blown outrage over the manifest functions, or goals, of the action:   Republicans are questioning the...(Read Full Post)

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