38 J. Soc. & Soc. Welfare 73 (2011)
Child Support as Labor Regulation

handle is hein.journals/jrlsasw38 and id is 473 raw text is: Child Support as Labor Regulation
YIYoON CHUNG
University of Wisconsin-Madison
School of Social Work
The development of child support policy over the past three decades
provides an emblematic case study of the ways in which a new
policy that reflects the rise of moral arguments about individual and
family responsibility, once established, produces significant conse-
quences for both the economic sphere and political dialogues. I use
social control theory to examine a rarely appreciated consequence
of child support policies: labor regulation. Particularly, I demon-
strate the ways in which the discourse embedded in child support
has exalted the importance of work even under the lowest terms,
and has deflected public attention away from labor market issues.
Key words: child support, welfare, labor regulation, social control
theory, parental responsibility, social constructions, noncustodial
fathers, family discourse
The development of the child support system over the
past three decades provides an emblematic case study of the
ways in which a new policy that reflects the rise of moral ar-
guments about individual and family responsibility, once es-
tablished, produces significant consequences for both the eco-
nomic sphere and political dialogues. In this paper, I use social
control theory to examine a rarely appreciated economic and
political consequence of child support policies: labor regula-
tion. In addition, I describe the ways in which a view of family
that glorifies male bread-winners supporting their families
through paid work is enmeshed in this process.
Americans have experienced increasing inequality and
insecurity for the last three decades (Hacker, Mettler, & Soss,
Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, September 2011, Volume XXXVIII, Number 3
73

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