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Abstract

The key concepts which require some basic definitions in the title are "social welfare, social control and coercion". For the purposes of this paper, social welfare is defined as those public programs designed to provide an individual who is in financial need with the resources (financial and/or in kind) to exist in our society. Social control refers to the entire range of actions and pressures which are designed to lead the individual to function within society without threatening to disrupt the social order. These actions and pressures are embodied in sanctions for enforcing group norms as well as in formal sanctions formulated through laws or administrative rulings. The sanctions are physical, material and/or symbolic [Etzioni, 1964]. Coercive refers to situations in which individuals either have no viable options available to them in making decisions or are required to conform to a specific classification or perform specific actions or desist from specific actions in order to obtain that which is an entitlement to resources and/or services. Kallen contends that coercion obtains whenever the action or thought of one individual or group is compelled or restrained by another through some form of physical or moral compulsion [Kallen, 1933]. There can be little doubt that the action of welfare recipients are frequently compelled or restrained through physical means, i.e., the level of assistance; and moral compulsions, t.e., the myths which define them as inferior.

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