This chapter introduces the reader to the women interviewed and the setting of the research. The chapter reviews what researchers know about the connections among poverty, battering, and work. The chapter identifies the central issue driving the book: the contradictions that arise from casting women’s work as the solution to poverty and battering, especially given the reality of work-related coercive control in the lives of welfare recipients. The chapter concludes with descriptions of the three data sources (interviews with a cohort of 40 welfare recipients enrolled in a welfare-to-work program; thousands of administrative records with data on earnings, welfare, and protective orders; stories and analyses written by eight women in a community literacy project) and of the organization of the book.
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