Mimi Abramovitz

Professor of Social Welfare and Women's and Gender Studies, Hunter College CUNY

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About Mimi

Abramovitz writings overarching themes include History US Welfare State, the Impact of Neoliberalism on the US Welfare State; Contemporary Social Welfare Policy Issues; Low Income Women’s Activism; and Class, Race, Gender and Social Welfare Policy.

In the News

Opinion: "How Companies Can Fix Labor Shortages," Mimi Abramovitz, The New York Times, August 30, 2021.
Opinion: "‘Government Is the Solution, Not the Problem’," Mimi Abramovitz, The New York Times, March 21, 2021.
Opinion: "A Real Chance to End Poverty," Mimi Abramovitz (with Deepak Bhargava), Medium, March 10, 2021.
Opinion: "Social Work Agencies: Adopt the Business Model at Your Peril," Mimi Abramovitz (with Jennifer R. Zelnick), The New Social Worker, 2020.
Opinion: "Voting Is Social Work: Voter Empowerment and the National Social Work Voter Mobilization Campaign," Mimi Abramovitz (with Terry Mizrahi), The New Social Worker, 2018.
Quoted by Allan Barsky in "Ethics Alive! Elections in Light of Social Work Values," The New Social Workwer, 2020.
Opinion: "Social Security for All," Mimi Abramovitz (with Depak Bhargava), The American Prospect, September 22, 2020.
Opinion: "The US Safety Net Is Degrading by Design," Mimi Abramovitz (with Depak Bhargava and Tammy Thomas Miles), The Nation, September 17, 2020.
Quoted by Kay Dervishi in "The Drawbacks of Treating Social Work Like a Business," NYN Media, September 2, 2020.


"Structural Racism, Managerialism, and the Future of the Human Services: Rewriting the Rules" (with Jennifer Zelnick). The Guide to Interpersonal Psychotherapy (2021).

Illustrates how over the past several decades, the introduction of the business model, managerialism, into the human services has led to dramatic changes in conditions of work and service delivery. Discusses the analysis of the combined negative impact of managerialism and structural racism on human services organizations and names the problem and presses us to rewrite the rules so we become a racial justice profession.

"Social Structures of Accumulation and the US Welfare State" in Handbook on Social Structure of Accumulation Theory, edited by Terrence McDonough, Cian McMahon and David M. Kotz (Elgar Publishing, 2021), 281-302.

Applies the Social Structures of Accumulation Crisis theory to the expansion  and contraction of the US welfare state. Introduces the concept of a Capital-Gender Accord and Capital Race Accord to the well-known  concept of the Capital Labor Accord  to explain the resolution  of social, economic and pollical conflict in each arena.    

"Democratic Socialism, Socialist Feminism and the US Welfare State" in An Inheritance for Our Times: The Principles and Politics of Democratic Socialism (OR Books, 2020), 261-277.

Discusses how welfare states mediate conflicts between the requirements for profitable production & effective social reproduction (or care work). Elaoborates on how social structures of accumulation and feminist theories reveal that from 1935 to 1975, welfare states underwrote the costs of social reproduction easing the crisis & strains of women's Depression-era and post-war care work.

"From the Welfare State to the Carceral State: Whither Social Reproduction" in Democracy and the Welfare State ( Columbia University Press, 2018), 197-196.

Discusses Post-war welfare states and how they mediated 3 contradictions embedded in market economics

"Voting Is Social Work: Voices From the National Social Work Voter Mobilization Campaign" (with Margaret Sherraden, Katharine Hill, Tanya Rhodes Smith, Beth Lewis, and Terry Mizrahi). Journal of Social Work Education 55, no. 4 (2019): 626-644 .

Examines findings from a survey of 295 National Social Work Voter Mobilization Campaign participants detailing the scale & scope of voter engagement in social work schools & and social service agencies.

"The Rise of Managerialism in the US: Whither Worker Control?" (with Jennifer Zelnick), in NO CUTs: Working in the Context of Austerity: Challenges and Struggle (Bristol University Press, 2020), 193-217.

Documents how Neoliberal privatization (i.e., Managerialism) restructures non-profit and public sector agencies to increase measurement of productivity, efficiency, accountability & standardization.

"Business As Usual? A Wake-Up Call for the Human Services," (with Jennifer Zelnick), Touro College Graduate School of Social Work, October 2018.

Reflects the experience of nearly 3,000 frontline NYC human services workers who assess how business principles and practices in their agencies affect service delivery and the values and mission of the social work profession.

"Regulating the Lives of Women, Social Welfare Policy from Colonial Times to the Present" (Routledge, 2017).

Traces the history of the US welfare state from colonial times to the present from the perspective of women. Defines the welfare state as a site of struggle whose benefits contain the potential to regulate, but also liberate women. Uses lenses of gender race & class.