By (author): Krys Maki

While the poor have always been monitored and surveilled by the state when seeking financial support, the methods, techniques, and capacity for surveillance within and across government jurisdictions has profoundly altered how recipients navigate social assistance. Welfare surveillance has exacerbated social inequality, especially among low income, Indigenous, and racialized single mothers. Krys Maki unpacks in-depth interviews with Ontario Works caseworkers, anti-poverty activists, and single mothers on assistance in Kingston, Peterborough, and Toronto, and employs intersectional feminist political economy and critical surveillance theory to contextualize the ways neoliberal welfare reforms have subjected low-income single mothers to intensive state surveillance. Maki centres their experiences to examine how their status as lone parents prompted fraud investigations and invasive questioning about their relationship status, and triggered investigations by other governing bodies such as child welfare agencies. This book also examines the moral and political implications of administering inadequate benefits alongside punitive surveillance measures. Despite significant restraints, anti-poverty activists, caseworkers, and recipients have discovered individual and collective ways to resist the neoliberal agenda.


Krys Maki

Krys Maki is an activist scholar specializing in mixed-methods community-based participatory research. They currently work as the research and policy manager at Women’s Shelters Canada, a national network of violence against women shelters based in Ottawa, Ontario.


Making up for the dearth of feminist research on the interplay of surveillance and poverty, ‘Ineligible’. combines feminist political theory, moral regulation, and theories of surveillance to offer a unique insight into the cross-disciplinary connections that stretch beyond the traditional theoretical frameworks of each discipline. In doing so, Maki presents their participants’ lived experiences as integral to their construction of knowledge. Thus, Maki builds a conceptual model of Ontario Works that is both accessible and a welcome addition to the controversial interaction between welfare scrutiny and assistance. By uncovering how state regulation manifests in the daily lives of Ontarian single mothers, Maki expertly demonstrates how detrimental welfare surveillance and moral regulation are to their individual experiences.

Finally, we have a book that explores how modern technologies have added a whole new level of sophisticated surveillance and stigma to single moms on welfare. Told from the perspective of both single moms on welfare and the caseworkers who are mandated to implement these punishing regulations, Maki offers a compelling and important contribution to critical poverty studies. Anyone who says they care one tiny morsel about the poor needs to read this book.

– Margaret Little, professor of political studies and gender studies at Queen’s University and the author of the award-winning No Car, No Radio, No Liquor Permit: The Moral Regulation of Single Mothers in Ontario, 1920-1996


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224 Pages
9in * 6in * .5in


November 10, 2021


Fernwood Publishing





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