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Evelyn Z Brodkin, PhD

Associate Professor Emerita
she/her/hers
e-brodkin@uchicago.edu
Address

969 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

Office Location: WSSC 253

Areas of Expertise
Government and Policy
International
Non-Profit Organizations
Poverty and Income
Welfare

Currently, professor Brodkin leads an international collaboration studying "The State at the Street: From European Welfare Crisis to the Front Lines of the Welfare State." This project brings a street-level perspective to the study of contemporary asylum politics, focusing on the advanced welfare states of Sweden and Denmark. It utilizes extended field studies to investigate the organizational arrangements and practices that form the realities of asylum on the ground in the midst of a fraught and highly-contested migration politics. The project is co-located at the University of Chicago, Aalborg University, and University of Gothenburg.

Among her other major lines of research, Brodkin has investigated contemporary and historical US welfare politics with a key interest in linking state-level and street-level responses to poverty and inequality. Her deeply immersive organizational ethnographies of welfare agencies have illuminated patterns of street-level practice often at odds with the imagery of policy and administrative reform strategies. She also has examined the role of governance and public management in the politics of social policymaking, issues developed in a variety of publications, including her book, The False Promise of Administrative Reform (Temple University Press) and the journal symposium "Putting Street-Level Organizations First: New Directions for Research (Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory) and numerous articles.

In a related line of research, Brodkin has elaborated a theoretical and empirical approach that places street-level organizations at the "operational core of the welfare state" and examines how SLOs, through their informal practices, mediate welfare state politics. Her co-edited book, Work and the Welfare State: Street-Level Organizations and Workfare Politics (Georgetown University Press), theorized the role of SLOs in welfare state politics and traced the advance of workfare-style policies from state-level to street-level in six countries: the US, UK, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and Australia. Her perspective on street-level theory and methods is further developed in a series of articles, among them, "The Ethnographic Turn in Political Science: Reflections on the State of the Art" (PS:Political Science & Politics), and "Reflections on Street-Level Bureaucracy: Past, Present, and Future" (Public Administration Review), which received the Burchfield Award from the American Society for Public Administration. 

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  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. Forthcoming 2019. "The Politics of Discretion: Street-Level Organizations and the Welfare State. In Discretion and the Quest for Controlled Freedom, Tony Evans and Peter Hupe, eds. Palgrave.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2017. "The Ethnographic Turn in Political Science: Reflections on the State of the Art." PS: In Political Science and Politics 50(1): 131-134. 
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2017. "Street-Level Organizations and U.S. Workfare: Insights for Policy and Theory." In The Front-line Delivery of Welfare-to-Work Policy in Europe, Rik Van Berkel, Dorte Caswell, Flemming Larsen, and Peter Kupka, eds. Routledge.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2016. "Street-Level Organizations." In American Governance, Stephan L. Schechter, ed. Macmillan.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2016. "Street-Level Organizations and the Future of Human Services." In Human Services Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn A., and Flemming Larsen. 2016. "Workfare, Activation, and the Shifting Boundaries of the Welfare State." In Poverty in America: Urban and Rural Inequality in the 21st Century, Max Skidmore, ed. New Hampshire: Westphalia Press.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2015. "The Inside Story: Street-Level Research in the U.S. and Beyond." In Understanding Street-Level Bureaucracy, Michael Hill, Peter Hupe, and Aurèlien Buffat, eds. Policy Press. 
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2015. "Street-Level Organizations and the 'Real World' of Workfare: Lessons from the U.S." In Social Work & Society 13(2). 
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z., and Flemming Larsen. 2013. "Changing Boundaries: The Policies of Workfare in the U.S. and Europe." In Poverty and Public Policy.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2013. "Commodification, inclusion, or what? Workfare in everyday organizational life." In Work and the Welfare State: Street-Level Organizations and Workfare Politics, Evelyn Z. Brodkin and Gregory Marston, eds. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2013. "Street-level organizations and the welfare state." In Work and the Welfare State: Street-Level Organizations and Workfare Politics, Evelyn Z. Brodkin and Gregory Marston, eds. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2013. "Work and the welfare state." In Work and the Welfare State: Street-Level Organizations and Workfare Politics, Evelyn Z. Brodkin and Gregory Marston, eds. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2013. "Work and the welfare state reconsidered: Street-level organizations and the global workfare project." In Work and the Welfare State: Street-Level Organizations and Workfare Politics, Evelyn Z. Brodkin and Gregory Marston, eds. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2013. "Workfare." In Oxford Bibliographies Online in Social Work, Edward Mullen, ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z., and Flemming Larsen. 2013. "Changing boundaries: The policies of workfare in the U.S. and Europe." In Poverty and Public Policy.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z., and Flemming Larsen. 2013. "The Policies of workfare: At the boundaries between work and the welfare state." In Work and the Welfare State: Street-Level Organizations and Workfare Politics, Evelyn Z. Brodkin and Gregory Marston, eds. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z., and Gregory Marston, eds. 2013. Work and the Welfare State: Street-level Organizations and Workfare Politics. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2012. "Les agents de terrain: Entre politique et action publique (Street-level organizations: Between politics and public action)." In Sociologies Pratiques 1(24): 10-18.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2012. "Reflections on the Street-Level Bureaucracy: Past, Present, and Future." In Public Administration Review.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2011. "Putting street-level organizations first: New directions for social policy and management research." In Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 21(Suppl 2): 199-201.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2011. "Policy work: Street-level organizations under new managerialism." In Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 21(Suppl 2): 253-77.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z., and Malay Majmundar. 2010. "Administrative exclusion: Organizations and the hidden costs of welfare claiming." In Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 20(4): 827-48.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2009. "The politics and governance of workfare in the U.S." In The New Governance and Implementation of Labour Market Policies, Flemming Larsen and Rik Van Berkel, eds. Portland, OR: DJØF Publishing.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2009. "Human service organizations and the politics of practice." In Human Services as Complex Organizations, Yeheskel Hasenfeld, ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2009. "Social policy and management in the United States: The uncertain politics of reform." In La Gerencia Pública en América del Norte: Tendencias Actuales de la Reforma Administrativa en Canadá, Estados Unidos y México, Mariá del Carmen Pardo and Ernesto Velasco Sanchez, eds. (Public Management in North America: Contemporary Trends in Administrative Reform in Canada, the United States and Mexico). Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2008. "Accountability in street-level organizations." In International Journal of Public Administration (31): 317-36.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2007. "Bureaucracy redux: Management reformism and the welfare state." In Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 17(1): 1-17.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2006. "Does good politics make for good practice? Reflections on welfare­-to-work in the U.S." In Refereed conference proceedings: The politics and practice of wel­fare to work, Greg Marston, Paul Henman, and Catherine McDonald, eds. Brisbane: University of Queensland.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2005. "Toward a contractual welfare state? The case of work activation in the U.S." In Contractualism in employment services: A new form of welfare state gover­nance, ed. Els Sol and Mies Westerveld. The Hague: Kluwer Law International.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z., Carolyn Fuqua, and Elaine Waxman. 2005. "Accessing the safety net: Ad­ministrative barriers to public benefits in metropolitan Chicago." Chicago: Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and Legal Assistance Foundation of Met­ropolitan Chicago.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2004. "Requiem for Welfare." In Social problems, 32nd edition, ed. Kurt Finsterbusch. McGraw-Hill/Dushkin. Also, 2003. In Taking sides: Clashing views on controversial economic issues, 11th edition, ed. Thomas R. Swartz and Frank J. Bo­nello. Mc-Graw Hill.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2004. "Welfare administration." In Poverty and social welfare in the United States: An encyclopedia, ed. Gwendolyn Mink and Alice O’Connor. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2004. "Welfare reform has not helped the poor." In Poverty and the homeless, ed. Mary E. Williams. San Diego: Greenhaven Press.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2003. "Street-level research: Policy at the front lines." In Policy into ac­tion: Implementation research and welfare reform, ed.Thomas Corbett and Mary Clane Lennon. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z., Carolyn Fuqua, and Katarina Thoren. 2002. "Contracting welfare reform: Uncertainties of capacity-building within disjointed federalism." Joint Center for Poverty Research working paper.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z. 2001. "Neuorganisation des Wohlfahrtsstaats: Neue Steuerungsmodelle Alte Bürokratieprobleme." [Reorganizing the Welfare State: New Administrative Models, Old Bureaucratic Problems.] In Privatisierung und Wettbewerb in der Jugendhilfe: Marktorientierte Modernisierungsstrategien in Internationaler Perspektive, ed. Hans-Uwe Otto and Stefan Schnurr. Luchterhand.
  • Brodkin, Evelyn Z., and Alexander Kaufman. 2000. "Policy experiments and poverty politics." In Social Service Review.

Evelyn Z. Brodkin is Associate Professor Emerita in the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice and Associate Faculty in the Department of Political Science. She holds international appointments as Obel Guest Professor at Aalborg University (Denmark), Department of Sociology and Social Work and Department of Political Science, and Guest Scholar at University of Gothenburg (Sweden), School of Public Administration.

Brodkin is one of the leading scholars of street-level organizations (SLOs), the agencies at the front-lines of public policy delivery. Her research has contributed to the theoretical and empirical development of SLOs as a field of study for investigating welfare state politics, the politics of marginalization and inequality, political institutions, public policy and management.

Brodkin received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.P.A. with honors from Northeastern University, and a B.S. with honors in Journalism from Boston University.  Prior to joining the faculty of the University of Chicago, Brodkin was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and Interdisciplinary Program in Health and assistant professor of political science at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

At SSA (now the Crown Family School), Brodkin initiated the graduate Program of Study on Poverty and Inequality and was its founding director, stepping down from the position in the Fall of 2018. She has been appointed to visiting professorships in the US and internationally. Visiting appointments in the US include NYU's Wagner Graduate School for Public Service; Hunter College, Silberman School of Social Work; and Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research. Internationally, Brodkin has held visiting appointments in Australia, Denmark, France, Mexico, and Sweden. 

Among her professional activities, Brodkin has served on the Policy Council of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, the board of directors of the Chicago Jobs Council, and the editorial boards of Social Service Review, the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, the Journal of Public Policy, and University of Sydney Press. Beyond her academic presentations, Brodkin's research and expert views on social welfare policy and practices have reached a general audience through collaboration with advocacy groups in Chicago, media coverage, public speaking, and newspaper and magazine opinion articles.

Her work has been recognized by the American Political Science Association (Herbert Kaufman Award), the American Public Administration Association (Burchfield Award), and the Open Society Institute, where she was named a Fellow.