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January 2021 Vol. 58 No. 5

University of Michigan Press

The following review appeared in the January 2021 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email

Social & Behavioral Sciences

Barnes, Carolyn. State of empowerment: low-income families and the new welfare state. Michigan, 2020. 170p bibl index. Open access: ISBN 9780472131648, $65.00; ISBN 9780472901265 ebook, open access.

After-school programs have been touted by their advocates for the past several decades as a panacea to the problems many students face, especially those from diverse and low-income backgrounds. Barnes (Duke Univ.) examines such programs with a special emphasis on how they can increase political and civil engagement by placing their operating power in the hands of the parents of the children they serve. The book is organized in six chapters, each touching on a different aspect of after-school programs that Barnes finds important. These include an overview of after-school programs, a suggested model for empowering parents in the design and operation of such programs, a discussion of how policy can create empowering relationships, how organizational identities and cultural contexts can change communities, barriers to participation and ways of increasing it, and how such programs might transform the individuals involved. The book represents a study conducted using qualitative methods that two appendixes describe, including information about site selection, descriptions of the neighborhoods in which the programs were located, methods used, the process of analysis, and interview protocols.

--S. T. Schroth, Towson University

Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and faculty.