Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice
Carolyn Barnes’s research broadly explores the social and political implications of social policy on low-income populations in the areas of child-care policy, family services, and supports for young children. She has initiated a new line of interdisciplinary research that examines how social policy implementation reproduces racial inequality in rural southern communities.
Her book State of Empowerment: Low Income Families and the New Welfare State (University of Michigan Press, 2020) is an in-depth organizational ethnography that examines how publicly funded after-school programs shape the political behavior of low-income parents. Her research has been published in numerous journals, including Policy Studies Journal, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Children Youth Service Review, and Race and Social Problems.
Barnes completed a BA in political science at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, followed by an MA in political science and a PhD in political science and public policy at the University of Michigan. Most recently, she was an assistant professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.