In an article for The Conversation, Wise, a Karl Loewenstein Fellow and visiting assistant professor of political science at Amherst, describes what she found when she interviewed dozens of Americans who have filed for bankruptcy to get rid of personal debt.
“My research participants would likely bristle at the idea they were receiving a handout,” Wise writes. “They saw themselves as hardworking people who’d unfairly fallen on hard times while everyone else—particularly women, minorities and millennials—got an undeserved handout.” Her interview subjects’ invocations of stereotypes about women, Black people, Latinx people and young adults have prompted Wise to compare them to Archie Bunker, a character from the 1970s sitcom All in the Family “who railed against social change and political correctness.”
Wise studies American political economy, with a focus on middle-class economic precarity. She notes that Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy is “primarily filed by people making above-median income or trying to save a home from foreclosure,” and that there is an unusually high bankruptcy rate among those arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection.