Areas of expertise: social welfare policy; voter registration; poverty; social movements.

Professor Piven is a renowned social scientist and life-long advocate for working people and the poor. The publication of Regulating the Poor, her ground-breaking book with Richard A. Cloward, ignited a debate that reshaped the field of social welfare policy.  Her other books include Poor People’s Movements, The Breaking of the American Social Compact, and Challenging Authority. Dr. Piven has been a recipient of Fulbright and Guggenheim awards and has been a visiting professor at the University of Amsterdam, Hebrew University, and the University of Bologna.

Dr. Piven was a founder of the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO) and was a co-founder of the Human Service Employees Registration and Voter Education Campaign, which led to legislation popularly known as  the “motor voter” bill.  She serves on the boards of several advocacy organizations, including Project Vote and Wellstone Action. Her many honors include the Shirley Chisholm Lights of Freedom Award from Community Voices Heard and the Puffin Prize for Creative Citizenship