SOCIAL CLASS AND SOCIAL POLICY by S. M. & Frank Reissman Miller


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The authors have rewritten and updated a series of (mostly non-collaborative) essays composed during the past two decades. Despite the title, they have nothing interesting to say about social class; the concept enters only into their characterization of many poor people as members of a ""new working class""--a confusing usage as well as a faulty one, since its current reference is commonly to professionals and technicians. In any case, their criticisms of past work on poverty are interesting, but their positive contributions are slight; it is hard to take seriously any discussion which fails to deal, for instance, with the credit system. The articles on education also present sound criticisms of ""credentializing agency"" schools and the current preschool mythology, the fad of rejecting racial integration--but again, their emendations and recommendations are unimpressive. This is partly because their discrete insights are unrelated to a general analysis, and parry because they tacitly assume that the U.S. is the best of worlds, except for certain technical problems. Thus the poor are characterized as ""not doing as well as the rest of society,"" ""those who have fallen behind,"" with little comprehension of the increasing problems of the rest of the population. The essays on mental health and community action suffer from the same limitations. Comparable, and largely inferior to, Schorr's Explorations in Social Policy (p. 874).

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Basic