Improving Poor People: The Welfare State, the "Underclass," and Urban Schools as History
Princeton University Press, 02/04/1997 - 191 من الصفحات
"There are places where history feels irrelevant, and America's inner cities are among them," acknowledges Michael Katz, in expressing the tensions between activism and scholarship. But this major historian of urban poverty realizes that the pain in these cities has its origins in the American past. To understand contemporary poverty, he looks particularly at an old attitude: because many nineteenth-century reformers traced extreme poverty to drink, laziness, and other forms of bad behavior, they tried to use public policy and philanthropy to improve the character of poor people, rather than to attack the structural causes of their misery. Showing how this misdiagnosis has afflicted today's welfare and educational systems, Katz draws on his own experiences to introduce each of four topics--the welfare state, the "underclass" debate, urban school reform, and the strategies of survival used by the urban poor. Uniquely informed by his personal involvement, each chapter also illustrates the interpretive power of history by focusing on a strand of social policy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: social welfare from the poorhouse era through the New Deal, ideas about urban poverty from the undeserving poor to the "underclass," and the emergence of public education through the radical school reform movement now at work in Chicago.
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... throughout the last two centuries, historians often overemphasize precedents, parallels, and persistence. They remain uncomfortable with radical rupture, discontinuity, abrupt transformation. Nonetheless, as the history 4 INTRODUCTION.
Nonetheless, as the history of recent decades illustrates, these, too, form important strands of history, and, in this book, I try to explore the ways they modify the weight of the past. Attentive readers will find tensions and ...
Still, like all history, it is messy (messier than I can describe in synthetic essays), full of ironies and inconsistencies, but nonetheless powerful and important for everyone who cares about the great unresolved social issues haunting ...
Nonetheless, questions remained unresolved. Where, exactly, is the border between advocacy and objectivity? Who is entitled to police it?1 Throughout their professional lives, those historians who straddle the border between advocacy ...
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