The

The "Underclass" Debate: Views from History / Edition 1

by Michael B. Katz
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691006288

ISBN-13: 9780691006284

Pub. Date: 11/17/1992

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Do ominous reports of an emerging "underclass" reveal an unprecedented crisis in American society? Or are social commentators simply rediscovering the tragedy of recurring urban poverty, as they seem to do every few decades? Although social scientists and members of the public make frequent assumptions about these questions, they have little information about the

Overview

Do ominous reports of an emerging "underclass" reveal an unprecedented crisis in American society? Or are social commentators simply rediscovering the tragedy of recurring urban poverty, as they seem to do every few decades? Although social scientists and members of the public make frequent assumptions about these questions, they have little information about the crucial differences between past and present. By providing a badly needed historical context, these essays reframe today's "underclass" debate. Realizing that labels of "social pathology" echo fruitless distinctions between the "deserving" and "undeserving" poor, the contributors focus not on individual and family behavior but on a complex set of processes that have been at work over a long period, degrading the inner cities and, inevitably, the nation as a whole.

How do individuals among the urban poor manage to survive? How have they created a dissident "infrapolitics?" How have social relations within the urban ghettos changed? What has been the effect of industrial restructuring on poverty? Besides exploring these questions, the contributors discuss the influence of African traditions on the family patterns of African Americans, the origins of institutions that serve the urban poor, the reasons for the crisis in urban education, the achievements and limits of the War on Poverty, and the role of income transfers, earnings, and the contributions of family members in overcoming poverty. The message of the essays is clear: Americans will flourish or fail together.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691006284
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
11/17/1992
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
520
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.22(h) x 1.24(d)

Table of Contents

Prefacevii
Introduction: The Urban "Underclass" as a Metaphor of Social Transformation3
Part 1The Roots of Ghetto Poverty
Chapter 1Southern Diaspora: Origins of the Northern "Underclass"27
Chapter 2Blacks in the Urban North: The "Underclass Question" in Historical Perspective55
Part 2The Transformation of America's Cities
Chapter 3The Structures of Urban Poverty: The Reorganization of Space and Work in Three Periods of American History85
Chapter 4Housing the "Underclass"118
Part 3Families, Networks, and Opportunities
Chapter 5The Ethnic Niche and the Structure of Opportunity: Immigrants and Minorities in New York City161
Chapter 6The Emergence of "Underclass" Family Patterns, 1900-1940194
Chapter 7Poverty and Family Composition since 1940220
Chapter 8Social Science, Social Policy, and the Heritage of African-American Families254
Part 4Politics, Institutions, and the State
Chapter 9The Black Poor and the Politics of Opposition in a New South City, 1929-1970293
Chapter 10Nineteenth-Century Institutions: Dealing with the Urban "Underclass"334
Chapter 11Urban Education and the "Truly Disadvantaged": The Historical Roots of the Contemporary Crisis, 1945-1990366
Chapter 12The State, the Movement, and the Urban Poor: The War on Poverty and Political Mobilization in the 1960s403
Conclusion: Reframing the "Underclass" Debate440
Contributors479
Name Index483
Subject Index499

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