Metta Spencer

The New Participants

Center for International Affairs Harvard University, 6 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts: July, 1968

by Metta Spencer

The intellectual has long spoken of the "sickness of our age," pointing to the numbers of people who feel powerless, isolated and cynical about their fellows, whose anomie drains the vitality from society. Sickness it may be, but perhaps not fatal, for the new generation of social physicians is prescribing massive doses of a new remedy, participation. Noting rightly that the estranged ones tend to be the poor, the ill, the old and the outcast, who lack the tradition and organizational resources to have much influence over public actions which bear upon their lives (McClosky and Schaar, 1965:14-40), the new reformers seek ways to involve such people into activities of consequence. The Peace Corps, Vista, the Job Corps and block clubs are only the first few ideas in a whole range of programs which aim toward "participant democracy." Students have organized to provide tutoring for their disadvantaged fellows. Ghetto dwellers are claiming the right to hire and fire their own police officers. Parents in New York are demanding decentralized. schools which they would control themselves. Within the business community, sound management specialists urge a democratization which would startle many socialists. In politics, Saul Alinsky and the Students for Democratic Society have gained influence in their efforts to mobilize poor neighborhoods. For a short but innovative time, the War on Poverty stipulated as one of its articles of war that the poor were to be implicated in the assault with "maximum feasible participation," which in fact provided special representation for poor people on the councils which administered programs for the poor.

In other quarters, much interest is developing in the use of "indigenous non-professionals" in daily administration to the poor and in other new occupational positions for the poor.(Reissman and Pearl, 1965) Even deviants have innovated in participant institutions, mostly self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Synanon, and the "therapeutic communities" of mental hospitals, half-way houses and. penal facilities. Some groups, however, proclaim the legitimacy of their actions qua deviants--as societies devoted to legalizing abortion or marihuana, or as churches which offer special programs designed for hippies and homosexuals.

University students strike to establish their right to political and social activism and to be heard in the policy councils of their universities. Prison officials bring inmates into full participation in maintaining their correctional facilities. Guidance officials pay ,juvenile delinquents to help other delinquents and teachers put problem children to work teaching other children, often with good results.(Hawkinshire,1963) If among intellectuals the redemptive word is "commitment," in less articulate circles its synonym, "participation" evokes the same fresh hope. These events are so numerous as to constitute a significant social movement, but one which has rarely been designated as a movement or treated theoretically as such. This paper will be an effort to do so.

In purpose the participation movement is unified by the intent to draw in strayed and isolated souls, but substantively, it is not a unity. Different issues and problems occur with respect to the particular forms of participation. I want to classify the new institutions into three different types according to the character of the problems they address: (1) Class or ethnic based groups, "interest-articulating" institutions, generally oriented toward advancing the interests of the working and lower classes, as in the Poverty Program and Alinsky's movement, but also the civil rights movement as a whole. (2) Task ~ objective-oriented institutions, in which the enhancement of participation is primarily instrumental for the goals of the organization, rather than for the subjective interests or the needs of the participants. The use of indigenous non-professional personnel represents this type of arrangement. (3) ~ institutions, generally oriented toward mutual help and supportiveness for deviants in their efforts to rehabilitate themselves. Synanon, some prison groups, half-way houses and the like are of this type.

With respect to these different types of groups, three different theoretical perspectives become relevant:

(1) political, (2) organizational, and (3) deviant, as indicated in the chart.






Political representation

Bureaucracy vs. democracy




Technical expertise

Moral commitment


Constituency, bloc

Organization executive

Moral Society

Although some groups serve several purposes, the objectives distinguished above are at least analytically distinct and perhaps, to some degree, incompatible. That is, while task-organization and some formal organization is compatible with interest-articulation [...] group therapy, an organization which attempts to reform deviants and to represent their interests may find it very difficult for the same leader to carry out both responsibilities. Therapeutic groups and interest-articulating groups are, however, more likely to offer real opportunity for meaningful participation in policy matters than are task-oriented groups, which use bureaucracy quite efficiently. The present paper will concern theories of politics, bureaucracy and deviance as they bear upon the new forms of participation which constitute a social movement in the United States now. Our concern is not with immediate problems, but with considerations which have potential significance for policy in working through the contradictory implications of grass-roots democracy. Problems of political representation are more pertinent to groups which articulate a collective interest vis a vis outside groups than to task-oriented or therapeutic groups. Organization theory is most relevant to task-oriented groups, while theories which explain deviant behavior are relevant to the forms of participation which specifically attempt to create change in the participants.

Political [...] and Participation

There are many different forms of democracy and it is possible to conceive of them all as procedures designed to produce decisions according to some pre-arranged rule such that people who are not themselves parties to contracts have some control over those contracts which affect them. (Buchanan and Tullock, 1962) Mr. A and Mr. B may strike a private bargain which is to their mutual advantage, but which imposes a hardship upon their neighbor, Mr. C. Democracy is a procedure which allows Mr. C, in company with his fellows, to bring his influence to bear upon their transaction. The institutions which do this differ; in ancient days some affected persons were permitted to stand near the council chamber and shout, "Veto!" Until the present time, throughout the western world representative democracy has been deemed an optimum institution for this purpose. Law-makers are expected to be responsive to the greatest number of "third parties" because of the numerical basis of elections. Those problems of implementation which have come up have mostly been couched in terms of questions about whether or not a given decision ought to be made privately or ought to be brought under "government control," subjected to the control of the representative of an entire electorate. When a decision imposes significant "external costs" on a number of third parties, it is normally brought under the control of representatives of the public at large. This raises a problem of relevancy, in that not all voters are affected third parties with respect to all issues. Ideally, one wants to bring into a decision-making process only those persons who are to be affected by it. Federalism is supposed to solve this problem by yielding a system of geographical political representation in terms or which locally elected officials should be involved in decisions which impose external costs only locally, while more remote officials minimize the external costs imposed on progressively larger constituencies.

Actual practice in the United States is departing from federalism by bringing more issues into the centralized national political sphere. Conservatives protest what they call the "creeping advance of socialism" on two counts:

they fear that more and more decisions are defined as public issues rather than private bargains because they impose costs on many persons and they fear that remote political units are responsible more and more for decisions which were formerly made within the state, perhaps, or the city. There is a concern that laws made by strangers in remote centers weaken the responsibility of citizens and undermine the accountability of officials for specific policies. There is concern that a few men will establish all policies far [...]

Such a concern is a fear, actually, that the interests of persons who are truly affected (either as parties to contractual decisions or as third parties affected by them) may be less adequately safeguarded by representatives in a mass polity than by old-fashioned federalism.

Political atomization is something real to worry about; even liberals are sometimes concerned about the matter. If there is alienation at the grass-roots, it must be counteracted by new participation in political issues, new structures which provide real means by which affected people can make themselves felt. While conservatives look back to local government for this, liberals, it seems are formulating a new basis for participation, one organized on functional, rather than on regional or territorial principles, which have been the basis of federalism.

There is a powerful argument that centralization of authority is increasingly necessary simply because the society is now functionally integrated across territorial boundaries. Modern technology being what it is. Mr. A and Mr. B in one political territory may act jointly in ways which impose costs upon people in other political territories who have no vote affecting the laws which regulate the activities which are so injurious to them. That is why there are pressures to develop larger political units to overcome this, but in ~o doing, the remoteness of centralized government becomes a problem: the people who are most affected by a decision become lost in a huge constituency and have little influence over the outcome.

The contribution of the liberals (or more often, the new radicals) is in the idea that institutions of participation can be created which sidestep the issue of local autonomy in a new way. The first skirmishes of the War on Poverty provided for both centralized authority and local control: the new thing was that the local power was not to be administered through representatives elected by an entire regional constituency, but was instead based upon the functional relationship of the various groups of poor people to the poverty program. That is, those directly affected by the "contract" were to have a special representation in the decision-making process above and beyond that of their membership in the local electorate.

This system is both more democratic and less democratic than the "one man, one vote" principle of conventional representative democracy, for it gives extra power to persons who are most affected by a decision, and who are generally deprived of political influence Within a short time, the principle of functional representation collided with the principle of territorial representation and the mayors and their henchmen managed to regain their customary political prerogatives.

If there were no difficulty in spelling out criteria of relevance, the innovation would probably be regarded as the ideal democratic procedure and would probably have been tried long ago. One could formulate policies by negotiations among the groups which have something at stake in the outcome, and Congress could disband. Unfortunately, it is not always apparent who have legitimate claims to participate in such conferences and how much weight they should have in the negotiations. This is the sphere within which power struggles take place. In the case of the O.E.O. the central government i~sed its power to recognize or demand readjustment of the power structure which emerged at the local level. Whenever the municipal organization was deemed unrepresentative of the poor, it was the federal office which attempted to set matters right, and wnich could even recognize alternative organizations instead. This was a clear-cut departure from federalism and represented an effort to meet a functional system problem intelligently; one can expect variations of this approach to be presented again and again. (Cf. Diamond, 1965:103) If this concept of grass-roots democracy is utilized in other institutions, it may present an important corrective tc the atrophy of power in some segments of American society and may facilitate social integration in a major way. But there are big questions as to how far and in what ways the principle can be applied; it is a refreshing exercise to think of how many ir~titutions would be improved by allowing "customers" to make policy.

On the other hand, the model both depends upon and is restricted by representative democracy. This method of insuring contrzi .trom below depends upon the legitimacy attributed to the central authority (here, O.E.O.) which settles disputes about criteria for functional representation. Such legitimacy (at best tentative, and in the case of the O.E.O. actually inadequate) derives in turn from majoritarian consensus -- for after all, the agency is publicly accountable. The electorate will not give carte blanche to the groups which have a vested interest in the decisions they are empowered to make. Democracy representative of an entire electorate may be insufficiently responsive to special groups but it does have a consensual basis which is essential to legitimize decisions as to the functional criteria for autonomous institutional control. The federal government may be strong enough to help grass-roots groups, establishing income, ethnicity, or other functional criteria for membership. There is peril in doing so, but it does bring political potency to groups who are powerless as part of an electorate drawn only along territorial boundaries.

Cloward has pointed also to an unanticipated effect which may proceed from mobilization of functionally affected groups -- a heightened ethnic separatism, which would dismay most liberals. Cloward is not alarmed by it, arguing that ethnic blocs articulate interests effectively and do convert solidarity into the political force which can overcome class inequality: "What the poor need are a heightened awareness of conflicting interests and the means to organize separately." (Cloward, 1965:60) Harmony-minded reformers prefer, of course, for all groups to work inside the same structure and consider as anachronistic any official encouragement of ethnic-controlled local agencies. Not just "Black Power" but any "ethnic power" sets some nerves on edge. Nevertheless, there is a long precedent for official recognition (e.g. Catholic and Jewish [...]

the extent to which communal associations can be ratified as autonomous political forces by federal recognition will have to be faced as a major difficulty.

Further, one must expect tension between the plans of autonomous groups and those of the center. To the extent that real autonomy exists at the grass-roots level, integrated planning for the future and coordination of services in different areas is necessarily impaired. That may be a valuable corrective device, providing feedback which enables plans to be laid with greater sensitivity to their effects. It may, on the other hand, produce short-sightedness; central planning looks for impressive, at least on the drawing boards. The Soviet Union has oscillated between periods of central planning and periods of decentralization for a generation, apparently because efficient control and long-range vision can be purchased only at the price of losing flexibility and. sensitivity to special circumstances.1 This issue, too, will have to be addressed before viable institutions of functionally representative democracy can be constructed.


"...The pivotal problem was to find an efficient combination of centralization [...] direction and decentralization of executive plans.. ."(Alexander Bukov, 1961:314)

Organization and [...]tion

Whether for instrumental or therapeutic reasons, administrators of some complex organizations are trying to find more egalitarian systems of internal control altering old relations of authority in the process. The movement renews speculation about the theoretical limitations of populist control, and the renewal is salutary: too often Barnard's engaging defense of executive authority is taken as the first principle of organization and too often the failure of worker's democracy in early Soviet days is taken as the definitive test of the principle. What theoretical grounds, then, have innovators for inviting anarchy? What justification have they for undermining the integrity of a complex organization?

The answer (as articulated by Chris Argyris, Maxwell Jones, Paul Goodman and others) is simply the counter claim that niembers have needs of their own quite apart from the needs of their organization. They have a need for significant work arid a need to have a voice in the formulation -- matters involving them; such needs may be contrary to the organization's diagram of itself, but they deserve recognition anyway -- more generous recognition than the usual graceless acknowledgment that informal organization can subvert formal goals. To intransigent functionalists Argyris offers a functionalist argument that the time is ripe. Periods of stress and intense need for productivity, he acknowledges, do demand when the organization is secure and stable it can afford to recognize more hwnan needs.(Argyris,1964) Our society can afford to stop being so production-minded.

There is, of course, an inherent conflict between bureaucratic principles (with the downward flow of authority and the upward flow of accountability) versus democratic principles (with regular flows in each direction). Autonomous control at the bottom is a departure from the hierarchical chain of command, and instances of success with this technique ought to warm many a heart. It is, however, unlikely that Argyris' argument will be persuasive to ordinary businessmen, who are, after all, not "in business for their heaith"--mental or otherwise. Institutions which are exclusively task-oriented will be less likely to implement democratic systems of authority than are political or interest-articulation groups on the one hand, or therapeutic organizations on the other.

An organization will be considered a task-oriented group in the present sense if its raison d'etre is an external objective other than the well-being or morale of the participants. It is notable that, while such organizations as factories and hospitals are primary examples of task oriented groups, few such institutions either specifically try to bring members of their clientele into the organization as participants or try to equalize discretionary powers and decision-making autonomy up and down th~ entire range of personnel. People are hired on the grounds that they can contribute something to the orpanization's goals (not their own nor that of the community they represent), and treat their level of technical expertise is adequate to enable them to make instrumentally efficient decisions. Neither enthusiasm nor social representativeness are relevant criteria for bureaucratic authority in the same way that technical expertise is. And whenever technical expertise toward a concrete ob3ective is of paramount importance, we cannot expect to find grass-roots democracy within the organization, but a highly elaborated hierarchical command-system.

It is only when a task-oriented organization is of such a nature that authority within it rests on something more than expertise that one can have participants drawn from the community with significant power inside the group. One example of an institution with some of these charctVer- istics is the social welfare agency. Such agencies are not devoted to the well-being of the social worker, but of the client he serves. However, the social worker's autnority is not simply based on his greater professional training, although there are many claims to the contrary. Social workers deny that normal intelligence and a warm heart are adequate qualifications for the role, but the increasing use of non-professional personnel rests upon the assumption that they are. Certain members of the target community are valuable for liaison with others in the community and help to bridge the gap between professional and client. As Frank Reisaman has suggested,

"The helper principle may be especially useful in the low-income treatment projects for these two reasons: (1) It may circumvent the special inter-class role difficulties that arise from being at odds with the low-income clients' expectations and style; the alienation that many low-income clients feel toward professional treatment agents and the concomitant rapport difficulties may be greatly reduced by utilizing the low-income person himself as the helper-therapist... (2)

It may be a principle that is especially attuned to the co-operative trends in lower-socio-economic groups and cultures. In this sense it may be beneficial to both the helper (the model) and the helped." (Reissman, 1965:28-29) This is, again a new form of participation and one which can be expected to present special organizational problems: in particular, one can foresee that the use of non-professional personnel in quasi-professional roles will very likely result in a heightened emphasis on bureaucratic organization, at the expense of flexibility common in the more democratic forms of organizations. The social work profession has alrcady been trying to develop clearer role definitions and the use of non-professionals will provide an added incentive for them to do so. While that might be helpful within the organization, it will also set limits on non-professional roles.

The question about the importance of technical expertise is not simply related to professional jealousy but to genuine issues concerning the proper use of personnel. ThQ'F'Q are differences between the way social workers and the indigenous community workers in Mobilization for Youth as partisan and insistent (rather than smoothly non-directive in the approved professional style), informal (they will hug clients), showing undisguised ethnic solidarity giving stronger weight to external life circumstances than to internal values, and accepting information at face value and acting directly on it. (Brager,1965:36) The benefits of their responsiveness must be weighed against those of professional training: in the social agency these are not likely to be seen as commensurate. Brager reports that "within the agency, non-professional staff tend to be unheeded, except in their own particular programs. Their efforts with outside institutions have been even more disappointing....The use of indigenous persons in program roles tends to be challenged by responsible persons and institutions. Internal and external pressures are brought to bear to dilute their impact.'~Brager,1965:~O) We cannot determine how much of this stems from occupational jealousy and how much from substantive conflict over methods and policy. There are no doubt, areas in which professional competence is founded upon knowledge of rtlevant information, but there are also aree~ 5.n which professional personnel make decisions on the basis of "conventional wisdom" peculiar to their occupational training. A child~-care center, for example, could be administered by teachers, social workers, or public health nurses, but whichever the profession, it would create a distinctive stamp on the character of the institution. Part of the ossification proC~ss which takes a social agency out of touch with clients consists of the [...]

One should hope that the naivete of indigenous workers might cause professional blinders to be removed all around, but it is more likely that, as upwardly mobile hopefuls, they will quickly adopt the conventional wisdom of their institutions. The important matter of keeping the agency "in tune" may be approached but never secured by this technique, for the people who are drawn upon are not often typical of their area and tend to take the professionals as their reference group. There is no sure formula for avoiding the professional drift toward conservatism, but Hans Toch has remarked that,

"The institutionalization of social change, whether accomplished by professionals or by groups of laymen, undermines social change. Standardization of methods and content of change can turn socialization into brain washing, therapy into the perpetuation of middle-class (or other) values, and education into a group of disc jockeys for broken records. The art of human relations becomes lost among techniques...The coopQration of professional and layman, however, may keep the system open, because each of these roles may act to inhibit the institutionalization of the other."(Toch,1965:7) Richard Boone "observed wryly that he had not yet heard of a therapeutic regime aimed at producing rebellion against the [...] ([...[, 1965:125) But if significantly effective, the [...] affected persons into participation ToiL [...]thing better than rebellion; attending to dissidents straight away. Professionalism, we have argued, impairs such a program -- though when based on genuine expertise, justifiably so.

Still, professionalism is less a threat than is co-optation. The O.E.O. is not the first governmental agency which began with resolve to rely upon grass-roots democracy and ended up with less than that: the TVA did so also, and Philip Selznick has chronicled its transformation. The moral of his study is that liberal goals may be subverted unwittingly in the very effort to attain them. (Selznick. 1953) For the purpose of necessary appeasement, opponents may be invited to take part in the policy-making, but such a decision changes the character of the organization itself. Co-optation is particularly tempting when the legitimacy of the enterprise is not established everywhere. Participant-controlled social agencies should observe the parallel and take heed.

Deviance and Participation

As we have suggested, social service agencies are not simply task-oriented groups in the same way that a road repair crew is, but share with the third type of institution (the therapeutic community) the fact that its objective is to create changes in persons. This raises a consideration of the possible consequences of heightened participation in groups whose members may be deviant.

We have already addressed the question as to the criteria for deciding whether "leadership from the bottom" [...] autonomy in groups. When do guardians of socially valuable institutions find it expedient to recognize autonomous groups and indigenous leaders, lending authority to and implementing the policies they agree upon?

We have suggested two limiting considerations already. The first was the necessity for overall coordination of plans, which may rule out ~ grass-roots solutions. The second was the necessity for technical expertise in making sensible decisions: popular vote is no way to decide how to build an airplane. In task-oriented groups technical considerations are paramount and the scope of democratic participation is narrow. There is a third limiting circumstance, however, and that is the necessity to fit together the objectives and the necessity to make certain that no official recognition and support is delegated to groups which have questionable objectives.

Is it feasible to give public support and authority to an unsupervised, structurally autonomous therapeutic community which has the objective of rehabilitating its participants? (Synanon perhaps more than any comparable organization, has experienced official harassment because this is the issue they raise.) At present, certain officials are responsible for determining that no group is sponsored which is committed to deviant values; in many cases this is assured by maintaining leadership of the groups by the agency (as when a paid "detached worker" supervises a group of street boys.)

The officials whose task it is to certify people and groups as deviant and to re-socialize them have a loose {...] manage criminals, psychiatrists and psychologists manage the distressed and deranged, while social workers manage the incompetent, the improvident and the impetuous. There is hardly anything regrettable about these duties, but the incumbents of these roles generally seek to justify their authority by claiming that their expertise is te~hnical rather than moral. They claim professional rather than priestly status; they yearn for categories and objective diagnostic procedures which would permit them to profess universalism and rationality, and they find it insupportable for anyone to be society1s moral arbiter--which is their chief responsibility. This sensitive work does not proceed from special competence with a body of knowledge unfamiliar to laymen so much as it depends upon keen discernment (e.g. judgments about sloth, good will and common sense).

However, despite the exaggeration of their claims to a body of technical knowledge, such professionals do share a special form of training which is meaningful. By using a set of normative categories which appear to be taxonomic categories (e.g. "immature", "masochistic,") and standardized training in applying these terms, professionals become highly reliable coders of data relating to deviants. Within their fields, professional agreement is fairly high concerning the moral aptitudes characteristic of various clients. Such reliability is quite useful, for the deviant passes from the supervision of one professional to another and the determinations they make are not idle gossip, but authoritatively assign him to roles which are [...] back to prison or give him relief checks). More than diagnostic reliability results from professional training; there is also an opportunity to ju4ge and to re-inforce moral commitment to conventional values which trainees must hold, and to eliminate those who would perform poorly. During training a great variety of difficult normative problems are raised and worked out under supervision; the student learns the precedents and usages of deviance appraisal. Many problems are moot, but the issues are disputed and conventions are established. The graduate is certified as conventional and the role he enters is marked of f in symbolic ways; the clients he examines for deviant motives recognize that his moral commitment has been authenticated and that they are in no position to convert him to deviance nor even to embarrass him by pointing to his own frailties.

Such training and authorization make the professional comfortable in carrying out his duties, make his reports more reliable and make his decisions reflect more validly the conventional values. There is no reason to believe, however, that it makes him more effective in changing the deviant than he would be without training, for Such effectiveness depends upon persuasive communication, not technique.

Donald Cressey insists that the crucial process in the formation of criminal or ethical conduct is the use of characteristic verbalizations which interpret the conduct. In the same vein, Matza and Sykes show us how deviants develop ways of "neutralizing" moral principles. Different kinds of verbalizations are available in various groups;[...]

One consequence of verbalization is "secondary deviation," which occurs when a person is led to conceive of himself as a member of a type (e.g. homosexual, delinquent). This is the usual outcome when a person is treated asp member of that type by officials--or especially by other members of that type. Cressey holds that,

" who have committed crimes and delinquencies by means of certain verbalizations, and who have then rejected these verbalizations in favor of verbalizations making crime difficult or even impossible, should be more effective in changing delinquents' and criminals' self-concepts than would be men who have never had close familiarity with the pro-criminal and pro-delinquent verbalizations....When the former deviant presents verbalizations making secondary deviation possible he is at the same time presenting verbalizations making it possible to move out of the secondary deviant's role. This is not true when the non-deviant presents the verbalizations." (Cressey, 1965:155)

The success of Synanon in rehabilitating narcotics addicts is primarily a result of the unique authoritativeness of former addicts. On ly the man who has been through withdrawal himself is entitled to speak lightly of the pain and to expect an addict to minimize his distress. His preference for non-deviance is especially persuasive because it was hard-won.

In many settings it is clear that participation in the rehabilitation of other persons is a rewarding experience. In fact, one of the most difticult problems for therapeutic communities in mental hospitals is that it is sometimes more satisfying than the life to which the patient is asked to return. Patients get well quickly, but return to the hospital rather quickly, too, for the outside world provides no support as helpful as the group. The obvious solution to this problem has been to move the group outside the hospital into the community as an autonomous self-help organization. (Sanders and MacDonald, 1965 :24-33)

Perhaps the most extreme instance of a participant deviant community is the Pine Hall Project, in which California prison inmates help select new men for the project, conduct their own guard duty, and even express opinions about selecting staff members. Hoping to foster autonomy staff members do not wear uniforms. Although there is apparently no difficulty here in assuring the commitment of the group to conventional objectives, the abandoning of professional role distance may create role strain for the staff. There is a necessary asymmetry in the inmate-professional relation, even though it is not based on special knowledge or skill. One whose task it is to convert an unwilling deviant is generally subject to more strain if he is a peer than if he is a professional authority vis a vis the deviant, for the peer is in a relationship of reciprocity which can be easily compromised. To "blend roles" as Pine Hall does, may be helpful to the inmates' treatment, but it takes support from the staff. One YMCA program in Chicago hires teen-age gang leaders as detached workers to combat delinquency. (Hubbard, 1965:73-39) These youths are, in fact, peers of the boys they seek to change and as such are probably subject to a good deal of anxiety. While professional correctional officers can be expected to tolerate some stress, it is likely that the youths are considered "finks" by their reference groups, and if so one must think it unfair to ask them to endure such confrontation.

An instance of a failure because of this stress is presented by a generally successful project which used eleven and twelve-year-old children as teaching helpers for kindergarten children. The researchers found that "some of the helpers were not able to handle the actual situation even though they were intellectually capable of understanding the problems One of these was a pressured child who was...seduced by the situation and lost her own sense of control. Expression of her own impulses was too strong for her to be effective in controlling others. She was dropped from the program. It is important that the role of the change agent be clearly defined. In the helping pairs it was important to establish who was helping whom. Without this clarification, mutual sharing of discontents or Ldisease~ was the modus vivendi with nobody taking responsibility for the change efforts." (Hawkinshire, 1965 :40)

This again suggests that in any community designed [...] establish [...] for mowal leaders, responsible for upholding [...]. This is particularly true for the autonomous groups which have some some relationship to a public institution. Often they are sponsored by or supported by public funds. The purpose may be to provide therapeutic interpersonal experiences to deviants or to provde social services tQ deprived social classes and ethnic groups. It is necessary to survey such recipient groups to determine whether their objectives are consonant with the values of the public, and it is necessary for leaders to assure continued commitment. At least that was true in the past. and professional social workers and other officials performed this responsibility. There was a sharp distinction between the moral appraiser and the person or group being helped or corrected, a distinction which was functional for the purpose of watching the normative commitment of the recipient, but which had several undesirable side effects:

(1) It was a relationship of inequality, which officially ratified the passive deviant irresponsible status of the person or group being examined, creating a vicious circle of secondary deviation.

(2) It was not particularly persuasive to deviants, who were able to "neutralize" the moral messages. easily because they came from persons on the far side of a social chasm,

(3) It represented what Cloward and Oblin have called "closed legitimate opportunity structure," in that the legitimate power was on the social worker's side of the desk and the client had no opportunity in the institution to move over to that side. (Cloward and Ohlin, [...]

Insofar as a social agency grants representatives of recipient groups more power to establish policy on matters affecting them, the effect is to open up the legitimate opportunity structure but to lose some control over the commitment of the recipients toward objectives valued by the public. Some poor people may decide to use public funds to offer dancing lessons, as an indignant mayor charged. Some may be able to do so, contrary to the advice of local officials. Whether this will happen often is an empirical question which cannot be answered yet. There are, however, two different predictions which can be derived concerning the consequences, stemming from two different theories of deviance.

One opinion holds that delinquent behavior is, within the actor's own subculture, quite acceptable. Cultures differ for historical reasons and behavior which violates the norms of one social group may occur because the actor lives in a subculture which demands or accepts that form of behavior. The contrary opinion (elaborated by l4erton, Parsons, and Cloward and Ohlin in one or another version) holds that the value of achieved success is shared by virtually all Americans and that some, denied the opportunity for success, adopt illegitimate means toward its attainment. Deviance occurs, not because the deviant or his friends prefer that form of behavior, but as an adaptation to limiting circumstances.

The former theory yields the prediction that a deviant subculture which gains new opportunities, resources [...] that much more power. Any autonomous group which holds values and objectives which are not consonant with those of the general public will pursue those deviant objectives when it has the opportunity. The only check to such activity is to make it accountable to a public authority, just as the traditional social work relationship was constituted. To grant full grass-roots democratic control to such a deviant group would not be to change it at all but to authorize its deviance.

In contrast to this position, the latter theory would suggest that deviant adaptations only occur because of frustration of efforts to utilize acceptable means to generally desired ends. Hence, deviance ought to decline when legitimate opportunities for success open up. Policies established by alienated social groups might very well be unwise and frivolous at the outset, for they would reflect the deviant subcultural adaptation; in time, however, as the legitimate opportunity structure opened up. the very basis for deviance would be undercut and the adaptation of the autonomous group would come to approximate that of the general American public.

Often enough social theory guides the formulation of public policy; in this case, however, it is possible that the outcome of public policy (publicly sanctioned support of autonomous deviant groups) may provide an empirical test for two conflicting social theories.

Summary and Conclusions

There are many new institutions in American society which promise the alienated an opportunity to participate in meaningful ways There are three different -objectives which such groups can have, and they differ in the basis of their authority, in the accountability of their leaders, as well as in the nature of the theoretical concerns which bear upon them. There are interest-articulating groups, whose leaders derive authority from the fact that they represent their group ~ a via outside groups. The leaders are accountable to the group they represent and theoretical problems having to do with political representation are relevant here. There are also task-oriented groups, whose leaders claim authority on the basis of their technical expertise. The leaders are accountable to the executive organ of the group rather than to the members or outside persons. The theoretical concern with bureaucracy is especially relevant here. Thirdly, there are therapeutic communities, whose leaders derive their authority from their moral commitment and cognitive orthodoxy, for they do not represent their group so much as they seek to change it and they are chiefly accountable to the standards of normal members of society. Theories of deviance apply here.

Interest-articulating groups are gaining power that regional electorates are losing because of functional integration across local boundaries. Centralized power may [...] affected by the outcome. This would be excellent procedure, were there no difficulty in establishing which people are affected by the outcome. The agency which must determine this needs very strong legitimacy; perhaps a federal agency which derives its legitimacy from popular representative democracy can have such legitimacy. There are problems with functionally based representation, however: it may heighten ethnic separatism and class conflict and autonomous local groups may impede general planning.

It is difficult for task-oriented groups to permit lower-level personnel to have a voice because of the special importance of technical expertise in the task. Nevertheless, not all who claim to be technically expert are so; in the case of social workers the authority is based on moral expertise. Non-professional personnel can be used in such settings, but role conflicts and professional rivalry can be expected. Local people are more likely to fall in with professional biases than to inhibit institutional ossification.

Autonomous therapeutic groups which are sponsored by public institutions require a kind of leadership which differs from that of interest-articulating groups in that leaders seek to change the group's behavior. If the representative leader of a practicing deviant group were authorized to make binding decisions and settle public policy regarding his group (and to some extent any subculture or class which is to be changed by a program is regarded ipso facto as deviant), different theories predict different [...] given fuller means to live by its own standards, deviance might be expected to flourish. If, on the contrary, anomie theory is more correct, than the opening up of opportunities to attain the objectives which deprived groups desire as much as affluent groups do, will reduce frustration and thus reduce the occasion for deviant adaptation.



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