Civic Inclusion and Its Discontents
Author's Note: In chapter 5 I argued that political development may be regarded as a process that passes through well-defined stages, from "social polity" to "political society." That does not rule out concomitant developmental tendencies, such as Durkheim's view of development as a constantly more complex division of labor or Weber's view of it as the growing disenchantment (rationalization) and bureaucratization of societies, among others. One process may be primary, the others secondary effects of the primary tendency. Or the processes may simply coincide. That issue, at present, is open—chiefly because it has not even been raised.
In any event, I have long been persuaded by Tocqueville's view of social development as involving a "providential" process of growing "equality in the condition of men": not growing material equality but equality in regard to inclusion in, or exclusion from, full "membership" (Tilly's label) in decision making in social institutions or in access to institutions that can make such membership effective. (I present my view more elaborately in the essay that follows.)
Tocqueville's argument was stated explicitly in the preface to Democracy in America , and it came with many somber premonitions and surmises about the likely effects of equalization, mostly in the work's less widely read second volume, published five years after the first, in 1840. His premonitions had the ring of plausibility, sometimes recognition, for me, partly because of personal experience of "mass society," partly because of the sympathetic reading of writings about it that I mention in chapter 1—the feeling that the "irrationalists" could not be dismissed only because they
argued what we would rather not have heard. These tendencies, however, did not coalesce until 1981 when I began teaching seminars about workplace authority and authority in educational institutions.
The purpose of the seminars also, initially, was distinct from my interest in "civic inclusion." Their intention was simply to inquire into nongovernmental authority, as a neglected and, to me, important subject—a follow-up to congruence-theory (see chapter 5) and the work to which it gave rise. It was not long, however, before it became evident that discontents with political inclusion, dating to the generation after it became common in Western countries (a point elaborated in a long monograph I wrote in 1984), were closely paralleled with discontents with workplace and educational inclusion. Despite allowances for the intrinsic differences among the three realms, the disillusions seemed eerily similar. That led me to suspect that the source of the discontents should be sought in the nature of the newly included—in aspects of life among the disadvantaged. Because the discontents seemed remarkably similar across cultures, it also seemed likely to me that the unexpected effects of inclusion came from the very conditions of being socially disadvantaged—that is, from the fact of living in relative poverty and with the experience of failure and foreclosed opportunities.
The result was this essay: a first attempt at spelling this view out systematically. The explanatory section of the essay is entirely "social": I emphasize in it the "authority-culture" of the poor.
At the time the essay was written and published, I also sought a supplementary psychological explanation, the subject of the second essay of this section. The fact that it appears here in the form of criticism of rational-choice theory in politics is fortuitous. I was asked to write a paper on political rational-choice theory for a conference marking the thirtieth anniversary of Anthony Downs's An Economic Theory of Democracy . It seemed to me that the psychological argument I had been developing for purposes of my concern with civic inclusion also had fundamental relevance to the evaluation of the rational-choice perspective—hence the form of the essay. Readers, however, should treat it mainly as a supplement to this chapter.
I want to add two points to try to prevent misunderstandings that, to my distress, have actually occurred. First, nothing said in either essay is meant to be derogatory to disadvantaged people. On the contrary, I have long tried to put myself empathetically into their shoes—not easy for an advantaged academic—and I regard their behavior as wholly "sensible" in their condition and as adaptive to facts that cannot be wished away. It follows that, if we wish to change the behavior described here, we should change the conditions that give rise to them. Although I have been told that the essays come from "reactionary" attitudes, presumably because they portray ugly things, I consider their implications to be highly radical—
more radical than most radicals probably like, and perhaps too radical to be feasible.
Second, although the essays are written as if we could dichotomize the poor and the affluent, that is done only for the sake of argument. I realize that the distinction is a continuum. Although there may be a threshold between affluence and poverty at which qualitative differences in behavior occur, it seems just as, or more, likely that, as we pass along the continuum, behavior typical of poverty and frustration diminishes and behavior typical of affluence and achievement increases. But that is a matter for inquiries not yet made.
The subject of this essay is what, for want of a conventional term, I call "civic inclusion": in essence, the processes by which segments of society previously excluded from membership (in Charles Tilly's sense) in political and socioeconomic institutions are incorporated into these institutions as "citizens." The problem of the chapter arises from what we might call the discontents of the "civic society"—the highly inclusive society. There are dramatic discrepancies between what was expected to follow from civic inclusion and what has in fact happened. My proposed explanation of these discrepancies rests on the notion that there exists an authority-culture of the lower classes of society—the beneficiaries of civic inclusion—that has been only poorly understood by the higher-class proponents of inclusion. The lower-class culture is not pretty, particularly when seen from the perspective of certain common liberal values. However, this does not imply acceptance of the idea that a distinctive, self-perpetuating culture of poverty exists (as argued, for instance, by E. Franklin Frazier, Nathan Glazer, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and perhaps also Oscar Lewis, the giant of the literature on the "culture of poverty"), and especially not that the lower classes deal with authority in reprehensible ways. Rather, I consider lowerclass authority to be a positive and adaptive response to the defining trait of poverty: being compelled to live with and manage high scarcity. The authority-culture of the poor is all the more resistant to change because of this.
Civic inclusion has two distinct but not separable meanings. First, it refers to the changing of "subjects" into "citizens." Ordinarily, different members of society have different degrees and kinds of access to its loci of authority, influence, and participation—that is, to the structures and processes of governance. In regard to this, Tilly makes a distinction between people who are "members" and those who are "challengers" in the structures that govern social institutions, and although it is a great oversimplification to put it in these terms (there are many degrees of "membership"), thinking of people as included in and excluded from decision-
making structures will do here. Certainly, a major threshold is crossed when excluded groups receive formal entitlements to inclusion, such as (in polities) the vote and right to hold office or (in businesses) the right to participate in management. Second, civic inclusion refers to the gaining of access to institutions that provide capacities and resources, chiefly educational institutions, by groups formerly denied such access.
Since early modern times, there has occurred in developed societies a seemingly ineluctable tendency toward civic inclusion in these two senses, in both the larger and smaller institutions of societies. The process started in politics, through extension of the suffrage and reforms of recruitment to administrative positions; it continued in the provision of access to education—first to elementary schooling, then to secondary education, and then to higher education; now it goes on in workplaces through the spread of mechanisms for participation in their governance.
Something like a genuine developmental process seems to be involved. Tocqueville discovered it long ago, in America, where he found "a fundamental equality" (not least in the lack of "fixed distinctions" in regard to powers and privileges). He soon came to see in equalization a common thread in all of history, only most evident in the most "advanced" society. The process was an "invariable tendency of events," "a providential fact," "the habitual course of nature," "the past and future of history." "In perusing the pages of our history," he wrote, "we shall scarcely meet with a single great event, in the lapse of seven hundred years, which has not turned to the advantage of equality."
Tocqueville thought that America's "fundamental equality" accounted for every distinctive aspect of American life. By extension, one can think of processes of civic inclusion as critical sources of institutional changes in all modern societies. Certain ways in which inclusion engenders change in institutions are highly obvious: for example, through its effects on the size and complexity of structures and on what Durkheim called "social density." Others are less obvious, such as its effects on the heterogeneity of the membership of organizations or the need for the newly included to adapt to old institutions and of the institutions to be adapted to new members. When decision structures become greatly enlarged and more complex; when members of diverse social subcultures come to constitute a common "membership" in such structures; when people not yet adapted to the structures, or to one another, must work together, as a single citizenry—then a highly consequential, probably dramatic dynamic process is inevitably set in motion.
That process filled Tocqueville with a "kind of religious dread." No one, he wrote, could say where the process would lead, since "all terms of comparison are wanting." Nothing less than a new "science of equality" was needed to cope sensibly with the process. Such a science—a set of
pertinent theories—did not exist, "even in embryo." One simply tends not to think when "launched in the middle of [a] rapid stream."
We may know more than Tocqueville did about the extent and effects of equalization, but we nevertheless still lack a fundamental theoretical understanding of the process. My purpose here is to make a substantial beginning toward such understanding.
Expectations and Disillusions
The process of civic inclusion has always begun with blithe expectations—which have invariably been disappointed. The response has always been more inclusion or else cynicism and reaction. In this section of the paper, I want to illustrate this cruel course principally in regard to political and educational inclusion, with briefer remarks about workplace inclusion. In the following section, I identify recurring themes in the literature on disillusion and provide an "explanation-sketch" to account for these themes.
The watershed period of general political inclusion occurred around 1865–1875. In America, the Fourteenth Amendment, which guaranteed to all the privileges and immunities of citizens, was adopted in 1868; in Britain, the Reform Act of 1867 gave workingmen, including a sizable proportion of unskilled laborers, the preponderance of the vote; in France, the Organic Law of 1875 instituted manhood suffrage. Comparable events occurred in other Western countries.
These events were the culmination of prolonged agitation for reform, which was based generally on expectations like those of the British "philosophic radicals." Schumpeter's characterization of the "classical theory of democracy" is a caricature of these ideas, but an accurate one.
Bentham's fundamental prescription for sound representative government was universal manhood suffrage. Only general participation could—and would—lead to policies in the general interest; anything else, like doctrines of natural rights or social contracts ("nonsense upon stilts"), only camouflaged the exploitative corruption of the legal oligarchy—corruption that has since been documented copiously. To universal manhood suffrage were added annual parliaments and vote by secret ballot as guarantees against both the possibility that representatives elected by the general public might still pursue their own special interests and to prevent electoral corruption. The utilitarians' political scripture, James Mill's article on representative government in the supplement to the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1825, reiterates the point. The "security of unselfish interest," wrote Mill, could only be attained through an "identity of interest" between public and polity, brought about by full political inclusion. And it would be thus attained, for it was impossible for a community to know its good and yet to act against it: the community would know its good "by
instinct," plus some education to inculcate civic character. John Stuart Mill emphasized more strongly the need for education in forming such character, but also held that popular participation would itself provide it.
Political inclusion, in short, was expected to end the rule of "sinister interests" (J. S. Mill's phrase) and to begin an era of genuinely publicspirited rule. Even more revealing than what was explicitly expected are matters not even thought about by the advocates of political inclusion: that the existence of a very numerous, much more heterogeneous citizenry might compel structural changes in government and politics; that far from welcoming inclusion, many citizens would exclude themselves through political apathy; that the mass citizenry, which would need leadership chiefly for tutelage for a limited period, might in fact lower the intellectual level of politics; and that the laboring classes might be only weakly attached to liberal values and might even be attracted to despotism.
Even on the other side, among those who sought to protect privileged interests, well-considered dissent from the radicals' arguments was barely heard. Dissent came later, after about a generation of inclusive polities, and when it did come, in reaction to earlier, inflated visions, it came mainly in the form of great—sometimes sad, sometimes bitter—disillusions.
The majority, of course, clung to the illusion, as they always do, but the political writings of the giants of the period 1890–1920 lean toward the opposite extreme. Some of the writers involved remained gentle, if disenchanted, democrats—like the Fabian Graham Wallas, who wondered, in 1908, whether representative government as such might not "prove to be a mistake." Others ranged to the wild extreme of Gustave Le Bon, whose astonishingly influential study The Crowd —an attempt explicitly to understand the behavior of the popular classes as they entered into political life—reads like class prejudice raised to the level of racial hatred. S. E. Finer, with reason, attributes the growing doubts about the happy visions of the nineteenth century to the decay of "the liberal-democratic synthesis"—the reactions against positive science, against "rationalist" assumptions, indeed against the possibility of any fixed knowledge at all.
What ideas about the effects of political inclusion ran through the literature of discontent? First, and perhaps most conspicuous, the idea that political inclusion does not really equalize but only restratifies political life was progressively elaborated. The period from 1890 to 1920 (from Mosca's Elementi and Michels's Political Parties , to Weber's "Politics as a Vocation") saw the discovery of "ruling elites" in democratized societies and, not least and most emphatically, within the political organizations of the newly included themselves—the "least-likely cases" for "oligarchy." Mosca and others discerned in this a sort of steady state of rule by minorities over majorities. But the new ruling elites were novel groupings, not to be con-
fused with the old patrician "political class." Unlike the latter, they were neither precisely defined nor explicitly legitimated as a privileged political class. They rested on a plebeian basis and were recruited in undefined, murky ways. Often, they "circulated" into and joined old elites. Ironically, they were empowered by the very legitimating myths that their existence contradicted. Something unprecedented and wholly unexpected clearly was being generated by political inclusion. J. L. Talmon has referred to its extreme as "totalitarian democracy," and he locates the origins of that phenomenon in the most "inclusive" political theories of all, those stemming from Rousseau.
Second, a phenomenon now so taken for granted that we reflect little on its consequences was discovered, that of self-exclusion from participatory "membership." The idea that formal entitlements and actual use of them might not much correspond was only fuzzy and embryonic during the period. Moderate writers like Wallas or Bodley were scandalized by the apathy they discerned in democratized polities. Wallas guessed that fewer than 10 percent of British males were really active in politics; even those who vote, he wrote, "shrink with an instinctive dread" from more taxing political participation. Bodley, in regard to France, extended that "dread" even to voting, which, he said, many avoid "for unalloyed recreation." It is, of course, Michels who holds the patent on the discovery of the institutional effects of self-exclusion. The result of broad political inclusion, according to Michels, was not simply new ruling minorities, but "gratitude" for domination, the emergence of leaders as revered cult-figures, the critical rule—as the sources of power in mass politics—of energy and forcefulness (not, as it had once been, birth or cultivation), and of control over media that may inform but that also may manipulate "public opinion" and glorify leaders.
Third, from the late nineteenth century on, numerous writers (e.g., Tarde, Sighele, Burckhardt, and, most notably, Le Bon) argued that the general public was not a "public" at all, but, in effect, a "crowd." The implication was that political inclusion would reduce the intellectual level of politics and thus radically alter the structures and modes of political deliberation—for the worse.
Crowd psychology was developed in contrast to a psychology associated with the advocacy of political inclusion. Wallas called it the psychology of "enlightened self-interest"; we refer to its postulates as "rationalist," both in regard to methods (deliberation, discussion) and ends: the perception of identity between one's own benefits and those of the community. Given the bewilderment that followed experience with political inclusion, attempts were bound to be made to revise or discard the psychological baggage attached to its advocacy by developing a "social psychology." The
only available model seemed hopelessly unrealistic. This was Tocqueville's conception of the American public association, on which J. S. Mill based his vision of the members of the inclusive polity: people who enlarge one another's feelings and develop their minds through reciprocal influence; people interlinked and "civilized" by the newspapers; people cultivated by political discussion that makes them conscious that they are particles in "a great community." The countermodel, developed as more realistic, was derived from the behavior of "crowds," chiefly revolutionary crowds. These, after all, furnished the only conspicuous historical examples of "popular" behavior on which a drastically different social psychology might be based—one that might achieve its major end, that of accounting for the vast differences between what had been expected of broad political inclusion and what had actually resulted.
In general, the new "psychology of the popular mind," as might be expected from its prototype, depicted a mass very far from civilized, one, in fact, verging on the barbaric. The crowd displayed "socially induced stupidity," "mediocre wits," high receptivity to fraud, hero worship, admiration for criminals (Le Bon), suggestibility, incapacity for serious discussion, submissiveness, self-prostration before "celebrity" (Michels, citing Tarde and Sighele), soullessness, intellectual proletarianization (Weber), and so on.
A fourth idea that runs through the literature of discontent is that the political organizations of the newly included, far from being organs of political education and advancing public interests, are in effect little more than "gangs"—that is, mechanisms for despoliation, not least of the newly included themselves. Writers on democratic politics between 1890 and 1920 discovered the political machine as an intrinsic feature of the non-exclusive polity. Its prototype was to be found, as was Tocqueville's conception of popular associations, in American cities.
The "machine" can be regarded as the institutional counterpart of the social-psychological idea of the crowd. Its internal structure was (is) extremely hierarchical: monocratic at the top, with those below the boss strictly disciplined, virtually in a paramilitary manner. The machine's purpose was not even really political; it pursued offices for "commercial" reasons. Weber thought of the bosses as political condottieri, "capitalist adventurers" operating in a political market, and he argued that their existence was an inevitable consequence of having included in the polity people with no choice but to live "off" politics, not "for" it. He referred to the bosses also as a species of tax farmers, while James Bryce compared them to stockbrokers and dry goods traders, and, less amiably, called them street vultures. Their chief means for realizing their objectives were spoils, bribes, favors, electoral corruption, intimidation, and, if necessary, violence. Between them and their lieutenants and followers a sort of feudal
relationship existed, as it did in the aboriginal robber bands: protection, favors, and "intermediation" with the world of jobs and power were exchanged for loyal support in the pursuit of great political profits.
Popular leadership, then, a generation after the watershed period of political inclusion, was perceived as a cynical hoax. The fraud was made possible by public apathy, the crowd's submissiveness, its blindness to its own larger interests, and, not least, by petty but pressing material needs and the necessity to link the new citizens with what were to them remote political authorities.
The disillusions with broad political incorporation tended for a long time (and to some extent still) to be dismissed by many scholars as the work of cranks, bigots, and misanthropes. No doubt this is true in some cases. But almost a century later, after much more intensive and rigorous political inquiry, the discontents of the earlier period have only deepened or undergone marginal revisions. By now, the early discontents have come to be expressed in a set of large subfields of positive political theory—studies of political participation, of national and community power structures, of public opinion and political behavior, and of party structures and processes.
Some of the more influential scholars in these subfields, despite the now prevalent tone of placid acceptance, in fact express even more profound disillusions than the earlier writers. For instance, C. Wright Mills's conception of the contemporary power-elite is of something far more shadowy and harder to crack than was Mosca's or Michels's. Mills regarded it, somberly, as an elite united not by land, or status, or instruction, or even property, but by sheer organizational power as such. The most influential countermodel, Dahl's, offers only "dispersed inequalities," scattered by narrow interests and attention, as an alternative.
So it goes also in other elaborations of the earlier literature. The voluminous, now widely comparative studies of political participation have arrived laboriously at precise numerical confirmation of what Wallas had already said in an informed offhand guess. "Crowd theory" has become the theory of "mass society" of writers like Schumpeter, Ortega, Mannheim, Lederer, Arendt, Kornhauser, and, perhaps bleakest of all, Mills. And the notion of "mass society" differs little from that of the "crowd" even in mood; its principal function, after all, was to help us understand the occurrence of totalitarian horrors. No doubt the predatory adventure-capitalism of the political machines has been toned down. But we have become far more sophisticated, if less shocked, than earlier writers (like Bryce) about political corruption and crime; and we tend to analyze political wheeling and dealing as the practice of rational prudence—the art of democratic princes. In fact, just as early adventure-capitalism (as Weber argued) evolved into rational, sober, "modern" capitalism, so, in
the later literature, Bryce's street-vultures have become Schumpeter's chilly entrepreneurial "dealers in votes" and the rational maximizers of political benefits of Downs and Riker, virtually unencumbered by "economically" inconvenient values and convictions in the competition for political power. The idea of politics as a marketplace has evolved from contempt into analytical orthodoxy. And instead of a politics of public interests, much of the contemporary literature on democratic politics has been summarized as depicting a "politics of private desires."
Since democracy and education always have been linked, it was natural that remedies for the flaws of political inclusion should be sought above all in education, by its expansion to the new citizens and in pedagogic reforms.
In England, already in the eighteenth century, small groups of "enlightened" businessmen and professionals formed societies (like the Lunar Society and the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society) to promote popular schooling in order to counteract patrician domination and corruption. Bentham advocated popular education as a complement to the universal franchise; London University, in fact, was founded in response to his treatise Chrestomathia . James Mill, following Helvétius, held that education alone produces differences in people:
If you take men who bring into the world with them the original constituents of their nature . . . [that is, if you leave out imbeciles], you may regard the whole of this great mass of mankind as equally susceptible of mental excellence. . . . The power of education embraces . . . the highest state, not only of actual, but of possible perfection.
For democracy, he argued further, a general education that "modifies the mind" and affects "the train of feelings" was needed—in short, education that breeds civic character.
The history of educational inclusion, viewed in broad perspective, thus parallels that of political inclusion. Looked at more closely, however, educational inclusion seems more a remedial response to the flaws of political inclusion, or a supplement to it, so that the expectations associated with it could be achieved.
In Britain, at the time of the Reform Act of 1867, it was realized that "we must educate our [new] masters"; but, though numerous commissions studied education and recommended marginal incorporative reforms, a national system of free, compulsory primary education was not established until the Bryce Commission of 1895 had reported, and Parliament responded in Balfour's Act of 1902. The Bryce Commission also was the first to assert a general right to secondary education, although Balfour's
Act only empowered local governments to provide such education if they wished. Only in 1944, in Butler's Education Act, was a system of universal, free secondary education established.
In the United States, the progress of public, or "common," schooling has been less simple because of decentralization. Its broad outline, however, is much the same. An intense agitation for public schooling, concerning especially the link between education and effective democratic citizenship, occurred during the latter half of the nineteenth century, the period of educational reformers like Henry Barnard, John Pierce, and, above all, Horace Mann. The schools that Mann wanted were to be "common schools," not in the sense of the German Volksschulen (schools for common people), but schools common to all: open to all, uniform for rich and poor alike, admitting children regardless of creed or class. "In the warm associations of childhood, Mann saw the opportunity to kindle a spirit of amity and respect which the conflicts of adult life could never destroy. In social harmony he located the primary goal of popular education."
The key to such "civic" schooling lay, Mann believed, in popular control of education. In effect, he projected the creed of political inclusion upon education: lay control per se would continuously define and inculcate in children the "public philosophy." By 1860, the majority of states provided primary schools, and about 50 percent of children received some formal education. A few states were also beginning to provide secondary education and public universities. By the 1890s, free, public primary education was nearly universal, and public education beyond that level was spreading rapidly. The expansion and democratization of higher education continued with increasing momentum until by 1970 about three out of four children finished high school (in 1929, three out of four did not), and 40 percent of the college-age population was enrolled in institutions of higher learning (compared with 14 percent in 1939). These institutions, moreover, had substantially achieved the "impossible" objective of performing both elite functions (transmitting high culture) and popular functions (preparing for vocations and for public service)—something that even the radicals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries had scarcely envisioned.
Late in the nineteenth century—and ever since—educational inclusion in America proceeded along two paths in the attempt to realize the aims of "common" schooling. One involved dealing with discrimination in access to schooling, which culminated in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education . The other, just as important, concerned reform of the curriculum for the sake of effective citizenship. The seminal figure in the agitation for curricular change was William Torrey Harris; the towering genius was John Dewey. Harris subscribed, to an extraordinary degree, to the old creed that education could and would make good democratic citizens and ful-
filled human beings. "Common schools increased opportunity; they taught morality and citizenship; they encouraged a talented leadership." To do this, however, the schools' course of study, Harris argued, must be changed fundamentally, from conventional rote-learning of dreary, deadening subjects to learning that would cultivate both self-discipline and "self-active" individuals. How to cultivate such individuals through schooling was the central subject of Dewey's Democracy and Education . The essential message of Dewey's work was that education proper to democracy must not just provide schooling as such, even on a nondiscriminatory basis, but must end an even more pernicious kind of educational division, that between broadly human study, which forms complete persons, and instruction only for "utilitarian" ends, for making a livelihood, for which "mechanical efficiency in reading, writing, spelling, figuring, together with attainment of a certain amount of muscular dexteritysuffice." Such conditions "infect the education called liberal with illiberality." Education in democracies, first and foremost, must be "relevant to the problems of living together" and must "develop social insight and interest."
The great expectations that moved the process of educational inclusion, then, were exactly those associated with political inclusion. The fundamental assumption on which these expectations rested was, in Sir William Jones's phrase, "that all men are born equal, with an equal capacity for improvement." Even if individual and public interests did not naturally coincide (as Locke thought, and William T. Harris emphatically did not), a proper civic education would produce, in all social strata, a populace of harmonious, public-spirited citizens and able leaders. It would, in addition, promote social mobility and lessen nonpolitical inequalities.
As in the case of political inclusion, what was not contemplated is even more revealing than what was expected. No one thought, for example, that the children of the newly included might, in certain ways, exclude themselves from the benefits of education; nor that the changed demographic character of educational institutions might perforce change their structures and processes in undesired ways; nor that mass education might lower the intellectual level of schooling.
The original pervasive optimism has in recent years been deflated severely. The panacea has come to be seen more and more as itself a problem that has, if anything, reinforced the failures of political inclusion.
The first notes of disillusion were, in fact, sounded already in the 1890s, most strongly in Joseph Rice's muckraking articles about public education in The Forum , which were based not on hopeful thinking, but on close study of actualities—extensive fieldwork, as we would now call it. Rice depicted a deadly boring and shallow system of education, conducted by incompetent teachers whose main instructional tools were singsong drills, rote repetition, and meaningless verbiage. The principal cause of this, he
argued, was the use of schools as objects of despoliation by the political machines—the corrupt hiring of untrained teachers for the usual political benefits. Public apathy made this state of affairs possible in the first place. In gist, Rice found that a flaw of political inclusion itself (machine politics) poisoned the remedy. Readers were scandalized by Rice's articles, but more by the nasty, hard-to-swallow things he wrote than by the conditions he portrayed.
In recent years, skepticism about the value of schooling for democratic socialization has grown—at any rate, the value of schooling as it is in fact provided. A considerable literature on the subject has accumulated since the early 1970s that includes the standard text on political socialization by Dawson, Prewitt, and Dawson, as well as studies by Jennings, Ehman, Niemi, Mercer, Shaver, and others. For good measure, the new literature also is skeptical about the value of schooling for achievement in general—that is, for social mobility and equalization.
The standard explanation of the failure of schooling to fulfill its expected democratizing function is the theory of the "hidden curriculum," which says, in essence, that schools by and large pay much lip service to democratic values and, indeed, teach these values in "social science" (civics) courses, but negate what they preach in virtually all they do. They practice hierarchy, not democracy; teachers control the curriculum, and administrators control behavior outside the classroom; students are not treated as equals, but are placed in individious ability groupings. And instead of self-discipline, practiced by "self-active" individuals, there is constant surveillance; instead of social harmony (living "together"), egoistic competition for grades and status occurs; instead of self-development through broad educational experiences, there is stultifying standardization. Exceptions exist, not in schools catering to the newly included—those presumably most in need of democratic socialization—but in middleclass schools.
In a recent article, Richard Merelman both amends and reinforces the theory of the hidden curriculum, the latter by providing a rationale for why the curriculum exists. The rationale is based largely on one of the best intensive studies of the consequences of educational inclusion—Classrooms and Corridors , Mary Metz's study of the effects of racial desegregation on two junior high schools in Berkeley, California. Metz makes much of the fact that schools do not just perform external functions—that is, they do not simply educate. They are organizations and, like all such, must satisfy internal requisites. Above all, they must maintain internal order; hence the juxtaposition of "classrooms" and "corridors" in the title and the organization of Metz's study. Obviously, without internal order, no sort of education can effectively be provided, nor can education occur if the special ability of teachers to impart knowledge is denied. The critical
democratic values of popular sovereignty and equality in authority, Merelman argues, are clearly inconsistent with these inescapable requisites. Schools can adapt to the values only by teaching "civics" poorly (and social science teachers are particularly poor), by phony grading of undemanding studies, and by treating controversial values as fixed facts, which prevents training in the formation of democratic agreement by debate.
The argument that the value of order is an obstacle to democratic socialization in schools clearly has merit. Schools deal with children who hardly are capable of fully governing and teaching themselves. Because pupils must adapt to the schools' internal order from backgrounds that are different in structure, internalized norms cannot fully be relied upon to do the work of external direction. This is true even of schools like the British public schools, elite schools that are almost total institutions, that practice a highly developed form of student governance, and most of whose student members enter after highly congruent experience in preparatory schools. In the literature on the British public schools, as in much of the recent literature on other schools, the issues of adaptation and maladaptation are of critical importance.
The crucial thesis of Metz's study, however, is not that the need for internal order is always at odds with democratic values. Rather, much more poignantly, and much more to the point here, it is that effects of educational inclusion have greatly exacerbated the problem of maintaining order in schools. In so doing, inclusion has made more tenuous any sort of education, but most of all, the sort of broad, reflective "developmental" education that, it had long been argued, alone could produce effective democratic citizens.
In the first place, Metz found that desegregation brought into schools students whose attitudes toward authority in classrooms and to their educational processes were notably different from those of middle-class white students. Lower-track students (almost entirely black) were on the surface unquestioningly submissive, accepting "what they should learn, how they should learn it, or how they should behave" as "inevitable," but without embracing the norms and rules of the school. They did not question the school's character, but they also "remained alien and separate within it." Hence, they both accepted authority (or, better, established power) and tried "in the first instance . . . to fool the teacher." They did not experience the school as a place they could affect in any way or as "an instrument to meet their own experienced needs." The most that was hoped for was "an absence of active pain"; the ideal was "boisterous play and little work." Their passive, self-exclusive attitudes contrasted sharply with those of students in the higher tracks—mostly white and middle class (with a sprinkling of blacks). The latter questioned teachers much more and tended to con-
sider themselves the teachers' "junior partners" in decision making. This was true most of all of students from upper-middle-class families.
Second, in this way, educational inclusion largely destroyed the schools Metz studied as homogeneous "moral orders," orders in which the members largely agree on organizational goals (in the old middle-class schools, mainly the goal of education for achievement), on the means needed to achieve the goals, and on the authority relations proper to these means. The mere presence of submissive, unmotivated lower-class students was not the only source of this difficulty; even more important was the increased social heterogeneity of the schools' members—which, obviously, is always the result of incorporative processes.
Metz thinks of the definition of classroom relationships as a process of mutual adjustment in which pupils' and teachers' dispositions and perceptions interact as challenge and response: on one side, teachers are "tested," either intellectually or by teasing or disorderly conduct; on the other, teachers respond by "arranging" classrooms, by offering exchanges (grades), by persuasion or manipulation. This view is widely shared by other contemporary "educationists" and corresponds to Crozier's conception of operative bureaucratic structures as shaped by complex group dynamics. Children are perceived as active contestants in the definition of classroom situations; the order of the classroom constantly is "worked out."
It should be evident that the more heterogeneous in background and attitudes pupils are, the more difficult the process of working out moral orders becomes. Where moral order in classrooms is highly tenuous, two kinds of teacher styles, Metz argues, tend to take over: one is protoauthority (para-authority?), which aims only at maintaining obedience, keeping pupils busy and out of trouble; the other is nondirective guidance, which, in gist, means copping out—abdicating the teachers' responsibilities and leaving pupils to work out their own "development." One style will hardly shape democratic character; the other will not shape anything at all.
Schools use a simple practice to reduce the problems stemming from heterogeneity: they place pupils in different tracks—in Metz's schools, four of them. Something like the kind of schooling that the old pedagogic philosophers considered appropriate to effective citizenship, as well as achievement in the broader sense, goes on in the upper tracks. Metz calls this developmental teaching, which occurs along with the older, less participatory kind of pedagogy, incorporative teaching, which Harris and Dewey also valued. But the lower the track, the less this is the case. A kind of aimlessness takes over at the bottom: authoritarian dominance or uncaring near-anarchy. Since the order of the tracks largely follows that
of social stratification, we may infer that inclusive schooling, however egalitarian in appearance, only maintains inequality. At most, it seems to provide an outside chance to a few specially gifted and motivated lower-class children to be coopted into the milieus of the higher social classes.
The themes of discontent with political inclusion thus are echoed in Metz's study of educational inclusion. One is self-exclusion; a second, the maintenance, perhaps even reinforcement, of inequalities (elitism) in the guise of apparent equalization. Merelman misses Metz's explanation of these unexpected flaws of educational inclusion—that is, that they result essentially from heterogeneity in schools. This is apparent in the remedies he proposes: to improve the quality of teachers of social science; to set minimum levels of classroom performance (for genuine equality in grading); not to obscure the distinction between facts and values, so that public discussion of the latter can occur in schools. Merelman's culprits—as in the past, when illusions were intact—are the teachers and the curriculum, not the pupils. And again, as before, only some marginal adjustments in the teachers and curriculum will, he thinks, remedy the shortcomings of the incorporative process in education. Metz's analysis plumbs much greater depths.
The difficulties that Metz describes are recurrent themes in the growing literature about what goes on in the newly inclusive schools. That literature is particularly rich in Britain, no doubt because education has long been perceived as fundamental to British social and political structure. I will summarize the chief points that emerge in the literature, without going into the rich, ethnographic details that scholars have used to support them.
First, a large proportion of lower-class pupils in secondary schools seem to be concerned mainly with somehow getting through them, painlessly if possible and without much exertion. Schools are "gaols," "stalags," places to be endured before beginning work—real life. Pupils who conform do so, in large part, because they see no alternative and are considered "creeps" who "suck up" to teachers by most of their fellows. Many adapt by "retreating," "working the system," "making out," "getting by." Some do their own "preparing for life"—like the girls observed by Peter Woods, who "spend their day doing each other's hair," in preparation for work as hairdressers. Some spend their time in classes ignoring the lessons, daydreaming, gossiping. A major technique used to "get through" is "having a laugh": infusing hostile alien surroundings with fun and zest—"mucking about," playing pranks. This antischool (self-exclusive) culture, writes Woods (about an English secondary modern school), is "influenced by locally derived working-class values"; that is, the lower-class pupils' parents do not dissuade such aimlessness, but, if anything, encourage it.
Second, just as most lower-class pupils seem most concerned with somehow getting through, so apparently are their teachers. The hidden cur-
riculum, as discerned by Woods, really is "a hidden pedagogy of survival." The resources that teachers use to survive range (echoing Metz) from being blindly authoritarian ("teaching them right," "breaking their wills," "keeping them down") mindless drills, to convenient exchanges ("you play ball with me, and I'll play ball with you"—i.e., I'll be undemanding, playful, entertaining), to teaching simply as ritual or passing time doing pointless things. In essence, pupils who disdain education deal, to a great extent, with teachers who do not provide it—a mutual adaptation that works, but hardly as proponents of educational inclusion expected.
Third, teachers deal with the need to demonstrate pedagogic success by blatant abuses of the system of "tracks" or "streams." They steer pupils likely to do well (mostly middle-class pupils) into the tracks that aim at higher education. Students of lower-class background tend to be firmly guided into lower, often dead-end tracks, and perfunctory instruction often keeps them in those tracks, headed only for manual or domestic labor. Teachers discourage lower-class pupils who aim high ("pretenders") and encourage those who aim lower than they should ("underbidders"), sometimes over the pupils' active protests. The overall result, of course, is the maintenance of old patterns of stratification; indeed, it is the legitimation of largely ascriptive differences by a mockery of achievement.
Fourth, much of the literature on the new inclusive schools shows that the types of pupils recently included behave according to sets of "rules" perceived as deviant, even delinquent, by those in authority. No other subject of study has provided more ammunition for the "labeling" theory of deviance. In general, the rules that lower-class pupils act by tend to give the appearance of irrationality, provocation, impulsiveness, insolence, even proneness to violence and its counterpart, submissiveness to demonstrated strength. They thus evoke the descriptions of the crowd as a model alternative to rational publics. Perhaps the most vivid depiction of these rules, and of the behavior to which they lead, is provided by Herbert Foster, who spent many years teaching in American ghetto schools and training others to do so. The rules Foster describes, in exquisite detail and with unusual honesty (since he obviously dislikes what he describes), he considers evolved "from the urban black male's culture and life style as it is played out in the ghetto's streets and street corners." Their object, above all, is to test the teacher's mettle, especially his physical courage and acceptance of physicality (contests of strength, sexuality) as a condition of legitimacy. The ruleful contests include: ribbin' —taunting, denigrating, making fun of people, from their clothing to parts of their bodies; shuckin' and jivin' —mock subservience, double talk; woofin' —vicious verbal attacks, acting crazy; the dozens —insult games intended to make tempers snap; and outright physical provocation . Very few teachers win these contests for the right to receive compliance. Beginning optimistically, the majority proceed,
via "rejection," to the exaction of fearful, blind discipline in doing petty busywork. At best, they achieve grudging submission. Only about 2 to 3 percent, writes Foster, succeed in establishing genuine pedagogic legitimacy—and thus can really educate.
The discrepancies between these findings and the expectations of Bentham, Mill, Mann, Harris, and Dewey hardly could be larger. The discontents with educational inclusion are still embryonic. But one may guess that they will be even greater than those with political inclusion—if only because education still is regarded as the critical source of effective democratic citizenship.
Education, of course, may involve either schooling or learning by experience. Recently, the creed that education will form effective democratic citizens has begun to emphasize the latter, particularly in the workplace—which is, after all, along with the family, the institution in which most adults' lives are to the greatest degree immersed. By participating in the direction of the workplace, Carole Pateman has argued, workers will acquire in microcosmic contexts the sense that they can be effective and confidence in their ability to influence decisions. This in turn will lead to actual participation—first, at low, immediately salient levels (shop-floor conditions); then in "management" and the still larger, still more remote context of the polity. In short, workplace inclusion now is supposed to accomplish the task of educational inclusion: forming self-active citizens.
Given the already copious literature on the subject, workplace inclusion warrants more extensive treatment in my argument than space allows. It is sufficient to say here, however, that discontents with workplace inclusion are common. Workers tend, much more than expected, to exclude themselves from the opportunities offered them to participate—less from participation in decisions about their own work, more from higher management decisions, in fact, from any decision beyond the work team. Correlates to a sense that one's actions might affect decisions are low. If shopfloor participation leads to anything, it is to the "active" use of leisure time. Much of the impetus for schemes of worker participation in management, or QWL (quality of work life), seems to come from above, from enlightened graduates of schools of management or from managers who would rather avoid high labor turnover and dissatisfaction. It has also been found that self-governance at the workplace or employee ownership appeals mostly to workers who already hold bourgeois values, that employee ownership seems to accentuate petty acquisitiveness, and that workers as owners generally reproduce old hierarchic structures.
The evidence appears to point overwhelmingly to two conclusions: most workers prefer autonomy to power (two points to Crozier); and all the
piety and wit of workplace reformers have not been able to dent the inertia of the existing structure of authority. Of course, unlike political inclusion, which is now a matter of history, we do not know yet what son of organizational behavior a widely functioning industrial democracy might produce.
The Authority-Culture Of the Poor:
Workplace inclusion reinforces the need to give a reasonable account of two discontents with the results of political and educational inclusion: self-exclusion and the maintenance of stratification and hierarchy. In addition, we need to explain the apparent irrationality, even latent and overt violence (physicality), of mass behavior under conditions of inclusion (rather than as frustrated, or rational, responses to exclusion). And a "science of equality" should provide an account of the tendency of lower-class organizations to spawn institutions in which authority is an odd compound, on the one hand, of dominance and submissiveness and, on the other, of feudalistic mutualities between plebeian lords (bosses) and their followers.
A Proposed Explanation:
Rationale and Summary
For all the usual reasons, single-factor explanations will not suffice. To avoid cumbersome theory, however, we should initially attempt to single out some factor likely to be critically important for explaining the gap between expectations from, and consequences of, civic inclusion. I want to suggest that the "authority-culture of poverty"—patterns of authority typical of the institutions of lower-class life—is that factor. Such patterns seem crucial for three reasons.
First, since civic inclusion has to do with the reduction of asymmetries of power, influence, and authority in social organizations, it is important to examine general attitudes toward such asymmetries and behavior regarding them. Second, the fundamental sources of disillusion with the effects of political incorporation have always been the attitudes and behavior of the newly included. Priority, therefore, should be given to examining authority relations experienced in their social milieus; and we may posit that authority in institutions in which the lives of the lower social strata are most immersed need particularly close scrutiny. Finally, though societies no doubt have cultures that cut across class lines, we may also posit that objective conditions of life shared by social strata underlie subcultural differences, as determinants or constraints. For the lower, less-advantaged strata, the most obviously shared objective condition is great scarcity. Thus, it seems reasonable to posit that there exist everywhere essentially similar authority-cultures of poverty—a core of common atti-
tudes toward processes of governance and relations of authority associated with low incomes, little instruction, and menial work.
My governing hypothesis, then, is that the effects of civic inclusion are largely explicable by the culture of authority of the lower strata, and by differences between lower-class culture and that of the higher strata . At the very outset, I want to make clear that the authority relations typical of lower-class life are not somehow irrational (as may seem to those who have never experienced poverty), but that they are adapted to the ineluctable facts of material hardship. I support my hypothesis by discussing three institutions that pretty much cover the social life of the poor: the family, the institutions of "street society," and lower-class jobs. No more is needed, for a correlate of high material scarcity is a highly constricted social life in rudimentary social networks.
All the unanticipated consequences of civic inclusion that I outlined above can be traced to traits of family life typical among the poor. The poorer the families, the more this holds; but I am dealing here with the ordinary poor, not merely with the extreme poverty of destitute people.
With regard to self-exclusion: The authority exercised in lower-class families is utterly unlikely to breed participatory dispositions in family members, nor are family relations among the poor likely to produce the sense that one can be effective in influencing the powers that govern life. What they are likely to produce are passivity and lack of enterprise, ignorance, an inability to make reasoned choices, and a tendency to evade difficult situations.
Josephine Klein's synthesis of works on British subcultures —based on many sociological case studies, popular works, social novels, and much else—depicts unrelentingly authoritarian, nonparticipatory dominance. Lower-class families generally are headed by monocratic fathers, though they are actually governed more by mothers. Fathers live mostly at work and with their pals in pubs; when home, they require peace and indulgence more than power, but can turn despotic, often at unpredictable moments. Regulation of the family tends to be exceedingly detailed and comprehensive; the intent seems to be to establish routines for just about all the children's activities. The routines, however, are frequently disrupted by peremptory orders, and punishments are quick to be invoked to enforce orders, either routine or impulsive. Husbands rarely "discuss" rules of conduct with their wives, but rather make specific demands on them. If "discussion" occurs at all, it generally takes the form of quarrels—struggles for domination or autonomy. One finds, in effect, no decision-making processes at all in lower-class families, and hence, no participation in any sensible meaning.
Regarding the submissive acceptance of ruling elites: If the most formative experiences of life are pervaded by the distinction between superiors and inferiors; if superiors are menacing, thus to be appeased; if they are deeply needed for nurture and protection in the very precarious world that poor children confront; then surely we should expect what Michels found—that authority figures tend to be both venerated and perceived as separated from subordinates—figures of some different, higher order. To those who live in such a world, there is no association between compliance and legitimacy. Compliance tends to be mere submission, the acceptance of dominance as a given.
As to mass behavior: I want especially to stress here an aspect of authority in lower-class family life that also helps explain self-exclusion and submissiveness to power; it is perhaps the most important facet of authority in lower-class families—the arbitrary nature of authority. Arbitrariness makes life unpredictable, and thus frightening. It breeds anxiety and a sense of helplessness. Good and awful things happen without apparent rhyme or reason, where all seems aimed, above all, at peace for the moment: orders, punishments, and also indulgences (like suddenly smothering babies with love, stuffing the kids with food). An atmosphere of unpredictable kicks and kisses is bound to breed not just passivity and submission but, when reaction is aroused, irritable distrust, unpredictable aggression, riotous impulse, a reactive pattern of ruleless (thus seemingly irrational) submission, and hitting back. In addition, how could discussion occur among people whose dominant mode of making decisions is quarreling, who are suspicious, easily slighted, easily aroused to aggression, and relatively free of internalized standards of propriety?
Even the operation of organizations as gangs can be traced, to an extent, to family patterns among the poor (though it has more to do with life "on the street"). Organized despoliation can be attributed to the relative lack of strongly internalized moral restraints toward others among the poor—which includes people to whom one is close. One takes what one can, suffers as one must, and is grateful for indulgences received—surely the essence of the attitudes that maintained political machines. Despoliation seems normal within the very circle of lower-class family life. Klein points out that husbands in the English lower-classes generally try to cheat wives out of what they need to do the tasks demanded of them—even steal from them. Children, of course, also try to sneak material things: if, for instance, food is available, it is gobbled up beyond need. In these ways, the internal "market" of the lower-class family is a sort of microcosm of premodern, nonrational, ruleless capitalism.
All this may sound bigoted—like Le Bon on the crowd. Like much of the extensive literature on the culture of poverty, the conventional account of authority relations in poor milieus in fact tends to be invidious. It turns
chiefly on the lack of education and "sophistication." A more compelling explanation of the authority relations I have sketched is that family authority in poor families is of necessity determined by high material constraints and, to a large extent, adapted to that fact.
Scarcity compels people to live in ways that inevitably entail authoritarian relationships and their consequences for personality development. Where affluence is greater, objective constraints on possible modes of behavior are looser; more liberal authority relations at least are possible. This argument also implies that cultural differences among the lower and higher classes in the same society may well be greater than differences among members of the same class in different societies. If so, it follows, then, that inclusion in a system of relationships constructed by affluent people may create greater problems of adaptation, a more acute sense of disorientation, than even so dramatic a change as immigration.
Higher-class writers who discuss the poor (like the philosophic radicals) often seem astonishingly insensitive to the simplest facts of life in the lower strata. The simplest fact of all, of course, is financial stringency and what goes with it. Where everyone has a room of his or her own, access to good, adequate modern plumbing, to telephones, to personal TV sets and hifi's, and a full refrigerator, it is no triumph of sophistication to be liberal in the family. Where food is scarce, where people rub elbows all the time, where someone must have the last word over who gets to use the TV or record player—in other words, even in families a good deal above destitution—permissiveness simply is not possible; domestic routines and strict discipline are imperative. Because of that, sanctions must quickly be invoked when orders are breached. Since, moreover, the particular scarcities that need managing are highly unpredictable, the concrete command is more to the point than general norms that allow family members room for interpretation. Demanding and commanding, of course, also express aggressions that follow from frustrations, thus again from stringency; if life is poor, it can hardly fail to be brutish. The combination of stringency and strictness necessarily breeds dependence—an intensely felt need for protection—and a craving for indulgence.
If directives must be peremptory and unpredictable, if they must be backed by summary punishments, if, as a result, general norms are underdeveloped, then it follows that perceptions of legitimacy or illegitimacy also must be weak or wanting. Authority must shade off into power, pure and simple. The tendency for the two to coincide is reinforced by another unavoidable fact of lower-class life: since constant discipline is necessary, and since mothers are busy with all sorts of chores and often, necessarily, out of the home, much authority devolves on children over children; sometimes children nine or ten years old manage others. In young children of
any class, restraints are inclined to be low and the moral sense little developed, but these effects tend to be much accentuated by poverty.
Further, how could that sine qua non of liberal authority, decision by discussion, make sense in conditions of stringency and deep insecurity? The better-off have options, and thus discussion occurs naturally. Among the poor, however, we are bound to find the attitude that talking is useless—simply because it usually is.
In these ways, and others, virtually all facets of authority relations in lower-class families can be deduced from the functional imperatives of living in poverty.
Sometimes I wonder why I even bothered to go to school. Practically everything I know I learned on the corner. . . . The street is where young bloods get their education .
—H. Rap Brown, Die Nigger Die
Peer groups are important in all social strata, particularly for youths; they are far more important, however, in the lower strata than in any other. If homes are crowded, regimented, and depressed, those who can will gravitate toward the outside. As the home is something to be escaped, so too are schools for most lower-class youths, since schools do not provide a context with which these young people can identify. In lower-class schools, as we saw, the atmosphere also is oppressive. Teachers seem like alien figures, and the disappointed hopes of adult family members and acquaintances inhibit ambition. Most lower-class youths tend inevitably to become "street boys," and life on the street—with peers, but emulating adult (male) street society—is as important in molding attitudes, behavior, and personality as life in the family, perhaps more so. Street society indudes not only street-corner life in the literal sense, but also the life that occurs in many kinds of sociable institutions—barber shops, drugstores, poolrooms, bowling alleys, arcades, clubrooms, cafeterias, taverns—always within very narrowly bounded "urban villages." The neighborhood streets and gathering places are the relevant worlds of the urban poor, and they often extend only for a few blocks. The rest is alien territory.
Life on the street best explains two facets of the syndrome of authority in lower-class contexts: elitism (and its counterpart, submission) and the tendency to generate gangs (literally or figuratively) as the typical form of organizations. Self-exclusion and aspects of mass behavior also are reinforced by the institutions of the street.
The mean streets provide rich materials for anthropological study, but
unfortunately, good studies of them are few, and it is therefore difficult to make these points tellingly. In addition, most of what literature there is on street society deals with the life of the most lowly and is mainly concerned with its more sensational aspects: criminality and other social pathologies or—better—behavior perceived as pathological by middle-class observers.
Nevertheless, what we do have can be considered useful if two premises hold, as I think they do. First, the more grisly, more publicized aspects of life in lower-class neighborhoods are an integral pan of routine existence. "If a racketeer commits murder," writes William F. Whyte, "that is news. If he proceeds quietly with the daily routines of his business, that is not news. If the politician is indicted for accepting graft, that is news. If he goes about doing the usual favors for his constituents, that is not news." If the kind of life experienced in the lower social strata is the unavoidable consequence of living with high scarcity and in the confines of constricted social networks, then it must follow that the life of the most lowly is only an intensified version of that lived by the less so. And this seems to be true. For instance, we associate gangs with vice and mayhem, and not entirely without reason: a great deal of life on the street is rough and aggressive, as it must be. But gangs vary from being vicious to those that lead a rather innocent club life, and a ruleful one—though the rules, as Foster puts it, "are not middle-class nor Marquis of Queensberry."
Governance in street gangs and their equivalents (clubs, cliques, ratpacks) is exactly what the more disenchanted ruling-elite theorists would expect—dramatically so. Since such gangs are especially salient for the young (who, after all, do not yet work, or work much, at jobs or in school), their socialization outside the family also leads not only to dependence on leaders, but to "veneration" of them. Mills tells us that the power-elite rules by default, but if the masses were tuned in to them, it is doubtful that they would find anything either unfamiliar or illegitimate.
Authority in street gangs of all kinds is uniformly monocratic and rigidly hierarchical.
The leader is the focal point for the organization of his group. In his absence . . . there is not common activity or general conversation. When the leader appears the situation changes strikingly. The small groups form into one large group. The conversation becomes general, and unified action frequently follows. . . . The members do not feel that the gang is really gathered until the leader appears . . . and when he is present they expect him to make their decisions.
Frederick Thrasher's study of more than a thousand gangs in Chicago found such monocracy without exception. The leaders do often use lieutenants, and indeed, "each member of the . . . gang has his own position in
the gang structure." A result, as in all monocracies, is the not infrequent overthrow of a leader by a lieutenant who sets up a gang of his own.
On what basis does such leadership rest, and on what basis may it be challenged? In a nutshell, it rests on what Foster calls physicality and what Thrasher calls gameness—personal prowess, plus some closely related traits, like foxiness (in Machiavelli's sense), excellence in verbal meanness (insults and ridicule), or indeed any kind of competitive excellence (for instance, in bowling). Authority and power—for that matter, brute force—are synonymous in lower-class gangs. The gangs are warrior societies.
Force and its near relatives legitimate because in lower-class life they are highly functional, not irrational pathologies. This is so simply because lower-class street life is not far removed from the "state of nature," like it or not. The lower-class child's life, writes Keller, "is violent, hostile, aggressive, anxious and unstable. . . . He learns to fight for everything; he learns that might does indeed make right." Claude Brown in Manchild in the Promised Land writes about Harlem:
Fighting was the thing that people concentrated on. In our childhood we all had to make our reputations in the neighborhood. Then we'd spend the rest of our lives living up to them. . . . The little bosses in the neighborhood whom the adults respected were little boys who didn't let anybody mess with them. . . . If I had stayed in Harlem all my life, I might never have known that there was anything else in life other than sex, religion, and violence.
How else—if not by prayer or aggression—can the poor achieve what others get in gentler ways? Foster calls violence "the lower-class problem-solving technique." Where other resources are very limited, that is hardly astonishing. And who is there to attack, in the small urban villages, but others like oneself?
Under such conditions, strength must be an overriding value; it provides protection in a physically menacing world. Authority in street gangs, then, rests on the same basis as lordship in early Western feudalism, for exactly the same reason. Whether one's locality is overrun by predatory Norsemen, Magyars, and Huns, or by Short Tails, Swamp Angels, and Buckoos, the ability to provide elementary physical security is bound to legitimate domination. Nonviolence, in such cases, is not "natural"; self-defense is. The gang leader, like the early feudal lord, also tends to act in loco parentis, protectively and with strict discipline.
We begin to see here why lower-class organizations tend to have what I called a quasi-feudal character—including the mutualities of support and protection that are the essence of political machines. There is in gangs a strong sense of mutual obligations: services are done for services rendered, favors for favors, among the "men" and between leaders and followers,
in accordance with rigid, though tacit, codes. Loyalty counts with gameness and stealth as a source of status on the street.
Moreover, strength, stealth, excellence in physical competitions, and primal loyalties that solidify groups as mutual-protection societies are bound to be major sources of self-esteem and esteem by others in the societies of the poor. From what else can status be derived? Clearly, not from occupations; perhaps—a rank or two removed from great economic stringency—from religiosity; almost universally from the ability to beat the system—which, if you are in it, can only be through successful hustling. "Because of the lack of successful middle-class adult models to emulate, . . . the black child's model for emulation becomes the hustler, the pimp, the murphy man, the preacher, the athlete (only recently)." The life of hustling, needless to say, often is—must be—highly "sophisticated," but, of course, the sophistication of the streets is not that of the alumni associations. The hustler-hero certainly would not last long in the boardroom (or would he?), but neither (and more surely) would the board member do well on the street.
So far, I have emphasized the links between street life and elitism, but also touched on its links to "nonrational" behavior, to legitimacy, and to the predatory nature of many lower-class organizations. The link to the last of these traits needs some further discussion, since the inadequacies of the organizations of the lower classes as educative, mobilizing structures are critical to the discontent associated with inclusion.
There is a direct relation between the organizations of the street and the political organizations of the poor: the gangs and clubs of the streets long were the cells of political machines, and many of the top and secondary leaders of the machines were recruited straight from the street organizations. Religion, hustling, and politics have always and everywhere been close allies among the poor; all are vehicles for getting on in poor society, sometimes for getting out of it. Robert E. Park and his collaborators have already described the interconnections between street gangs and political machines in their seminal study The City . Thrasher, in 1926, documented the point at length. Foster traces the virtual amalgamation of gangs and political machines precisely to the early age of political inclusion in the United States:
Gangs started out as petty thieves who also fought for their neighborhoods for the fun of fighting. Gradually, however, some of them became very much involved as . . . tools of politicians. In the early days before the Civil War, the composition and objectives of the gangs began to change. In the 1830s district and ward leaders began to purchase saloons, dance houses, and the greengrocery speakeasies in which the gangs congregated, while taking houses of prostitution and gambling under their protective wings. Hence we had the beginning of the amalgamation of the underworld of the gangs with the politicians.
This amalgamation of gangs and machines makes the operation of the machines comprehensible, as it does their astonishing acceptability to the lower strata. What possible concern could members of these strata have had for any "general interest," of the sort about which bookish liberals had written? How could such a concept as the "common interest" have been grasped where the natural leaders, the more gifted and more "sophisticated," had principally to mediate between the neighborhood and the big shots? The machines made sense—functional sense. They were predatory, as life in the lower strata was, and had to be. They worked through the familiar currency of clientelism: favors for favors. They were run monocratically by bosses, with paramilitary discipline. The bosses, quite naturally for political entrepreneurs, tried to amass support cheaply. They did so by giving small "pay" to people who worked for them and by charging fees for favors (getting jobs, fixing cases, and the like), through bagmen and other graft collectors. The chief point was to achieve, as much as possible, a comfortable independence from the machine itself. In return, the machine was expected to get things for the community—and getting things for the neighborhoods was not looked on as somehow shady but as a matter of fundamental rights. The essentially feudal idea of mutual obligations bound members of the political machines to the bosses, and the machines to their political clients. And much of this—spoils, patronage, fixing things for support, getting things for the constituency—remains an essential part of the practical morality of inclusive democracy.
By far the best description of all this is Whyte's—for Boston in the early 1940s, a century after the initial weddings of machines and gangs. Whyte, in fact, entitled the entire general discussion of Street Corner Society (after presenting case studies of two gangs, Doc's and Chick's) "Racketeers and Politicians." He also provides a splendid account of how recruitment from gangs into political organizations occurs. For the gang leader, like Doc or Chick in Boston, what was there to do when the gangs disintegrated as the boys married and settled into jobs? They had brains and status, and they were accustomed to leadership. Were they to take on menial work? Obviously not. But what else was there, except politics? So Doc and Chick, quite naturally, switched from running gangs to political activity—the one, from unsuccessful candidacy for office into the oblivion "in the back of Stefan's dimly lighted barbershop"; the other, to the attorney general's staff, by way of his own small organization to distribute handbills, canvass, and speak at meetings.
It goes without saying that the conventional organization of lower-class (unskilled, semiskilled) workplaces only reinforces the tendencies I have described; hence the contemporary preoccupations with the "humaniza-
tion" of the workplace, with QWL arrangements, and with workers' participation in management. A less simple issue involves the effects that the intrinsic nature of lower-class work has on personality traits and, through them, on dispositions with regard to politics—an issue that has, in fact, been studied a fair amount.
The leading contemporary research, both clinical and statistical, on the subject is that of Melvin Kohn and his associates. The essence of Kohn's argument can be put thus: lower-class jobs predominantly inhibit "self-direction." They are closely supervised and, in other ways, highly disciplined. The basic cause of this is their very nature, especially their extreme simplicity. Complex, nonroutine work requires decisions among options; simple work verges on robotics. There are some exceptions. Some blue-collar jobs do require special skills or, for special reasons, cannot be supervised closely—most of all the jobs of expert dirty workers, like miners and truck drivers; for that reason, such jobs are much prized, despite the arduous, often dangerous work involved. (In fact, danger and arduousness in work generally are treated as badges of honor in the working class.) By and large, however, lower-class jobs are hardly likely to induce participation or make people capable of performing well in decision structures. In simple, menial jobs, the only thing likely to be learned is that one submits or tyrannizes.
In addition, simple, menial work has important psychological consequences that are bound to affect the authority-culture of the lower strata. Such work, for instance, contributes significantly to how morality is conceived. To menial workers, acting "morally" tends only to mean strict adherence to dictates, as against basing behavior on internalized norms or standards consciously devised by oneself. The relationship of this to domination and submission, as well as to "mass" and exploitative behavior, is obvious. Menial work tends to breed, according to Kohn's findings, a sort of blind authoritarian conservatism of the Archie Bunker type; for example: "The most important thing to teach children is absolute obedience to their parents"; "Children shouldn't be confused by reading books"; "Questioning the old ways just causes trouble." Such attitudes can readily be traced to settings in which dictates and dull routines predominate.
Kohn's implicit prescription for remedying the flaws of inclusion is to change work itself, not its organization—especially to "complicate" it, free it of simple, option-free routines—to make of it artisanship in industrial clothes. How and whether this is possible remains to be seen. As things are, lower-class work tends to engender what is surely the ultimate self-exclusion: the dissociation of the self from its activities—alienation. Pateman's visions of the educative value of participation in the direction of the workplace will surely be dashed most of all by that dissociation.
The literature on lower-class work uniformly points to such dissociation: dissatisfaction with jobs, lack of commitment to them, and lack of identification with the workplace. Among the young, this is reflected especially in a tendency to drift from job to job, looking for something rarely (or never) found. By the age of twenty-five, the working-class youths studied by Lillian Rubin had worked, on the average, almost eight years, and half had held from six to ten jobs. As it becomes necessary to settle down, and as hope for something better evaporates, such extreme mobility declines (though layoffs and temporary work still make for a good deal of movement from job to job). Yet, even when settled, the lower-class worker tends to resign and numb himself to his work, to treat the job as something to be got through, much as he "got through" school. This might be considered a definition of menial work, or "labor," in Arendt's sense: work that demeans, that offers no psychic rewards.
The work of most lower-class men thus only reinforces all that follows from constraints in domestic life and their consequences for authority. It does so directly, and also indirectly, by bringing into the home men who need indulgence because they are fatigued and distressed, who oppress because they have been oppressed, who discourage enterprise in children because they have had to learn to numb themselves as a condition of survival.
As for the work of the chief executives—the women—the domestic tasks of lower-class housewives are so deadening and demanding that the women often seek relief in outside drudgery, in "low-status, low-paying, dead-end work made up of dull, routine tasks; work that often is considered too menial for men": being a cleaning-woman, seamstress, waitress, cashier, school-crossing guard, and the like. Worse, women generally seem to prefer work that involves service, submission, and suppression of the intellect. And they tend, generally, to enjoy doing such work "because it gets . . . [them] away from home."
I have noted that the descriptions of the effects of civic inclusion in an earlier part of this essay are highly simplified and that the explanation in the section on the authority-culture of the poor is an "explanation-sketch," to be filled in by a great deal of further research. For once, the point is not to disarm criticism with modesty; it is, rather, that if we really want to take civic inclusion seriously—as a value or as a fundamental fact of social life, or both—we must undertake further research on a proper scale and treat the explanation sketched as plausible enough to attempt proper testing.
Pertinent research can proceed along a great many lines, only a few of which I want to outline here. We need, for instance, to do good comparative research on authority relations among ethnically different groups
such as Irish, blacks, Chicanos, Italians, Asians. Such research can provide a tough test of what I have argued, because, as stated, my thesis has an inescapable corollary: if high material constraint severely limits options in social behavior and attitudes, then, despite ethnic differences, authority relations among the poor should be much the same—all the more so if such attitudes and behavior are adaptive imperatives in stressful conditions. It would similarly be useful to compare the organizations of the poor historically, by region, cross-nationally, and in rural and urban settings. In America comparisons might also be made between Northern political machines and Southern populist movements. We need many more pertinent studies of inclusive schools (and universities), not least in countries other than the United States and Britain—in countries, for instance, where poverty and affluence involve lesser differentials. It would obviously be useful to study the governance of trade unions, past and present, more widely and from the standpoint of my thesis, and to compare such governance by the type of work performed by the membership. The list could be much expanded.
Assuming for now that the explanation I have proposed holds up, what implications follow? Two above all. First, civic inclusion does change social institutions, but it often changes only their "content," not their "form" (e.g., not elitism but the composition of elites). Still more intriguing, it generates neofeudal relations in advanced societies. And not least, it changes the meaning of dispositions to act (thus action-systems) that we consider identical; for instance, "rationality" shifts from public discussion to define common interests, to entrepreneurial value-maximization, to functional adaptation to exigent conditions. The second major implication, which has much relevance for policy, is that our conventional conception of the relation between inclusion and equalization is the wrong way round. Inclusion does not much make groups equal; rather, substantial equalization of the conditions of life seems to be the prerequisite for inclusion to work as intended. Schools, for instance, do not appear to be effective routes out of the ghettos and barrios; rather, improving the lot of ghetto people seems necessary to make them want to use schools for achievement.
Finally, I want to stress that the value-bias of this paper intentionally is that of Schumpeter's Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy . Like many other scholars of his generation and origins, Schumpeter tried to face up to the facts of malfunctioning democracies, the rise of Nazism, the "dream that failed." To do so, he said unwelcome things about what democracy can and cannot be. He said them for, so to speak, prophylactic reasons, so that a valuable, however imperfect, kind of polity would not be destroyed by false illusions. Critics of his work charged—and stung—him with the allegation of "defeatism" (and worse). Schumpeter replied:
Facts in themselves and inferences from them can never be defeatist. . . . The report that a given ship is sinking is not defeatist. Only the spirit in which this report is received can be defeatist: the crew can sit down and drink, but it can also rush to the pumps. If the men merely deny the report, though it be carefully substantiated, then they are escapists. . . . Frank presentation of ominous facts was never more necessary than it is today because we seem to have developed escapism into a system of thought.
If we really want to construct a "science of equality," we need, more than anything, to act upon that querulous and wise caution.