Among the People: Encounters with the Poor

Among the People: Encounters with the Poor

Among the People: Encounters with the Poor

Among the People: Encounters with the Poor


Most of us who contributed to this volume were at the time of its conception associated with the Syracuse University Youth Development Center, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Syracuse University, or the New York State Mental Health Research Unit in Syracuse. This book is our memorial to our late friend and colleague Mel Weiss, who, at various times, was a member of the staff of each of these three establishments. In large part, the book is a reflection of his influence on us. He viewed people not as objects, but as subjects; not as "data," but as human beings enmeshed in a complicated and troublesome world; not merely as phenomena to be understood, but as people deserving of sympathy and in need of help.

The contents of this book are not intended to be representative of the research conducted either at the Youth Development Center or the New York State Mental Health Research Unit. These are selected fragments, supplemented by a few pieces contributed by friends and colleagues who have in one way or another been associated with us or with the man who inspired us to put this volume together. None of the chapters has been previously published, although one is a revised and expanded version of an earlier article.

The disciplinary backgrounds of the contributors include the practicing professions of education, medicine, and social work, as well as the academic disciplines of anthropology, economics, psychology, sociology, and statistics. Although this range represents many perspectives, not always consistent with one another, most of the authors share in common a view of the poor as seen from among the people. They also shared in common an unhesitating willingness to make a contribution to this memorial volume.

We wish to express our thanks to our associates at the Youth Development Center, who patiently lived with this book during its formative time, and particularly to Susan Drucker for her assistance in the preparation of the manuscript.


Syracuse, N.Y. April 1968 . . .

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