Harvard Educational Review
  1. Winter 1976 Issue »

    Loss as a Theme in Social Policy

    David K. Cohen
    Historians and social researchers have viewed social policy in America as primarily concerned with issues of equality. In this article, David K. Cohen argues that an equally important theme—a sense of loss—has gone largely unnoticed. Examining the role of loss in the historical development of social policy for public education, he demonstrates that policies aimed at creating equality have been confounded— and to some extent undermined—by policies aimed at repairing loss. The author contends that in general the sense of loss has led to a vision of community which is based on order and compulsion. He argues, however, that community may be organized on principles of reciprocity, equality, and choice. The author reviews alternative explanations for why the sense of loss has been pervasive and persistent; he offers the view that loss persists and community eludes us because of a particular cultural bias, and he illustrates how this bias continues to affect social policy.

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    Winter 1976 Issue


    Educational Expansion in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Massachusetts
    Human-Capital Formation or Structural Reinforcement?
    Alexander James Field
    Loss as a Theme in Social Policy
    David K. Cohen
    Race, Politics, and the Courts
    School Desegregation in San Francisco
    David L. Kirp
    Academic Evaluation and Grading
    An Analysis and Some Proposals
    John F. Huntley
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