I feel that it is a real coup that I had the opportunity to assemble the right scholars and, in turn, edit this special issue of the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare. These were "the right" scholars in that they offered varying progressive perspectives of high quality on William J. Wilson's award-winning book, The Truly Disadvantaged. Since so much of the debate on the so-called "underclass" is carried out in the parlance of conservative scholars, the articles which appear here are not encumbered in any way by such a retrogression. By contrast, I had the pleasure of engaging a very dynamic set of sociologists who are not apologists for the status quo. Consequently, the readers of these articles will be offered a very different set of parameters on the "underclass" debate.

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