The recent past has seen the erosion, and among some, the rejection, of social science neutrality and professional detachment. Among the typical expressions of a new professionalism is the underdog advocate, who wishes to lend his or her skills to the cause of less-than-equal groups in the society. The paper analyzes the problems confronting such advocates. The first is the discrepancy between career routes and success behavior on one hand, and the needs of poor people on the other. The second is the difficulty encountered by middle strata professionals in cross-class and cross-cultural communication, including their own ignorance of the structure and dynamics of minority and poor peoples' communities. The third problem faced by the advocates is that the mere addition of their expert skills to the struggles of the deprived is not necessarily or usually adequate in terms of power resources. If advocates have, however, a modest definition of their possible accomplishment, and if they view underprivileged groups as the main actors in their own behalf, their roles may be defined more realistically.

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