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Unread Sep 17th, 2012, 01:58 am
susan53 susan53 is offline
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Default Re: such a thing is detrimental to the society as a whole

Here's the whole extract :

Finally there are the parent organizations and the laymen's organizations such as the National Association of Parents and Teachers, and the Citizens Committee on Public Schools. These have an upper-middle-class leadership and a middle-class membership, with rare exceptions, where working-class parents are active in local P.-T.A. matters. Like the other policy-making groups, these are middle class in their educational attitudes, and they attempt to act in the general public interest, as they see it. In general it appears that educational decisions and educational policies are made by people who intend to act in the interests of the society as a whole.

The writer has been talking about specific societies - ie associations : the NAPT, Citizen's Committees, the PTA. So the use of "the" would imply that the society refers to the association which they belong to. However, the previous reference to "general public interest, leads the reader to interpret "society" as society in general. It's not clear what the writer means - s/he has, I think, got into a muddle because of the two meanings of society" being used in such close proximity.
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