Elusive Togetherness

Author: Paul Lichterman
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400842956
Size: 55.60 MB
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Many scholars and citizens alike have counted on civic groups to create broad ties that bind society. Some hope that faith-based civic groups will spread their reach as government retreats. Yet few studies ask how, if at all, civic groups reach out to their wider community. Can religious groups--long central in civic America--create broad, empowering social ties in an unequal, diverse society? Over three years, Paul Lichterman studied nine liberal and conservative Protestant-based volunteering and advocacy projects in a mid-sized American city. He listened as these groups tried to create bridges with other community groups, social service agencies, and low-income people, just as the 1996 welfare reforms were taking effect. Counter to long-standing arguments, Lichterman discovered that powerful customs of interaction inside the groups often stunted external ties and even shaped religion's impact on the groups. Comparing groups, he found that successful bridges outward depend on group customs which invite reflective, critical discussion about a group's place amid surrounding groups and institutions. Combining insights from Alexis de Tocqueville, John Dewey, and Jane Addams with contemporary sociology, Elusive Togetherness addresses enduring questions about civic and religious life that elude the popular "social capital" concept. To create broad civic relationships, groups need more than the right religious values, political beliefs, or resources. They must learn new ways of being groups.

A Shared Future

Author: Richard L. Wood
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022630616X
Size: 42.42 MB
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Faith-based community organizers have spent decades working for greater equality in American society, and more recently have become significant players in shaping health care, finance, and immigration reform at the highest levels of government. In A Shared Future, Richard L. Wood and Brad R. Fulton draw on a new national study of community organizing coalitions and in-depth interviews of key leaders in this field to show how faith-based organizing is creatively navigating the competing aspirations of America’s universalist and multiculturalist democratic ideals, even as it confronts three demons bedeviling American politics: economic inequality, federal policy paralysis, and racial inequity. With a broad view of the entire field and a distinct empirical focus on the PICO National Network, Wood and Fulton’s analysis illuminates the tensions, struggles, and deep rewards that come with pursuing racial equity within a social change organization and in society. Ultimately, A Shared Future offers a vision for how we might build a future that embodies the ethical democracy of the best American dreams. An interview of the authors on the subject of faith leaders organizing for justice (Peace Talks Radio, copyright Good Radio Shows, Inc.) can be heard at this link: https://beta.prx.org/stories/190030

Partisan Publics

Author: Ann Mische
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400830818
Size: 60.12 MB
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During the 1980s and 1990s, Brazil struggled to rebuild its democracy after twenty years of military dictatorship, experiencing financial crises, corruption scandals, political protest, and intense electoral contention. In the midst of this turmoil, Ann Mische argues in this remarkable book, youth activists of various stripes played a vital and unrecognized role, contributing new forms of political talk and action to Brazil's emerging democracy. Drawing upon extensive and rich ethnography as well as formal network analysis, Mische tracks the lives of young activists through intersecting political networks, including student movements, church-based activism, political parties, nongovernmental organizations, and business and professional organizations. She probes the problems and possibilities they encountered in combining partisan activism with other kinds of civic involvement. In documenting activists' struggles to develop cross-partisan publics of various kinds, Mische explores the distinct styles of communication and leadership that emerged across organizations and among individuals. Drawing on the ideas of Habermas, Gramsci, Dewey, and Machiavelli, Partisan Publics highlights political communication styles and the forms of mediation and leadership they give rise to--for democratic politics in Brazil and elsewhere. Insightful in its discussion of culture, methodology, and theory, Partisan Publics argues that partisanship can play a significant role in civic life, helping to build relations and institutions in an emerging democracy.

The Oxford Handbook Of Cultural Sociology

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0195377761
Size: 71.41 MB
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Explains the social science of cultural sociology, a study of the ways in which culture, society, politics, and economy interact in the world.

Culture Society And Democracy

Author: Isaac Reed
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317261690
Size: 17.63 MB
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This volume addresses the key question of the intersection of sociology and politics, and asks what a non-Marxist cultural perspective can offer the Left. Written by leading scholars, it develops new conceptions of social critique, new techniques of interpretive analysis, and new concepts for the sociology of democratic practice. It is a volume for the twenty-first-century, where global and local meet, when critical theory must examine its most fundamental presuppositions.

Avoiding Politics

Author: Nina Eliasoph
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521587594
Size: 19.53 MB
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Nina Eliasoph's vivid portrait of American civic life reveals an intriguing culture of political avoidance. Despite the importance for democracy of open-ended political conversation among ordinary citizens, many Americans try hard to avoid appearing to care about politics. To discover how, where and why Americans create this culture of avoidance, the author accompanied suburban volunteers, activists, and recreation club members for over two years, listening to them talk - and avoid talking - about the wider world, together and in encounters with government, media, and corporate authorities. She shows how citizens create and express ideas in everyday life, contrasting their privately expressed convictions with their lack of public political engagement. Her book challenges received ideas about culture, power and democracy, while exposing the hard work of producing apathy.

Religion And Volunteering

Author: Lesley Hustinx
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319045857
Size: 34.56 MB
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Religion is considered a key predictor of volunteering: the more religious people are, the more likely they are to volunteer. This positive association enjoys significant support in current research; in fact, it could be considered the ‘default perspective’ on the relationship between both phenomena. In this book, the authors claim that, although the dominant approach is legitimate and essential, it nonetheless falls short in grasping the full complexity of the interaction between religion and volunteering. It needs to be recognized that there are tensions between religion and volunteering, and that these tensions are intensifying as a result of the changing meaning and role of religion in society. Therefore, the central aim and contribution of this book is to demonstrate that the relationship between religion and volunteering is not univocal but differentiated, ambiguous and sometimes provocative. By introducing the reader to a much wider landscape of perspectives, this volume offers a richer, more complex and variable understanding. Apart from the established positive causality, the authors examine tensions between religion and volunteering from the perspective of religious obligation, religious change, processes of secularization and notions of post-secularity. They further explore how actions that are considered altruistic, politically neutral and motivated by religious beliefs can be used for political reasons. This volume opens up the field to new perspectives on religious actors and on how religion and volunteering are enacted outside Western liberal and Christian societies. It emphasizes interdisciplinary perspectives, including theology, philosophy, sociology, political science, anthropology and architecture.

Crafting Citizenship

Author: M. Hurenkamp
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 1137033614
Size: 55.71 MB
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According to politics and the media, immigration and individualization drive citizens apart but in neighbourhoods social life is often thriving, depending on the talents of particular citizens or of local institutions. This book examines new forms of active citizenship and the actual conditions that hinder social cohesion.