freedom is an endless meeting democracy in american social movements

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Freedom Is An Endless Meeting

Author : Francesca Polletta
ISBN : 9780226924281
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 77. 19 MB
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Freedom Is an Endless Meeting offers vivid portraits of American experiments in participatory democracy throughout the twentieth century. Drawing on meticulous research and more than one hundred interviews with activists, Francesca Polletta challenges the conventional wisdom that participatory democracy is worthy in purpose but unworkable in practice. Instead, she shows that social movements have often used bottom-up decision making as a powerful tool for political change. Polletta traces the history of democracy in early labor struggles and pre-World War II pacifism, in the civil rights, new left, and women's liberation movements of the sixties and seventies, and in today's faith-based organizing and anti-corporate globalization campaigns. In the process, she uncovers neglected sources of democratic inspiration—Depression-era labor educators and Mississippi voting registration workers, among them—as well as practical strategies of social protest. But Freedom Is an Endless Meeting also highlights the obstacles that arise when activists model their democracies after familiar nonpolitical relationships such as friendship, tutelage, and religious fellowship. Doing so has brought into their deliberations the trust, respect, and caring typical of those relationships. But it has also fostered values that run counter to democracy, such as exclusivity and an aversion to rules, and these have been the fault lines around which participatory democracies have often splintered. Indeed, Polletta attributes the fragility of the form less to its basic inefficiency or inequity than to the gaps between activists' democratic commitments and the cultural models on which they have depended to enact those commitments. The challenge, she concludes, is to forge new kinds of democratic relationships, ones that balance trust with accountability, respect with openness to disagreement, and caring with inclusiveness. For anyone concerned about the prospects for democracy in America, Freedom Is an Endless Meeting will offer abundant historical, theoretical, and practical insights. "This is an excellent study of activist politics in the United States over the past century. . . . Assiduously researched, impressively informed by a great number of thoughtful interviews with key members of American social movements, and deeply engaged with its subject matter, the book is likely to become a key text in the study of grass-roots democracy in America."—Kate Fullbrook, Times Literary Supplement "Polletta's portrayal challenges the common assumption that morality and strategy are incompatible, that those who aim at winning must compromise principle while those who insist on morality are destined to be ineffective. . . . Rather than dwell on trying to explain the decline of 60s movements, Polletta shows how participatory democracy has become the guiding framework for many of today's activists."—Richard Flacks, Los Angeles Times Book Review "In Freedom Is an Endless Meeting, Francesca Polletta has produced a remarkable work of historical sociology. . . . She provides the fullest theoretical work of historical sociology. . . . She provides the fullest theoretical picture of participatory democracy, rich with nuance, ambiguity, and irony, that this reviewer has yet seen. . . . This wise book should be studied closely by both academics and by social change activists."—Stewart Burns, Journal of American History

Freedom Is An Endless Meeting

Author : Francesca Polletta
ISBN : 0226674495
Genre : History
File Size : 51. 50 MB
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Freedom Is an Endless Meeting offers vivid portraits of American experiments in participatory democracy throughout the twentieth century. Drawing on meticulous research and more than one hundred interviews with activists, Francesca Polletta challenges the conventional wisdom that participatory democracy is worthy in purpose but unworkable in practice. Instead, she shows that social movements have often used bottom-up decision making as a powerful tool for political change. Polletta traces the history of democracy in early labor struggles and pre-World War II pacifism, in the civil rights, new left, and women's liberation movements of the sixties and seventies, and in today's faith-based organizing and anti-corporate globalization campaigns. In the process, she uncovers neglected sources of democratic inspiration—Depression-era labor educators and Mississippi voting registration workers, among them—as well as practical strategies of social protest. But Freedom Is an Endless Meeting also highlights the obstacles that arise when activists model their democracies after familiar nonpolitical relationships such as friendship, tutelage, and religious fellowship. Doing so has brought into their deliberations the trust, respect, and caring typical of those relationships. But it has also fostered values that run counter to democracy, such as exclusivity and an aversion to rules, and these have been the fault lines around which participatory democracies have often splintered. Indeed, Polletta attributes the fragility of the form less to its basic inefficiency or inequity than to the gaps between activists' democratic commitments and the cultural models on which they have depended to enact those commitments. The challenge, she concludes, is to forge new kinds of democratic relationships, ones that balance trust with accountability, respect with openness to disagreement, and caring with inclusiveness. For anyone concerned about the prospects for democracy in America, Freedom Is an Endless Meeting will offer abundant historical, theoretical, and practical insights. "This is an excellent study of activist politics in the United States over the past century. . . . Assiduously researched, impressively informed by a great number of thoughtful interviews with key members of American social movements, and deeply engaged with its subject matter, the book is likely to become a key text in the study of grass-roots democracy in America."—Kate Fullbrook, Times Literary Supplement "Polletta's portrayal challenges the common assumption that morality and strategy are incompatible, that those who aim at winning must compromise principle while those who insist on morality are destined to be ineffective. . . . Rather than dwell on trying to explain the decline of 60s movements, Polletta shows how participatory democracy has become the guiding framework for many of today's activists."—Richard Flacks, Los Angeles Times Book Review "In Freedom Is an Endless Meeting, Francesca Polletta has produced a remarkable work of historical sociology. . . . She provides the fullest theoretical work of historical sociology. . . . She provides the fullest theoretical picture of participatory democracy, rich with nuance, ambiguity, and irony, that this reviewer has yet seen. . . . This wise book should be studied closely by both academics and by social change activists."—Stewart Burns, Journal of American History

Passionate Politics

Author : Jeff Goodwin
ISBN : 0226304000
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 26. 83 MB
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Emotions are back. Once at the center of the study of politics, emotions have receded into the shadows during the past three decades, with no place in the rationalistic, structural, and organizational models that dominate academic political analysis. With this new collection of essays, Jeff Goodwin, James M. Jasper, and Francesca Polletta reverse this trend, reincorporating emotions such as anger, indignation, fear, disgust, joy, and love into research on politics and social protest. The tools of cultural analysis are especially useful for probing the role of emotions in politics, the editors and contributors to Passionate Politics argue. Moral outrage, the shame of spoiled collective identities, or the joy of imagining a new and better society, are not automatic responses to events. Rather, they are related to moral institutions, felt obligations and rights, and information about expected effects, all of which are culturally and historically variable. With its look at the history of emotions in social thought, examination of the internal dynamics of protest groups, and exploration of the emotional dynamics that arise from interactions and conflicts among political factions and individuals, Passionate Politics will lead the way toward an overdue reconsideration of the role of emotions in social movements and politics generally. Contributors: Rebecca Anne Allahyari Edwin Amenta Collin Barker Mabel Berezin Craig Calhoun Randall Collins Frank Dobbin Jeff Goodwin Deborah B. Gould Julian McAllister Groves James M. Jasper Anne Kane Theodore D. Kemper Sharon Erickson Nepstad Steven Pfaff Francesca Polletta Christian Smith Arlene Stein Nancy Whittier Elisabeth Jean Wood Michael P. Young

The Black Child Savers

Author : Geoff K. Ward
ISBN : 9780226873169
Genre : History
File Size : 52. 90 MB
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During the Progressive Era, a rehabilitative agenda took hold of American juvenile justice, materializing as a citizen-and-state-building project and mirroring the unequal racial politics of American democracy itself. Alongside this liberal "manufactory of citizens,” a parallel structure was enacted: a Jim Crow juvenile justice system that endured across the nation for most of the twentieth century. In The Black Child Savers, the first study of the rise and fall of Jim Crow juvenile justice, Geoff Ward examines the origins and organization of this separate and unequal juvenile justice system. Ward explores how generations of “black child-savers” mobilized to challenge the threat to black youth and community interests and how this struggle grew aligned with a wider civil rights movement, eventually forcing the formal integration of American juvenile justice. Ward’s book reveals nearly a century of struggle to build a more democratic model of juvenile justice—an effort that succeeded in part, but ultimately failed to deliver black youth and community to liberal rehabilitative ideals. At once an inspiring story about the shifting boundaries of race, citizenship, and democracy in America and a crucial look at the nature of racial inequality, The Black Child Savers is a stirring account of the stakes and meaning of social justice.

American Democracy And The Pursuit Of Equality

Author : Merlin Chowkwanyun
ISBN : 9781317263883
Genre : Education
File Size : 79. 64 MB
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This collection assembles some of the country s foremost social scientists in one volume. It contains diverse investigations of metropolitan transformation, recent education policy, the (in)justice of disaster relief, the politics of aesthetics and design, immigration, the mass media, social movements, and the practice of social science itself, among others. Whatever their subjects, the writers investigate the promise and constraints of democratic practice in a time of disturbing growth in inequality and political disempowerment. Although they at times differ from one another, more often, they challenge popular received wisdom on a number of these topics. Cumulatively, the volume amounts to a critical sociological excavation of the United States from its leading social critics that will prove useful to specialists and general readers alike."

Can Democracy Be Saved

Author : Donatella della Porta
ISBN : 9780745670416
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 65. 75 MB
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Financial crisis, economic globalization and the strengthening of neoliberal policies present stark challenges to traditional conceptions of representative democracy. Yet, at the same time, new opportunities are emerging that propose alternative visions for the future of democracy. In this highly articulate book, Donatella della Porta analyses diverse conceptions and practices of participatory and deliberative democracy, building upon recent reflections in normative theory as well as original empirical research. As well as drawing on key historical examples, the book pays close attention to the current revitalization of social movements: the Arab Spring uprisings in processes of democratic transition; the potential of new technologies to develop so-called e-democracy in the Indignados and Occupy Wall Street protests; and proposals for cosmopolitan democracy found in recent campaigns for democratization of the European Union and United Nations. Alongside such social movements, the book also assesses institutional reactions, from the policing of protest to efforts at reform. This contribution to a critical contemporary debate, by a leading political sociologist and scholar of social movements, will be of great value to students and scholars of political sociology, political science and social movement studies, as well as anyone interested in the shape and development of democracy.

It Was Like A Fever

Author : Francesca Polletta
ISBN : 9780226673776
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 60. 15 MB
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Activists and politicians have long recognized the power of a good story to move people to action. In early 1960 four black college students sat down at a whites-only lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and refused to leave. Within a month sit-ins spread to thirty cities in seven states. Student participants told stories of impulsive, spontaneous action—this despite all the planning that had gone into the sit-ins. “It was like a fever,” they said. Francesca Polletta’s It Was Like a Fever sets out to account for the power of storytelling in mobilizing political and social movements. Drawing on cases ranging from sixteenth-century tax revolts to contemporary debates about the future of the World Trade Center site, Polletta argues that stories are politically effective not when they have clear moral messages, but when they have complex, often ambiguous ones. The openness of stories to interpretation has allowed disadvantaged groups, in particular, to gain a hearing for new needs and to forge surprising political alliances. But popular beliefs in America about storytelling as a genre have also hurt those challenging the status quo. A rich analysis of storytelling in courtrooms, newsrooms, public forums, and the United States Congress, It Was Like a Fever offers provocative new insights into the dynamics of culture and contention.

Tiny Publics

Author : Gary Alan Fine
ISBN : 9781610447744
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 54. 82 MB
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If all politics is local, then so is almost everything else, argues sociologist Gary Alan Fine. We organize our lives by relying on those closest to us—family members, friends, work colleagues, team mates, and other intimates—to create meaning and order. In this thoughtful and wide-ranging book, Fine argues that the basic building blocks of society itself are forged within the boundaries of such small groups, the "tiny publics" necessary for a robust, functioning social order at all levels. Action, meaning, authority, inequality, organization, and institutions all have their roots in small groups. Yet for the past twenty-five years social scientists have tended to ignore the power of groups in favor of an emphasis on organizations, societies, or individuals. Based on over thirty-five years of Fine's own ethnographic research across an array of small groups, Tiny Publics presents a compelling new theory of the pivotal role of small groups in organizing social life. No social system can thrive without flourishing small groups. They provide havens in an impersonal world, where faceless organizations become humanized. Taking examples from such diverse worlds as Little League baseball teams, restaurant workers, high school debate teams, weather forecasters, and political volunteers, Fine demonstrates how each group has its own unique culture, or idioculture—the system of knowledge, beliefs, behavior, and customs that define and hold a group together. With their dense network of relationships, groups serve as important sources of social and cultural capital for their members. The apparently innocuous jokes, rituals, and nicknames prevalent within Little League baseball teams help establish how teams function internally and how they compete with other teams. Small groups also provide a platform for their members to engage in broader social discourse and a supportive environment to begin effecting change in larger institutions. In his studies of mushroom collectors and high school debate teams, Fine demonstrates the importance of stories that group members tell each other about their successes and frustrations in fostering a strong sense of social cohesion. And Fine shows how the personal commitment political volunteers bring to their efforts is reinforced by the close-knit nature of their work, which in turn has the power to change larger groups and institutions. In this way, the actions and debates begun in small groups can eventually radiate outward to affect every level of society. Fine convincingly demonstrates how small groups provide fertile ground for the seeds of civic engagement. Outcomes often attributed to large-scale social forces originate within such small-scale domains. Employing rich insights from both sociology and social psychology, as well as vivid examples from a revealing array of real-work groups, Tiny Publics provides a compelling examination of the importance of small groups and of the rich vitality they bring to social life. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Series on Trust

Labor Movements

Author : Stephanie Luce
ISBN : 9780745682396
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 59. 16 MB
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Fewer than 12 percent of U.S. workers belong to unions, and union membership rates are falling in much of the world. With tremendous growth in inequality within and between countries, steady or indeed rising unemployment and underemployment, and the marked increase in precarious work and migration, can unions still play a role in raising wages and improving work conditions? This book provides a critical evaluation of labor unions both in the U.S. and globally, examining the factors that have led to the decline of union power and arguing that, despite their challenges, unions still have a vital part to play in the global economy. Stephanie Luce explores the potential sources of power that unions might have, and emerging new strategies and directions for the growth of global labor movements, such as unions, worker centers, informal sector organizations, and worker co-operatives, helping workers resist the impacts of neoliberalism. She shows that unions may in fact be more relevant now than ever. This important assessment of labor movements in the global economy will be required reading for advanced undergraduates and graduate students of labor studies, political and economic sociology, the sociology of work, and social movements.

Democracy In Social Movements

Author : Donatella della Porta
ISBN : 9780230240865
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 45. 86 MB
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This collection explores conceptions and practices of democracy of social movement organizations involved in global protest. Focusing on the global justice movement this book shows how they adopt radical new democratic approaches and thus provide a fundamental critique of conventional politics.

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