Diversity and the Common Good: Civil Society, Religion, and Catholic Sisters in a Small City

Overview

Diversity and the Common Good: Civil Society, Religion, and Catholic Sisters in a Small City examines how Catholic Sisters and their congregations have been critical nodes in religious and civil networks, investing their social capital to address one of the most pressing issues facing American communities today: diversity. “Bluffton,” situated in America's heartland, is revealed as a community that has confronted racism of the ugliest kind and chosen to work toward a good society for its citizens, driven by the ...

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Diversity and the Common Good: Civil Society, Religion, and Catholic Sisters in a Small City

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Overview

Diversity and the Common Good: Civil Society, Religion, and Catholic Sisters in a Small City examines how Catholic Sisters and their congregations have been critical nodes in religious and civil networks, investing their social capital to address one of the most pressing issues facing American communities today: diversity. “Bluffton,” situated in America's heartland, is revealed as a community that has confronted racism of the ugliest kind and chosen to work toward a good society for its citizens, driven by the concerted efforts of its Catholic Sisters and highly committed civic and religious actors. Blending quantitative and qualitative data collected over three years and scholarship on civil society, Meg Wilkes Karraker's narrative style engages scholars from sociology, political science, public administration, and religious, but also speaks to community leaders and citizens seeking to understand how they can act on behalf of the common good in their own communities. Notably, Diversity and the Common Good tells the story of a community that “works!” Given recent criticisms of American Sisters by the Vatican, this story of the great good done by Sisters must be told now.

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Editorial Reviews

Kathleen Mahoney
This book could not be more timely. In a well-grounded study of one Midwestern city, Meg Wilkes Karraker pulls Catholic sisters into the limelight and convincingly documents their immense contributions to the common good. The sisters at the heart of her study are inspiring, pragmatic, and exemplars of Christianity-in-practice as they embrace the Gospel mandate to care for the stranger. This is a well-written contribution to the literature that has long overlooked Catholic sisters—an unparalleled, faith-based workforce that has done so much for so many.
Katarina Schuth
This book weaves together several themes of great consequence in the United States right now and long into the future: immigration, diversity, and the value of religious involvement in civic issues, especially the role of Catholic sisters. Karraker masterfully combines serious sociological research and lively narrative as she tackles the impact of contentious social change in a small Midwestern city. She gains unique insight by spending extensive time in the community interviewing civic leaders, ordinary citizens, and the sisters. The results reveal the high esteem in which the whole town holds the sisters for the role they have had in reconciling diverse elements and widely differing viewpoints. Even as the author lauds the sisters, she laments their declining numbers and the failure of research to acknowledge their contributions in similar situations. The book will have wide appeal, not only to scholars, but to all who appreciate a dynamic account of the force for good that is possible when religious and civic leaders work together.
Catholic Books Review
In this book Karraker presents the results of a three years research that focused on a small Midwestern U. S. city. ... Her arguments are laid out very nicely and are very convincing. ... Diversity and the Common Goodgives theoretical tools to understand how partnership between civil society and religion can indeed be a potent force in the pursuit of the common good. . . This book [is a welcome edition], and hope it will inspire many others. It is so timely!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739181522
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/1/2013
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Meg Wilkes Karraker is professor of sociology and family business center fellow at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is author of Families with Futures: Family Studies into the Twenty-first Century (2012, coauthored with Janet Grochowski) and Global Families (2013) and editor of The Other People: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Migration (2014).

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Table of Contents

Dedication
About the Author
In Appreciation
Prologue
Chapter 1: Introduction: Approaching Bluffton by the Great River Road
Chapter 2: Diversity Comes to the Heartland: “The Guts to Do Something About Racism”
Chapter 3: Civil Society, Community Virtues
Chapter 4: Catholic Values: The Sixty-Five Percent Solution?
Chapter 5: Catholic Sisters: Hands, Hearts, and Spirit
Chapter 6: From Social Networks to Spirited Capital: “Bluffton Loves Her Sisters!”
Chapter 7: Conclusions: Diversity and the Common Good
Epilogue
Appendices
Research Methodologies
Tables and Figures
References
Index

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