Dry Bones Rattling: Community Building to Revitalize American Democracy

Overview

Dry Bones Rattling offers the first in-depth treatment of how to rebuild the social capital of America's communities while promoting racially inclusive, democratic participation. The Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) network in Texas and the Southwest is gaining national attention as a model for reviving democratic life in the inner city—and beyond. This richly drawn study shows how the IAF network works with religious congregations and other community-based institutions to cultivate the participation and ...
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Dry Bones Rattling: Community Building to Revitalize American Democracy

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Overview

Dry Bones Rattling offers the first in-depth treatment of how to rebuild the social capital of America's communities while promoting racially inclusive, democratic participation. The Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) network in Texas and the Southwest is gaining national attention as a model for reviving democratic life in the inner city—and beyond. This richly drawn study shows how the IAF network works with religious congregations and other community-based institutions to cultivate the participation and leadership of Americans most left out of our elite-centered politics. Interfaith leaders from poor communities of color collaborate with those from more affluent communities to build organizations with the power to construct affordable housing, create job-training programs, improve schools, expand public services, and increase neighborhood safety.


In clear and accessible prose, Mark Warren argues that the key to revitalizing democracy lies in connecting politics to community institutions and the values that sustain them. By doing so, the IAF network builds an organized, multiracial constituency with the power to advance desperately needed social policies. While Americans are most aware of the religious right, Warren documents the growth of progressive faith-based politics in America. He offers a realistic yet hopeful account of how this rising trend can transform the lives of people in our most troubled neighborhoods. Drawing upon six years of original fieldwork, Dry Bones Rattling proposes new answers to the problems of American democracy, community life, race relations, and the urban crisis.

Author Biography: Mark R. Warren is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and Director of the Service Learning Program, at Fordham University.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
This valuable study in political ethnography concludes by indicating the merits, limitations, and prospects of a new model of organizing for effective community building and democratic action.
Choice
Warren has produced something unusual in democratic theory: a masterful combination of theory and observation that is original, readable, and important. It deserves a spot on the shelf of every student of democracy.
America
Warren has done . . . a great service with his careful fieldwork, ample documentation and nicely written reporting . . . A fine introduction to what I , like Warren, believe to be an extremely important and promising social movement.
— Mary Jo Bane
Boston Review
Anyone interested in community organizing, grassroots mobilization, or the controversies surrounding faith-based politics should read Mark R. Warren's first book, Dry Bones Rattling. His painstaking book stirs the democratic imagination.
— Archon Fung
Social Forces
Dry Bones Rattling stands as an important contribution to the ongoing conversation about the future of American civil society. All the big issues are here. . . . This is a timely book.
— Mitchell L. Stevens
Journal of Politics
An excellent political ethnography that offers an engaging analysis of how to build social capital, forge multiracial cooperation, and, above all, revitalize democratic participation and civic engagement in American society. . . . It provides us with a critical understanding as well as a tangible example of the elements that are needed to bring about a more inclusive and viable vision of civic engagement and revitalized democracy in a racially and ethnically diverse American society in the twenty-first century.
— Yvette M. Alex-Assensoh
America - Mary Jo Bane
Warren has done . . . a great service with his careful fieldwork, ample documentation and nicely written reporting . . . A fine introduction to what I , like Warren, believe to be an extremely important and promising social movement.
Boston Review - Archon Fung
Anyone interested in community organizing, grassroots mobilization, or the controversies surrounding faith-based politics should read Mark R. Warren's first book, Dry Bones Rattling. His painstaking book stirs the democratic imagination.
Social Forces - Mitchell L. Stevens
Dry Bones Rattling stands as an important contribution to the ongoing conversation about the future of American civil society. All the big issues are here. . . . This is a timely book.
Journal of Politics - Yvette M. Alex-Assensoh
An excellent political ethnography that offers an engaging analysis of how to build social capital, forge multiracial cooperation, and, above all, revitalize democratic participation and civic engagement in American society. . . . It provides us with a critical understanding as well as a tangible example of the elements that are needed to bring about a more inclusive and viable vision of civic engagement and revitalized democracy in a racially and ethnically diverse American society in the twenty-first century.
From the Publisher
"Warren has produced something unusual in democratic theory: a masterful combination of theory and observation that is original, readable, and important. It deserves a spot on the shelf of every student of democracy."—Choice

"Warren has done . . . a great service with his careful fieldwork, ample documentation and nicely written reporting . . . A fine introduction to what I , like Warren, believe to be an extremely important and promising social movement."—Mary Jo Bane, America

"Anyone interested in community organizing, grassroots mobilization, or the controversies surrounding faith-based politics should read Mark R. Warren's first book, Dry Bones Rattling. His painstaking book stirs the democratic imagination."—Archon Fung, Boston Review

"Dry Bones Rattling stands as an important contribution to the ongoing conversation about the future of American civil society. All the big issues are here. . . . This is a timely book."—Mitchell L. Stevens, Social Forces

"An excellent political ethnography that offers an engaging analysis of how to build social capital, forge multiracial cooperation, and, above all, revitalize democratic participation and civic engagement in American society. . . . It provides us with a critical understanding as well as a tangible example of the elements that are needed to bring about a more inclusive and viable vision of civic engagement and revitalized democracy in a racially and ethnically diverse American society in the twenty-first century."—Yvette M. Alex-Assensoh, Journal of Politics

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Dry Bones Rattling 3
1 Community Building and Political Renewal 15
2 A Theology of Organizing: From Alinsky to the Modern IAF 40
3 Beyond Local Organizing: Statewide Power and a Regional Network 72
4 Bridging Communities 98
5 Deepening Multiracial Collaboration 124
6 Effective Power: Campaigning for Community-Based Policy Initiatives 162
7 Congregational Bases for Political Action 191
8 Leadership Development: Participation and Authority in Consensual Democracies 211
9 Conclusion: Restoring Faith in Politics 239
Notes 265
Index 309
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