La Vida Junta

Overview

This study of two Zapatista community centers explains their persistence as the result of everyday activity. These were "democratic community organizations," spaces with a radical democratic focus, engaged in long-term, local organizing. The Zapatista movement in Southern Mexico advocates social change through local, grassroots organizing and participatory democracy - non-hierarchical, egalitarian configurations and practices. The organizations in Los Angeles likewise engaged democratically in various ...
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Overview

This study of two Zapatista community centers explains their persistence as the result of everyday activity. These were "democratic community organizations," spaces with a radical democratic focus, engaged in long-term, local organizing. The Zapatista movement in Southern Mexico advocates social change through local, grassroots organizing and participatory democracy - non-hierarchical, egalitarian configurations and practices. The organizations in Los Angeles likewise engaged democratically in various neighborhood projects. Overall, studies of social movements and collective behavior focus upon mass mobilization. Neglecting the "women's work" of movements, this reflects a gender bias. A meso-level analysis captures such internal, routine work. This study uses ethnographic data, collected by participant observation at meetings and other events, analyzed through grounded theory and analytic ethnography methods. Subjects were primarily first and second generation Mexican Americans - Latinos and Latinas, Chicanos and Chicanas. Fieldwork upon politically sensitive groups involves unique challenges of representing the field, research subjects and author. Closely fitting the concept of "free spaces," these organizations also match the routinization, and possibly co-optation, in studies of movement institutionalization. Routines and avoiding political discussion led to stability and persistence, while crises coincided with "frame breaks," disruption and volatility. Furthermore, internal discussion was central to defining and maintaining meanings, including those of collective identity, collective action frames and resource mobilization. First, participants defined "internal identity frames" much differently than those presented to the public, classifying themselves by comparisons to multiple, local publics. Secondly, participants did "internal identity work" to define themselves as activists, organizers and community members, divisions mirroring essentialized definitions and contradictions in goals. Third, participants defined their resources through a collective, interpretive process, leading to different outcomes. In conclusion, the internal, interactional settings of social movements are important for their ongoing accomplishment. Researchers should also pursue more sensitive understandings of participatory democracy, not considering it as primarily liberating or unfeasible.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243609823
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/4/2011
  • Pages: 178
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.38 (d)

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