Making Democracy Matter: Identity and Activism in Los Angeles

Overview

What makes a social movement a movement? Where do the contagious energy, vision, and sense of infinite possibility come from? Students of progressive social movements know a good deal about what works and what doesn't and about the constituencies that are conducive to political activism, but what are the personal and emotional dynamics that turn ordinary people into activists? And, what are the visions and practices of democracy that foster such transformations?

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New Brunswick, NJ 2007 Hard cover New ed. New. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 219 p. Contains: Illustrations.

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New Brunswick, NJ 2007 Hard cover New. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 248 p. Contains: Illustrations.

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Overview

What makes a social movement a movement? Where do the contagious energy, vision, and sense of infinite possibility come from? Students of progressive social movements know a good deal about what works and what doesn't and about the constituencies that are conducive to political activism, but what are the personal and emotional dynamics that turn ordinary people into activists? And, what are the visions and practices of democracy that foster such transformations?

This book seeks to answer these questions through conversations and interviews with a generation of activists who came of political age in Los Angeles during the 1990s. Politically schooled in the city's vibrant immigrant worker and youth-led campaigns against xenophobic and racist voter initiatives, these young activists created a new political cohort with its own signature of democratic practice and vision. Combining analytical depth, engaging oral history, and rich description, this absorbing and accessible book will appeal to all those interested in social movements, racial justice, the political activism of women and men of color, and the labor movement today.

About the Author:
Karen Brodkin is a professor of anthropology and women's studies at UCLA

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Editorial Reviews

University of California, Santa Cruz - Dana Frank

"During the 1990s an amazing new generation of young activists, mostly women, immigrants, and people of color, transformed the Los Angeles labor movement, bringing a new vision of democracy to organizations not always ready for change. Now Karen Brodkin gives us their story in this wonderfully inspiring book, bursting with wisdom, dedication, imagination, and, best of all, models for how the labor movement can become a dynamic and embracing social movement seeking justice for all."
Professor of Women's Studies, Penn State University - Sandra Morgen

"This engaging, accessible volume makes a significant contribution to the scholarly literatures on social movements, racial justice, the political activism of men and women of color, and the labor movement today."
Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society

"Persuasive. Insightful. As a contribution to our understanding of social movements, the book's strength is its emphasis on ideological factors and motivations.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813539799
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2007
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents


Preface     vii
List of Organizations     xiii
About the Narrators     xv
Introduction     1
The Context of Labor and Immigrant Workers' Rights Activism in Los Angeles     17
Narrators and Narrative     43
Political Identity Starts at Home: Border-Crossing Families and the Making of Political Selves     56
Making Identities Political     95
Democracy and Political Praxis     130
Conclusion     170
Study Design and Use of Narrative     185
Organizer Survey     189
Notes     193
References     197
Index     207
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