Focusing on three dilemmas that inherently shape the issues and strategies around which people mobilize

Dilemmas of Activism

Class, Community, and the Politics of Local Mobilization

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edited by Joseph M. Kling and Prudence S. Posner

Through the 1980s, collective resistance to conditions of economic deprivation, social insecurity, and political control have become more parochial, fragmented, and reactive, rather than transformational. In order to challenge these trends activists need to sort through the understanding and practice they bring to their work in communities and organizations. The essays in Dilemmas of Activism contribute to that reexamination. Focusing on three dilemmas that inherently shape the issues and strategies around which people mobilize, the contributors look at the ways in which both class and community create frameworks for activism at the local level.



Introduction – Prudence S. Posner

Part I: Figuring It Out: Theoretical Frameworks for Activism

    Class and Community in an Era of Urban Transformation – Joseph M. Kling and Prudence S. Posner
    The American Working Class and the Community-Workplace Dichotomy: Selections from the Writings of Ira Katznelson – edited by Prudence S. Posner
    Ideology and Activism: Two Approaches to "Leading the People" – Robert Fisher and Joseph M. Kling
    Family and Class in Contemporary America: Notes toward an Understanding of Ideology – Rayna Rapp
    The Politics of Black Empowerment in Urban America: Reflections on Race, Class, and Community – James Jennings

Part II: Where the Action Is: Issues and Community Activism

    New Wine in Old Bottles: Southern Populism and the Dilemmas of Class, Ideology, and State Power – Bruce Palmer
    The Perils of Petty Production: The Agricultural Crisis – Rona Weiss
    Two Roads Left: Strategies of Resistance to Plant Closings in the Monongahela Valley – Sidney Plotkin and William E. Scheuerman
    Enclave Consciousness and Neighborhood Activism – Sidney Plotkin
    The Agony and the Equity: Strategies for Building Low-Income Housing – Tony Schuman
    Changing the Conversation: Reconstructing Public Discourse about Education – Svi Shapiro
    Working Class Women, Social Protest, and Changing Ideologies – Ida Susser
    Transformative Populism and the Development of a Community of Color – Marie Kennedy and Chris Tilly with Mauricio Gaston


About the Author(s)

Joseph M. Kling is Assistant Professor in the Department of Government at St. Lawrence University.

Prudence S. Posner, formerly Director or Research and Publication at the United Community Centers in Brooklyn, is now Director of the Liberty Partnership Program of the Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley.

Subject Categories

Political Science and Public Policy



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