The Culture of Protest: Religious Activism and the U.S. Sanctuary Movement

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Westview Press, 1993 - Refugees - 250 pages
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The Culture of Protest explores how religious activists and Central American immigrants, by protesting U.S. refugee and foreign policy, create practices, meanings, and relationships that are, themselves, a form of social change. Viewing change as an ongoing, incremental process reveals that the sanctuary movement's reinterpretations of legal, religious, and social practices produce cultural forms that enact participants' visions of a more just social order. Unlike recent studies that view U.S. social movements primarily as strategies for achieving political objectives, this book analyzes what goes on in the midst of protest - the conversions that some North Americans experience as they come to know Central American reality, the relationships that form between refugees and sanctuary workers, the jokes and stories told by volunteers, and the religious rituals devised by participants. This rich ethnography reveals facets of change that would be missed by focusing exclusively on explicit goals and long-term strategies. As they assist refugees, sanctuary workers develop international notions of citizenship, create ecumenical interpretations of faith, form egalitarian communities, and cross a border between first and third worlds to view their own society through the eyes of the poor. Sanctuary is thus not only a practical effort to aid refugees and affect U.S. policy but also a cultural and religious movement with profound implications for U.S. society.

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Constructing a Movement
The Meaning of Crossing Borders

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