Making Democracy Matter: Identity and Activism in Los Angeles

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Rutgers University Press, 2007 - Political Science - 219 pages
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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.


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Introduction i
The Context of Labor and Immigrant Workers Rights
Narrators and Narrative
Making Identities Political
Democracy and Political Praxis
Study Design and Use of Narrative

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About the author (2007)

Karen Brodkin is a professor of anthropology and women's studies at UCLA. She is the author of How Jews Became White Folks (Rutgers University Press).

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