Prophets and Patriots: Faith in Democracy Across the Political Divide

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Univ of California Press, May 23, 2017 - Social Science - 252 pages
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"In the wake of the Great Recession, Americans across the political divide flocked to local citizens organizations, where they worked to refocus political attention on the needs of ordinary people like them. This book chronicles the efforts of two such groups--a progressive faith-based community organizing coalition and a conservative Tea Party group. At first glance, these groups could not seem more different: in addition to significant demographic differences between them, their members also lined up on opposite sides of nearly every national policy debate during this period. But these differences do not tell the whole story of these groups. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork with both groups, this book reveals surprising similarities between their efforts that are typically not acknowledged, while also tracing more subtle differences between them that typically go unrecognized. It shows that in the face of rising anxiety and frustration, members of both groups chose to wake up, stand up, and speak up. They dedicated themselves to becoming active citizens, capable of inserting their voices, values, and knowledge into public debates about issues that impacted them. In so doing, they came to understand themselves as prophets and patriots, respectively, carrying forward the promise of American democracy. Yet when the groups set out to actually enact this vision - by holding government accountable and putting their faith in action - their styles of active citizenship diverged, reflecting different ways of imagining how American democracy ought to work and the proper role of active citizens within it."--Provided by publisher.

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Becoming Active Citizens
Narratives of Active Citizenship 55
Holding Government Accountable
Styles of Active Citizenship
Methodological Notes

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About the author (2017)

Ruth Braunstein is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Connecticut.  

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