Sociology Faculty and Staff Publications


Richard L. Wood

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Efforts to reshape the life opportunities for working families in America face a critical juncture in 2009 and beyond, involving both new opportunities and new challenges. This critical juncture arises due to two recent changes. First, 2008 brought important changes in national political dynamics as a result of the economic meltdown and the election of President Barack Obama and a new Congress. Second, internal dynamics within community organizing efforts in poor, working-class and middle-class communities have changed, with significant progress made over the last decade in re-engaging working families in the political process. This report uses the recent experience of two projects — different models for mobilizing working families for civic engagement on policy reform — as a lens to explore the broader dynamics of community organizing today. Ultimately, it argues that these dynamics present a strategic window of opportunity for those dedicated to advancing the interests of working families in the United States.

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Community organizing