In this lively account of politics and popular music, Mark Mattern develops the concept of "acting in concert," a metaphor for community-based political action through music. Through three detailed case studies of Chilean, Cajun, and American Indian popular music, Mattern explores the way popular muisicians forge community and lead members of their communities in several distinct kinds of political action that would be difficult or impossible among individuals who are not linked by communal ties.
More than just entertainment, Mattern argues that popular music can serve as a social glue for bringing together a multitude of voices that might otherwise remain silent, and that political action through music can increase the potential for relatively marginalized people to choose and determine their own fate.
Adjusting the Lens offers a detailed analysis of contemporary, independent, indigenous-language audiovisual production in Mexico and in Mexican migrant communities in the United States. The contributors relate the styles and forms of collaborative and community media production to socially critical, transformative, resistant, and constitutive processes off-screen, thereby exploring the political within the context of the media. The chapters show how diasporic media makers map novel interpretations of image and sound into existing audiovisual discourses to communicate social and cultural changes within their communities that counter stereotypical representations in commercial television and cinema, and contribute to a newfound communal identity. The new media expose the conflict of social movements and/or indigenous and rural communities with the state, challenge Eurocentrism and globalization, and reveal the power of audiovisual production to affect political change.
An unexpected and valuable critique of community that points out its complicity with capitalism.
Community is almost always invoked as an unequivocal good, an indicator of a high quality of life, caring, selflessness, belonging. Into this common portrayal, Against the Romance of Community introduces an uncommon note of caution, a penetrating, sorely needed sense of what, precisely, we are doing when we call upon this ideal.
Miranda Joseph explores sites where the ideal of community relentlessly recurs, from debates over art and culture in the popular media, to the discourses and practices of nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations, to contemporary narratives of economic transformation or "globalization." She shows how community legitimates the social hierarchies of gender, race, nation, and sexuality that capitalism implicitly requires.
Joseph argues that social formations, including community, are constituted through the performativity of production. This strategy makes it possible to understand connections between identities and communities that would otherwise seem disconnected: gay consumers in the United States and Mexican maquiladora workers; Christian right "family values" and Asian "crony capitalism." Exposing the complicity of social practices, identities, and communities with capitalism, this truly constructive critique opens the possibility of genuine alliances across such differences.
Miranda Joseph is associate professor of women's studies at the University of Arizona.
Across the United States, the issue of immigration has generated rancorous debate and divided communities. Many states and municipalities have passed restrictive legislation that erodes any sense of community. Against the Tide tells the story of Jupiter, Florida, a coastal town of approximately 50,000 that has taken a different path.
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Jupiter was in the throes of immigration debates. A decade earlier, this small town had experienced an influx of migrants from Mexico and Guatemala. Immigrants seeking work gathered daily on one of the city’s main streets, creating an ad-hoc, open-air labor market that generated complaints and health and human safety concerns. What began as a local debate rapidly escalated as Jupiter’s situation was thrust into the media spotlight and attracted the attention of state and national anti-immigrant groups. But then something unexpected happened: immigrants, neighborhood residents, university faculty and students, and town representatives joined together to mediate community tensions and successfully moved the informal labor market to the new El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center.
Timothy J. Steigenga, who helped found the center, and Lazo de la Vega, who organized students in support of its mission, describe how El Sol engaged the residents of Jupiter in a two-way process of immigrant integration and helped build trust on both sides. By examining one city’s search for a positive public policy solution, Against the Tide offers valuable practical lessons for other communities confronting similar challenges.
Camcorder AIDS activism is a prime example of a new form of political expression—an outburst of committed, low-budget, community-produced, political video work made possible by new accessible technologies. As Alexandra Juhasz looks at this phenomenon—why and how video has become the medium for so much AIDS activism—she also tries to make sense of the bigger picture: How is this work different from mainstream television? How does it alter what we think of the media’s form and function? The result is an eloquent and vital assessment of the role media activism plays in the development of community identity and self-empowerment.
An AIDS videomaker herself, Juhasz writes from the standpoint of an AIDS activist and blends feminist film critique with her own experience. She offers a detailed description of alternative AIDS video, including her own work on the Women’s AIDS Video Enterprise (WAVE). Along with WAVE, Juhasz discusses amateur video tapes of ACT UP demonstrations, safer sex videos produced by Gay Men’s Health Crisis, public access programming, and PBS documentaries, as well as network television productions.
From its close-up look at camcorder AIDS activism to its critical account of mainstream representations, AIDS TV offers a better understanding of the media, politics, identity, and community in the face of AIDS. It will challenge and encourage those who hope to change the course of this crisis both in the ‘real world’ and in the world of representation.
Langston Hughes called it "a great dark tide from the South": the unprecedented influx of blacks into Cleveland that gave the city the nickname "Alabama North." In this remarkable study, Kimberley Phillips reveals the breadth of working-class black experiences and activities in Cleveland and the extent to which these were shaped by traditions and values brought from the South. Phillips shows how migrants' moves north established complex networks of kin and friends and infused the city with a highly visible southern African-American culture. She examines the wide variety of black fraternal, benevolent, social, and church-based organizations working-class migrants created and demonstrates how they prepared the way for new forms of individual and collective activism in workplaces and the city. Giving special consideration to the employment patterns and experiences of working-class black women in Cleveland, AlabamaNorth reveals how migrants' expressions of tradition and community gave them a new consciousness of themselves as organized workers in the urban North and created the underpinning for new forms of black labor activism.
Western political philosophers since Plato have used the family as a model for harmonious political and social relations. Yet, far from being an uncontentious domain for shared interests and common values, the family is often the scene of intense interpersonal conflict and disagreement. In All in the Family, the political theorist Kennan Ferguson reconsiders the family, in its varied forms, as an exemplar of democratic politics and suggests how real rather than idealized family dynamics can help us to better understand and navigate political conflict.
By closely observing the attachments that arise in families despite profound disagreements and incommensurabilities, Ferguson argues, we can imagine a political engagement that accommodates radical differences without sacrificing community. After examining how the concept of the family has been deployed and misused in political philosophy, Ferguson turns to the ways in which families actually operate: the macropolitical significance of family coping strategies such as silence and the impact that disability and caregiving have on conceptions of spatiality, sameness, and disparity. He also considers the emotional attachment between humans and their pets as an acknowledgment that compassion and community can exist even under conditions of profound difference.
All My Relatives challenges the prevailing notion that the work of all American writers reflects a sense of determined individualism. Highlighting works by Frank Chin, Sandra Cisneros, Maxine Hong Kingston, N. Scott Momaday, Tomas Rivera, Leslie Marmon Silko, Alice Walker, and John Edgar Wideman, Bonnie TuSmith shows that a "first language of community" exists within the cultures of ethnic Americans and is evident in their literary texts. TuSmith suggests that the proper understanding of these texts demands that we dismiss an interpretive frame borrowed from European-American literature.
All My Relatives provides a new way of reading popular works such as The Woman Warrior, The Joy Luck Club, The Color Purple and John Edgar Wideman's Sent for You Yesterday. TuSmith's study will appeal to general readers as well as students and scholars of American culture, ethnic studies, and American literature.
"An original contribution to the field. TuSmith's willingness to step over invisible boundaries and to draw parallels between the cultural contexts of several ethnic groups at once is refreshing and important." --Amy Ling, University of Wisconsin, Madison
"Ambitious and timely . . . a significant work that Americanists will want to read. TuSmith does an excellent job of clarifying the meaning and significance of the term "ethnicity" in relation to American literature."--Ramón Saldívar, Stanford University
". . . TuSmith establishes the importance of traditional (usually oral) modes of expression to ethnic texts that are both relational and accessible . . . . [S]hould become a standard point of reference in the emerging field of comparative American literature."--Choice
Bonnie TuSmith is Assistant Professor of English, Bowling Green State University.
At the turn of the century, Colorado's Cripple Creek District captured
the national imagination with the extraordinary wealth of its gold mines
and the unquestionable strength of the militant Western Federation of
In All That Glitters, Elizabeth Jameson tells the better-than-fiction
story of Cripple Creek, the scene in 1894 of one of radical labor's most
stunning victories and in 1903-4 of one of its most crushing defeats.
Jameson's sources include working-class oral histories, the Victor and
Cripple Creek Daily Press, published by thirty-four of the local
labor unions, and the 1900 manuscript census. She connects unions with
lodges and fraternal associations, ethnic identity, families, households,
and partisan politics. Through these ties, she probes the differences
in age, skill, gender, marital status, and ethnicity that strained working-class
unity and contributed to the fall of labor in Cripple Creek.
Jameson's book will be required reading for western, ethnic, and working-class
historians seeking an alternative interpretation of western mining struggles
that emphasizes class, gender, and multiple sources of social identity. A volume in the series The Working Class in American History, edited by David Brody, Alice Kessler-Harris, David Montgomery, and Sean Wilentz
In this collective biography of the more than 1,200 individuals who engaged in astronomical
research, teaching, or practice in the United States between 1859 and 1940, John Lankford
paints a meticulously documented portrait of this community. He tallies the number with and
without doctorates, the number that taught in colleges or universities versus those involved in
industrial or government work, the number of women versus men, and so on. He also
addresses the crucial question of power within the community—what it meant, which
astronomers had it, and what they did with it.
Drawing on more than a decade of archival research, Lankford attends to the numbers in
concise tables and figures, and takes care to focus through biographical sketches on the
human beings his data represent. This dual approach convincingly illustrates how the changing
structure of a scientific community can alter both the career trajectories of its members and the
nature of the scientific research they choose to pursue.
Mercier depicts the vibrant life of the smelter city at full steam, incorporating the candid, sometimes wry commentary of the locals ("the company furnished three pair of leather gloves . . . and all the arsenic [dust] you could eat"). She documents the early history of the town and the distinctive culture of cooperation and activism that residents fostered in the 1930s and 1940s. Ultimately, their solidarity and discontent with the company converged in the successful 1934 strike and sustained five decades of devoted unionism.
During the cold war years, Anacondans held to their communal values and to unions in the face of antilabor and anticommunist pressures, embracing an "alternative Americanism" that championed improved living standards for working people, rather than unlimited corporate power, as the best defense against communism. Mercier chronicles the bitter struggle between two rival unions--the anticommunist United Steelworkers of America and the red-tainted International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers--that undercut the town's labor solidarity in the postwar years. She also explores how gender definitions--especially the male breadwinner ideology and the limits placed on women's political, economic, and social roles--shaped the nature and outcome of labor struggles. Mercier carries her investigation through the closing of the smelter in 1980, covering debates over the environment and the community's transformation into a deindustrialized, nonunion town.
Underscoring the role of the community in molding working-class consciousness, Anaconda offers important insights about the changing nature of working-class culture and the real potential for collective action under the midday sun of American industrial capitalism.
Leon Krier is one of the best-known—and most provocative—architects and urban theoreticians in the world. Until now, however, his ideas have circulated mostly among a professional audience of architects, city planners, and academics. In The Architecture of Community, Krier has reconsidered and expanded writing from his 1998 book Architecture: Choice or Fate. Here he refines and updates his thinking on the making of sustainable, humane, and attractive villages, towns, and cities. The book includes drawings, diagrams, and photographs of his built works, which have not been widely seen until now.
With three new chapters, The Architecture of Community provides a contemporary road map for designing or completing today’s fragmented communities. Illustrated throughout with Krier’s original drawings, The Architecture of Community explains his theories on classical and vernacular urbanism and architecture, while providing practical design guidelines for creating livable towns.
The book contains descriptions and images of the author’s built and unbuilt projects, including the Krier House and Tower in Seaside, Florida, as well as the town of Poundbury in England. Commissioned by the Prince of Wales in 1988, Krier’s design for Poundbury in Dorset has become a reference model for ecological planning and building that can meet contemporary needs.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, Chicago witnessed a remarkable flourishing of visual arts associated with the Black Arts Movement. From the painting of murals as a way to reclaim public space and the establishment of independent community art centers to the work of the AFRICOBRA collective and Black filmmakers, artists on Chicago's South and West Sides built a vision of art as service to the people. In Art for People's Sake Rebecca Zorach traces the little-told story of the visual arts of the Black Arts Movement in Chicago, showing how artistic innovations responded to decades of racist urban planning that left Black neighborhoods sites of economic depression, infrastructural decay, and violence. Working with community leaders, children, activists, gang members, and everyday people, artists developed a way of using art to help empower and represent themselves. Showcasing the depth and sophistication of the visual arts in Chicago at this time, Zorach demonstrates the crucial role of aesthetics and artistic practice in the mobilization of Black radical politics during the Black Power era.