[COMM-ORG] query: Advice wanted on book project on Community Organizing
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Wed Sep 15 20:20:33 CDT 2010
[ed: please feel welcomed to copy COMM-ORG with responses to Peter's
From: Peter Dreier <dreier at oxy.edu>
Oxford University Press has asked me to write a book on Community
Organizing for its “What Everyone Needs to Know” series. I would
appreciate your suggestions about what should be included in the book.
This is not intended to be a “how-to” book on organizing. There are
already many good ones available.
Likewise, this is going to be an in-depth case study of a particular
organizing group, or several groups, or of a particular organizing
campaign. There are already excellent books like this. Many of you have
written these “how-to” and case study books.
Instead, the audience for the book is the wider reading public who may
be curious to learn more about Community Organizing. The publisher
believes, and I agree, that having a former community organizer as
President has piqued the curiosity of many Americans about this
little-known but important job and the broader strategy of community
organizing. Sarah Palin’s nasty attack on community organizers, at the
GOP convention in 2008, also triggered more interest in the topic, as
did the unfortunate controversy over ACORN.
So this book in intended to be about the lay-of-the-land – what
community organizing is, who does it, how is it done, what has it
accomplished, what are the different “schools” of and approaches to
community organizing, what is its history (ie who was Saul Alinsky?),
how has it changed, what are the major community organizing groups, how
does it relate to other movements, and so on. The writing will not be in
“academic” prose but in straightforward English. The book will be
published in paperback.
So far, Oxford University Press has published books about Food Politics,
Health Care Reform, Social Entrepreneurship, Animal Rights, Cuba, Islam,
Kosovo, and Burma/Myanmar, with more titles forthcoming. The books are
all written in a question-and-answer format.
So…I’m interested in your ideas about what questions the book should
deal with and what topics you think the book should address. If you were
trying to explain what Community Organizing is to a friend who knew
nothing about it, what would you want them to know. I’ll be writing this
book with David Moberg (a veteran reporter for The Nation, In These
Times, and other progressive publications, who has a PhD in
anthropology). We want to know what you think and we’ll acknowledge your
help in the book. Please send your suggestions to me at: dreier at oxy.edu.
E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics
Chair, Urban & Environmental Policy Program
1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Phone: (323) 259-2913
"The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who in time of crisis
remain neutral" - Dante
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