Community Organizing: Theory and Practice

a.k.a. Democratic Theory and the Fight for Justice in America

Spring 2013:  SOC398/PS300 Syllabus[1]

Class times: Wednesday 3:00 pm - 5:30 pm Dane Smith Hall #224


Dr. Richard L. Wood       Director
Associate Professor of Sociology      Southwest Institute on Religion & Civil Society
SSCI #1078 (1915 Roma Dr. NE)   Hokona-Zuni #401



Office hours: Weds & Thurs 1:30-2:30 p.m., SSCI #1078 (across parking lot from Zimmerman)


General Course Description:


            This course introduces you to the practice and scholarly understanding of community organizing. In recent years, community organizing has gained a great deal of attention due to several factors: the success of community organizing efforts to advance educational reform, low-income housing, healthcare reform, and environmental justice; the rise of Barack Obama after his early career in community organizing; the career opportunities the field offers for disciplined young people interested in working for social change without giving up a reasonable standard of living; and the fact that many community organizing efforts occur in the kinds of "communities of color" that constitute the demographic future of American society. But perhaps above all, the new interest in community organizing stems from the ongoing rise in economic inequality in American life, and the closing down of economic opportunities for young people, the working class, and marginalized communities. This course will explore various answers to questions like “What kind of America do we want?” and “How do we get there?” It will introduce students to the history and political experience of community organizing in America, the current practices and strategies that it uses, and the social theory that guides practitioners (and can help critique and improve their work). Course will include field experience in a specific organizing effort chosen by the student, either an existing effort or a new one designed and implemented by the student.


            Community organizing entails engagement on the terrain of “politics”, understood in the positive sense derived from Aristotle in ancient Greece: politics as the way human groups make decisions regarding their future. The course does not assume that you either reject or embrace any political ideology, party, or leader – but only that you are interested in learning more about community organizing as one tool for democratic life. Discussions and lectures in the class will respect the positions of people holding a variety of political views. You will be asked both to express your own views and to really listen to others’ views regarding issues of democracy – and to think more deeply about yours and others’ views via in-class dialogue, reading, and organizing practice.


            After surveying the background of community organizing in the U.S. (including some on college campuses), we will look first at the role of stories or “narratives” in this form of democratic political engagement. This may seem obvious, but in fact represents a key political dimension of this work – and for some a personally and even spiritually transformative practice. The class then addresses three questions over the course of the semester: why do people organize; how does organizing work; and what does it take to become a good organizer. Learning in this class takes place in the context of reflecting on how American democratic traditions and practices can be strengthened from within “civil society” – i.e. mostly from outside partisan politics and business settings (though some of the lessons here apply in those realms, too).



Course limitations:


            Given the limited reading possible in a semester and the variety of forms of community organizing “out there”, we will by no means discuss all the varieties of this kind of political engagement. Rather, the focus will be on giving you intellectual and practical tools that you can use to think about those forms of politics and democratic (small “d”) organizing in which you are interested. During class, we will draw examples from a variety of forms of organizing chosen according to their relevance to the topic, class members’ interests, and my own expertise – in the latter case, mostly those based on ethical commitment to the monotheistic religious traditions (Judaism; historic Protestant, Catholic, evangelical, and Pentecostal Christianity) and those related to the labor union movement and protests against inequality (including immigrant rights, Chicano/Native American/African American rights, and the Occupy movement). But class discussion by no means should be limited to areas of my expertise. I strongly encourage students to bring questions and comments from your own political and personal interests to bear on class discussions.


Why “Theory and Practice” in the sub-title? Theory offers a set of ideas and concepts – a framework – for thinking about the nature of the democracy, opportunity, and equality to which we aspire; for evaluating how close or far we are from those ideals; and for guiding our engagement in the work of citizenship and deepening democracy. That does not mean we accept those ideas or concepts uncritically: your engagement in the work of organizing will include thinking about what ideas and concepts might better undergird democratic life. Practice in this context means something different than the way we usually use that word: “practice” here is not what you do before you get something right, but rather means something like “reflective engagement in concrete work” – ‘concrete work’ here meaning actual organizing efforts, and ‘reflective’ meaning doing it thoughtfully, evaluating your work and seeking to improve it as you go. You’re not expected to always get it right, but you are expected to constantly strive to learn from your own and others’ efforts.



Educational Philosophy and Methods:


In a classic book on education for liberation, the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire spoke of why he teaches:

"I was concerned to take advantage of that climate [of transition and intellectual openness] to attempt to rid our education of its wordiness, its lack of faith in the student and his [or her] power to discuss, to work, to create. Democracy and democratic education are founded on faith in [humanity], on the belief that people not only can but should discuss the problems of democracy itself. Education is an act of love, and thus an act of courage. It cannot fear the analysis of reality or, under pain of revealing itself as a farce, avoid creative discussion."

Education for Critical Consciousness New York: Continuum, 1969 [bracketed revisions mine]


            This quote captures the spirit with which I aspire to teach this course. Among the “problems of democracy” we face are: 1) The fact that better-paid, better-educated, and more elite citizens tend to be more active in politics than are middle class, working class, and poor citizens and non-citizens; and 2) that wealthy individuals and organizations contribute more to political campaigns and issue advertising than do the less wealthy. As a result, societal decisions tend to benefit the wealthy more than others, leading to the inequalities we see around us – as well as related inequities, such as environmental degradation, exclusion of certain groups, etc. Community organizing strives to address these two problems head-on. But discovering the best ways to do so requires the kind of “creative discussion” for which Freire calls. This course seeks to foster that kind of discussion – for your role as residents & citizens and for training a new generation of professional organizers who can build movements to deepen democracy in America.


            Discussing the challenges confronting democracy and how to address them will not be easy and will require your active collaboration. This course will thus combine participative teaching methods with rigorous intellectual expectations: you will be expected to do all the readings, take notes regarding the content of those readings and your reactions to them, discuss them before and during class, and collaborate with your peers in a concrete effort at organizing. Instead of just attending a lecture and taking exams, in the context of class discussions you will be asked to offer your opinions about the readings and course topics, and about your experience in the wider world.


            There is no single "textbook" for the course. In order to encourage critical thinking about the texts, diverse readings have been selected to force you to think material through yourself. Some readings are quite descriptive and engaging, others more analytical. I will suggest study questions to keep in mind as you read, but you should also ask your own questions as you go – and bring to class those questions, partial answers, or comments that seem most important. You should do all readings prior to coming to class, so we can discuss them. But not all readings must be read with equal care: use this class as a chance to learn (or to strengthen) a disciplined approach to reading: "skim" readings quickly initially to get the overall picture, then go back to read some sections more carefully and re-skim others.


Experiential learning:


            A crucial source of learning for the course will not be written, but rather experiential: beginning by the fifth week of the semester (mid-February), each student will work a few hours each week in a community organizing project of her/his choosing. You can seek out an existing organizing project within an organization whose values you support; or develop your own organizing project to take action on your values; or choose a project that reflects your values from a list of options I will offer. I will impose no constraints on the kinds of organizing project students can work with, beyond that they must be non-violent and legal. That is, choose a project that reflects your values, not my values. Also: a crucial process of learning for the class will be collaborative, not isolated; so to launch your own organizing effort you must convince about two of your peers to join you in that project. Important: You will NOT be graded on whether or not your organizing effort succeeds, but rather on the quality of organizing work you engage in, the thoughtfulness of your effort, and how well you analyze and reflect on that effort and on the course readings (both verbally and in writing). 


Learning Outcomes:

a)      You will strengthen your ability to draw on your interests and passions to engage in the real world of leaders, organizations, and institutions – the places where societal decisions are made that shape the quality of life for all of us.

b)      You will strengthen your ability to draw on analytic readings and your experience in order to reflect on your role in society, and thus become more effective as a citizen and human being within society.

c)      You will learn specific organizing skills and reflective practices that will be transferable to your future endeavors (as a professional organizer or other career, as an active citizen, or simply within whatever organizations you are involved with in the future).


Together, these outcomes will help position you to become a permanent learner who is active in society; and to help build learning organizations dedicated to the permanent effort to deepen democracy in American life.  


Expectations and Grading:


Three components will determine your grade for this course:

1.         Reading discussions (150 points): For each week's reading(s), you must offer your insights and reactions, both in writing (via online discussion forum at in the course website) and verbally (in class discussion): what were the key ideas or concepts? what did you find intriguing or provocative? what was powerful or unconvincing? what did you think about it overall, and why? Three times during the semester (after about the 4th, 8th, and 15th weeks), I will assign up to 50 points to each student’s “reading discussion” component, based on your online and verbal contribution to these discussions. The mix of verbal/written participation is flexible, and quality/thoughtfulness/insight of engagement counts more than sheer quantity. Disagreement (with me, with others, with your own prior views) is fine – indeed, it’s better than always agreeing! – but should always be offered civilly and respectfully. These points will be given on a rough scale of 10/20/30/35/40/45/50 points. The kinds of questions that will determine score include: Have you attended class regularly? Participated effectively in class discussions – in person and on line? Do you listen to others carefully? When you disagree with the instructor or other students, do you articulate that disagreement openly, seeking both to push toward better understanding of their and your position and to insist on a better group analysis of the question? Are you willing to disagree, and yet respect others’ viewpoints?


2.         Reflection papers (150 points: 3x50 points each): Three times during the semester, each student will submit a one-page "reflection paper" in which they reflect on their own learning, leadership and analytic skills, and (later in the semester) their experience in their individual organizing project. Reflection papers are due both electronically and in hard copy by 12:00 noon on the day assigned; these should be single-spaced with one-inch margins and a font of either 11 or 12 characters per inch.


Note on filenames: any time you send me a document (reflection paper, analytic essay, other), please use a filename for the document like:  Soc398&POLS300.PaperID.StudentName -- thus, for example, for a student named Ricardo Wood, the 2nd reflection paper would be Soc398&POLS300.Reflection2.RicardoWood.doc


3.         One analytic essay (200 points) due Friday, April 26: The paper should be 10-15 pages; it must be paginated, double-spaced, and typed in a font of either 11 or 12 characters per inch. The paper must analyze the organizing process you chose to engage in during the semester, and address the following dimensions:

·         Briefly describe the organization your worked with and its key values and issues; or (if you launched your own organizing effort) briefly describe the effort and the values and issues driving it. In either case, use no true names of individuals, only pseudonyms.

·         What were the original goals of the effort, and how did these change over time?

·         What were the crucial dynamics inside the organization/organizing effort?

·         Is the organizing effort succeeding or failing, and why?

·         What changes in organizing practice might most improve the effort?

·         What have you learned (about organizing, about theory and practice, about yourself) through this process?  


The “why?” question is crucial – not only “why do you think so” (i.e. evidence of success or failure) but also “why is it succeeding/failing?” The latter requires real analytic work on your part, drawing on the course readings, concepts, and teachings about “best practices” to assess for yourself why things are going the way they are. Whether the organizing effort succeeds or fails will not affect your grade. Rather, you must diagnose what’s going well or poorly, and how to improve it – this is one of the key analytic skills of organizing, and of life.


All of the following “count”: Your understanding of course materials; how insightfully you apply that material to analyzing your organizing experience and the organizing process within the group you work with; and spelling, grammar, and writing style. Note the warning regarding plagiarism below; if you do not understand it, ask me about it. More guidelines for the papers will be provided later.


Note: The "curve" of final grades will flex according to my assessment of the overall performance of the class, so helping others study or write better papers will not risk lowering your own grade. Indeed, I strongly encourage this kind of help, because lots of learning can occur that way, and our understanding of “things social” can usually be enhanced by drawing on others’ perspectives. So help one another think about the readings, help them do organizing work, ask others for feedback on your papers, etc. – just be sure to write your own paper!


Note to all students: doing your work without cheating or plagiarizing


I have a zero tolerance policy with regard to cheating and plagiariasm. That is, if you plagiarize someone else’s work (by downloading a paper or part of a paper from the internet, using another student’s paper or part of a paper, quoting another writer without crediting them, or in any other serious way), the consequences will by immediate: You will flunk this course and I will report that to the College and University authorities. This is only fair to those students with the integrity to do their own work. If you know you cannot resist the temptation to cheat or plagiarize, do not take this course; if you are not sure what counts as cheating or plagiarizing, ask me.


Useful Links:

              Scholarly vs popular articles:

              Finding full text articles:

              Finding a database:

              Using Libros:


Students with disabilities:

In accordance with University Policy 2310 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, any student who, due to a disability, may require special arrangements in order to meet course requirements should contact the instructor as soon as possible to make necessary accommodations. Students with disabilities who qualify for academic accommodations must provide a letter from Disability Services and discuss specific needs with the professor, preferably during the first two weeks of class, so that proper arrangements can be made. It is the responsibility of the student to request accommodation for individual learning needs. UNM will make every attempt to accommodate all qualified students with disabilities. For further information, contact Student Support Services at (505) 277-3506



General Class information:


Incompletes: a grade of Incomplete is rarely an option in this course. If extraordinary circumstances arise please talk to the instructor as soon as possible. In the event that an Incomplete is granted, the Incomplete must be completed within one year (unless a previous date is agreed upon) or a grade of F will result.


Plagiarism and Honor Code

POLICY ON ACADEMIC DISHONESTY Adopted by the UNM President June 15, 1992
Each student is expected to maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity in academic and professional matters. The University reserves the right to take disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, against any student who is found guilty of academic dishonesty or otherwise fails to meet the standards. Any student judged to have engaged in academic dishonesty in course work may receive a reduced or failing grade for the work in question and/or for the course. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, dishonesty in quizzes, tests, or assignments; claiming credit for work not done or done by others; hindering the academic work of other students; misrepresenting academic or professional qualifications within or without the University; and nondisclosure or misrepresentation in filling out applications or other University records.


Classroom Behavior

Students are expected to comply with UNM‘s classroom behavior policy. Unacceptable classroom behavior includes, but is not limited to: reading unrelated materials in class, sleeping in class and the use of cell phones and/or any other electronic devices in the classroom. Your grade will be negatively affected by inappropriate classroom behavior.


Schedule Note:

The schedule outlined in the syllabus is subject to change during the course of the semester. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with any changes that might occur in the courses‘ schedule. Failure to acknowledge changes in the schedule is not a valid excuse for late or missed class work. In the case you are unable to attend a class, please consult either one of your peers or the professor regarding class assignments or changes in the syllabus. It is suggested that you contact the professor at least 48 hours previous to the next class regarding information on a missed class.


Required readings:

Please order now: Jeffrey Stout. 2010. Blessed Are the Organized: Grassroots democracy in America (Princeton, NJ and Oxford, UK: Princeton University Press).


Lots of individual readings available via electronic distribution (on UNM’s new course software: – when you go there, you will log in with UNM Net ID and password, and you will find this course listed as “Community Organizing”. There you will find a wealth of useful tools: discussion forum, place to download articles for class, this syllabus, course announcements, etc. Note that the course is taught as both SOC398 and POLS300 – both sections are included in this same site.


Course Schedule:




















Week 10

Week 11

Week 12

Week 13

Week 14

Week 15

















What is it?

Action, New Gen


Action & Stories

Ethics & Leadership

Own org
























*No class on 3/13 due to Spring Break


Course Schedule:

Week 1:

Topic: Introduction to course, and “why organize?: inequality in America”

Readings:         Stout: Chapter 1

                        In class: New York Times, “Our Economic Pickle”: 1/13/2013 Week in Review


Week 2:

Topic: What is community/political organizing?

Readings:         Stout: Preface (plus Chapter 1, if you did not read it last week)

            Watch 25 minute video on Santa Fe Living Wage campaign, “La Marcha” 

                        New York Times Magazine, “What is a Living Wage?”, 1/15/2006

                        Luke Bretherton. 2009. “The Origins of Community Organizing,” talk delivered at the 2009 American Sociological Association (used by permission)


Guests: Carol Oppenheimer and Morty Simon of the Living Wage Campaign


Week 3:

Topics: Organizing in action, new generation of organizers, student project discussion

Readings:         Stout, Chapters 2&3

                        Marshall Ganz. 2002. "What is Organizing?" Social Policy 33:16-17.

                        “Some Local, State, and National Organizing Groups” – ongoing compilation by R. Wood

Marshall Ganz: "New Generation of Organizers"  at


Week 4:

Topics:    Feelings, rituals, and identity in organizing; power; choosing an organizing venue

Readings:         Stout, Chapters 4 & 5

                        Marshall Ganz on “Organizing for Democratic Renewal” (very brief)

Background on Hannah Arendt – only parts 1 and 2 of

Amy Allen. 2002. “Power, Subjectivity, and Agency: Between Arendt and Foucault,” in International Journal of Philosophical Studies Vol.10(2), 131–149. 


Week 5:

Topics:  Politics as public action; narratives in organizing

                        Practice: One-to-one meetings (a.k.a. relational meetings)

Readings:         Stout, Chapters 6 & 7

Marshall Ganz: on storytelling

Marshall Ganz 2011 Public Narrative, Collective Action, and Power“,  Chapter 18 in Accountability Through Public Opinion: From Inertia to Public Action, Edited by Sina Odugbemi and Taeku Lee (Washington, DC: The World Bank, 2011), p. 273-289


1st reflection paper due: Saturday, February 16 at 12:00 noon

Think about the difference between: a) power as one person’s ability to make others do what s/he wants; versus b) power as the ability to act together. Have you experienced or seen examples of each? What difference might it make for an organizing project to think about power as “power with” rather than “power over”? How might you begin to build an organization constructed on such a model?


Week 6:

Topics: 1. Labor unions and conservative social movements organize, too.

            2. Ethics of leadership: Exercising authority, exorcising your demons

            Practice: Planning an “organizing campaign”

            Guest: Kip Bobroff, Executive Director of Albuquerque Interfaith (local IAF affiliate)

Readings:         Lowell Turner and Richard W. Hurd, “Building Social Movement Unionism: The Transformation of the American Labor Movement”

New York Times. 2009. “Know Thy Enemy: Alinsky and Healthcare Organizing,” Week in Review 8/30/2009.

                        Either John Bartkowski on “Promise Keepers” or Theda Skocpol on “Tea Party Activists” (choose one of the above two)

                        Stout, Chapters 8 & 9


Week 7:

Topics:  Organizing your campaign

            Guest: Sarah Nolan, Executive Director of New Mexico CaFé (the NM chapter of the PICO National Network, based in Las Cruces but also working at statewide level)

Readings:         Marshall Ganz. 2010. “Leadership, Change, and Social Movements” (from Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice, Harvard Business School Press)


Week 8:

Topics: Reflection, Commitment and Decision-Making in Movements

            Practice: Challenge and accountability (inside your own work, external in public arena)

Readings:         Stout, Chapters 10 & 11

Marshall Ganz. 2000 “ Resources and Resourcefulness: Leadership, Strategy and Organization in the Unionization of California Agriculture (1959-1966) American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 105, No. 4 (Jan., 2000), pp. 1003-1062



2nd reflection paper due: Thursday, March 7 at 12:00 noon

As you read about organizing movements for social justice, what lessons or insights to you take away? As you read, pay attention to your own emotional flow as well; what in all this gives you hope? In what way does it challenge you in your own life and times? How do you hope that your life makes a difference in the world? What does that imply about your own vocation in the real world, or the skills you need?


Note: No class on March 13: Spring Break


Week 9:

Topics: 1. Practice: Leading participative meetings; periodic evaluation

            2. Organizing outcomes: How to win, how to build on wins, how to extract victory if you lose

Readings: Stout, Chapters 12 & 13


Week 10:

Topics: Building an organizing culture, sustaining commitment

            Practices in organizing: the bigger picture (organizing as art & discipline)


Readings:         Stout, Chapters 14 & 15

            Berkeley and Cornell Labor Centers. 2010. “New Approaches to Organizing Women and Youth” (inc. using social media).


Week 11:

Topics: Progressive religion? Cultural dynamics and political action

Readings:         Stout, Chapters 16 & 17

                        Richard L. Wood and Brad Fulton. 2012. “Building Bridges, Building Power”


3rd reflection paper due: Thursday, April 4 at 12:00 noon

What is your “cultural strategy” in your own organizing effort? (Either what is it, or what should it be to maximize your chances of success?). That is, what part of the world of meanings, identities, symbols, and stories of your constituency are you appealing to, as you seek to get them to support your issue? Why is this cultural strategy meaningful to you? What about this cultural strategy can you use to draw people into thinking politically and engaging in social change along the lines you are working toward? How might this build into your organizing process elements that allow you to contribute to a better world or a stronger organization, even if you do not win immediately on the issue at hand?


Week 12:

Topics: 1. Organizing for the long haul

            2. Overcoming anti-political culture

Readings:         Stout, Chapters 18 & 19

Nina Eliasoph, “Close to home: The work of avoiding politics”, in Theory and Society 26, no. 5 (1997): 605 (43 pages)


Week 13:

Topics: Money in organizing, and the long walk through the institutions

Readings:         Read all sub-pages of, esp. on national work, “Prophetic Voices”, PICO California Project

Center for Community Change: “Untapped: How community organizers can develop and deepen relationships with major donors and raise big money” (2009) –  article


Week 14:

Topics: Deepening democracy in American life…and in New Mexico

Readings:  Intro & Chapters 1,2,5 by Boyte on “public work”:


Week 15:

Topics: 1. Discussion of organizing experience, and where do we go from here?

2. Reflecting back, looking forward: What have you learned? How has this shaped your sense of self? Has it affected your career/vocational plans? What are your next steps forward?

Reading: Stout Chapter 20

Course evaluation: In-depth conversation about what has worked well, what has not, and how to make it better


Analytic essay due Friday, April 26 at 2:00 p.m.


Week 16:  Finals week: no final exam or class; meetings with professor available for reflection if desired.



Other recommended reading, not terribly well-organized:

Dennis Shirley, Community Organizing and Urban School Reform (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996)

Clarence Stone, Changing Urban Education (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1998)

Boyte, Harry C. 1989. Commonwealth: A Return to Citizen Politics. New York: The Free Press.

Bronfenbrenner, Kate. 1998. Organizing to Win: New research on union strategies. Ithaca: ILR Press.

Bronfenbrenner, Kate, and Tom Juravich. 1995. Union organizing in the public sector: an analysis of state and local elections. Ithaca N.Y.: ILR Press.

Calpotura, Francis and Kim Fellner. 1996. "The Square Pegs Find Their Groove: Reshaping the Organizing Circle."

Day-Lower, Donna C. 1996. "Prelude to struggle African American clergy and community organizing for economic development in the 1990's." Pp. xii, 239 leaves.

Delgado, Gary. 1986. Organizing the Movement: The Roots and Growth of ACORN. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

—. 1994. Beyond the Politics of Place: New Directions in Community Organizing in the 1990s. Oakland, California: Applied Research Center.

Evans, Sara M. and Harry C. Boyte. 1986. Free Spaces: The Sources of Democratic Change in America. New York: Harper & Row.

Fisher, Robert. 1994. Let the people decide: neighborhood organizing in America. New York & Toronto: Twayne Publishers Maxwell Macmillan Canada.

Jacobsen, Dennis A. 2001. Doing justice: congregations and community organizing. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

Kleidman, Robert. 2004. "Community Organizing and Regionalism" City and Community 3:403-421.

Krackhardt, David. 1992. "The Strength of Strong Ties: The Importance of Philos in Organizations." Networks and Organizations, Nohria and Eccles.

George Lakoff: “The Policy-Speak Disaster”:

Lichterman, Paul. 1995. "Piecing Together Multicultural Community: Cultural differences in community building among grassroots environmentalists." Social Problems 42:513-534.

Linthicum, Robert C. 1995. Signs of hope in the city. Monrovia, Calif.: Marc.

Martin, A. W. 2007. "Organizational structure, authority and protest: The case of union organizing in the United States, 1990-2001." Social Forces 85:1413.

Maxwell, Lesli A. . 2008. "Community Organizing Seen as Help to Schools." in Education Week.

Mediratta, Kavitha; Seema Shah, Sara McAlister, Norm Fruchter, Christina Mokhtar, and Dana Lockwood. 2008. "Organized Communities, Stronger Schools: A Preview of Research Findings." Providence and New York: Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University.

Morris, Aldon. 1984. The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement: Black Communities Organizing for Change. New York: The Free Press.

Pattillo-McCoy. 1998. "Church culture as a strategy of action in the black community." American Sociological Review 63:767-784.

Penta, Leo J. 1993. "Citizen Politics, Relational Organizing, and the Practice of Democracy." address at the Community Empowerment and Economic Development Conference:University of Illinois College of Law.

Swarts, Heidi. 2008. Organizing Urban America: Secular and Faith-Based Progressive Movements. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Verba, Sidney, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Henry E. Brady. 1995. Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Warren, Mark R. 2009. "Community Organizing in Britain: The Political Engagement of Faith-Based Social Capital." City & Community 8:9-127.

Norris, Pippa. 2002. Democratic Phoenix: Reinventing Political Activism. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Pateman, Carole. 1970. Participation and Democratic Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sassen, Saskia. 1991. The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Shefner, Jon. 2008. The Illusion of Civil Society: Democratization and Community Mobilization in Low-Income Mexico University Park, PN, USA: Penn State University Press.


Baiocchi, Gianpaolo. 2004? Militants and Citizens: Local Democracy on a Global Stage in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Calhoun, Craig J. 1992. Habermas and the public sphere. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Castaneda, Jorge G. 2006. "Latin America's Left Turn." Foreign Affairs.

Chavez, Daniel and Benjamin Goldfrank. 2004. The Left in the City: Participatory local governments in Latin America. London: Latin American Bureau.

David C. Leege, Kenneth D. Wald and Brian S. Krueger. 2002. The Politics of Cultural Differences: Social Change and Voter Mobilization Strategies in the Post-New Deal Period. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Greenberg, Stanley B., and Theda Skocpol. 1997. The new majority : toward a popular progressive politics. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Rubin, Jeffrey W. 2004. "Meanings and Mobilizations: A Cultural Politics Approach to Social Movements and States." Latin American Research Review 39:106-142.

Yashar, Deborah. 2005. Contesting Citizenship in Latin America: The Rise of Indigenous Movements and the Postliberal Challenge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Alexander, Jeffrey C. 2006. The civil sphere. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.

Alinsky, Saul David. 1969. Reveille for radicals. New York,: Vintage Books.

Alinsky, Saul D. 1971. Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals. New York: Random House.

Andrews, K. T., and B. Edwards. 2004. "Advocacy organizations in the US political process." Annual Review of Sociology 30:479.

Kenneth Andrew, Marshall Ganz, Matthew Baggetta, Hahrie Han, Chaeyoon Lim 2010 Leadership, Membership, and Voice: Civic Associations That Work American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 115, No. 4. (1 January 2010), pp. 1191-1242

Armstrong, Elizabeth A. and Mary Bernstein. 2008? ""Culture, Power, and Institutions: A Multi-Institutional Politics Approach to Social Movements"." Sociological Theory 26:74-99.

Axel-Lute, Miriam. 2006. "Picking Up the Pieces." in Shelterforce Online.

Azevedo, Marcello S.J. (trans. by John Drury). 1987. Basic Ecclesial Communities in Brazil:  The Challenge of a New Way of Being Church. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

Baggett, J. P. 2001. Habitat for Humanity: Building Provate Homes, Building Public Religion. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Barber, Benjamin R. 1992. An Aristocracy of Everyone:  The Politics of Education and the Future of America. New York: Ballantine Books.

Bellah, Robert N., Richard Madsen, William M. Sullivan, Ann Swidler, and Steven M. Tipton. 1991. The Good Society. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Benhabib, Seyla. 1992. "Models of Public Space: Hannah Arendt, the Liberal Tradition and Jurgen Habermas." in Habermas and the Public Sphere, edited by Craig Calhoun. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Bishops, United States Catholic. 1986. "Economic justice for all: a pastoral letter on Catholic social teaching and the U.S. economy." Pp. xvi, 188. Washington, D.C.: Office of Publishing and Promotion Services, United States Catholic Conference.

Borg, Marcus J. 1984. Conflict, Holiness, and Politics in the Teaching of Jesus. New York: E. Mellen Press.

Borg, Marcus J. 1994. Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. San Francisco?: HarperSanFrancisco?

Browning, Don S. and Gloria G. Rodriguez. 2002. Reweaving the Social Tapestry: Toward a Public Philosophy and Policy for Families. New York: W.W.Norton.

Brueggemann, Walter. 1978. The Prophetic Imagination. Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

Chapman, Audrey R. 1991. Faith, Power, and Politics:  Political Ministry in Mainline Churches. New York: The Pilgrim Press.

Coleman, John A. 1991. One Hundred Years of Catholic Social Thought. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis.

Comaroff, Jean, and John L. Comaroff. 1991. Of revelation and revolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Cortes, Ernesto Jr. 1987. "Changing the Locus of Political Decision Making"." Christianity & Crisis.

Dahl, Robert A. 1963. Who Governs? Democracy and Power in an American City. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

de Tocqueville, Alexis. 1956. Democracy in America. New York: New American Library.

DeSipio, Louis, and Rodolfo O. De la Garza. 1998. Making Americans, remaking America: immigration and immigrant policy. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.

Dionne, E.J. Why Americans Hate Politics. ??: ??

Douglas, Mary. 1986. How Institutions Think. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.

Edwards, Bob, Mario Diani, and Michael W. Foley. 2001. Beyond Tocqueville : civil society and the social capital debate in comparative perspective. Hanover NH: University Press of New England for Tufts University.

Edwards, B. and M.W. Foley. 1998. "Social Capital and Civil Society Beyond Putnam [Special issue: Civil Society and Social Capital in Comparative Perspective]." American Behavioral Scientist 42.

Eliasoph, Nina. 1998. Avoiding Politics: How Americans produce apathy in everyday life. Cambridge UK and New York: Cambridge University Press.

Fantasia, Rick. 1988. Cultures of Solidarity:  Consciousness, Action, and Contemporary American Workers. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Fazio, Carlos. 1994. Samuel Ruiz, el caminante. México, D.F.: Espasa Calpe.

Fink, Leon. 1984. The Radical Vision of Saul Alinsky. Mahway, NJ: Paulist Press.

Fishkin, James S. 1992. Democracy and Deliberation: New Directions for Democratic Reform. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

—. 1995. The Voice of the People: Public Opinion and Democracy. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Fraser, Nancy. 1992. "Rethinking the Public Sphere: A contribution to the critique of actually existing democracy." in Habermas and the Public Sphere, edited by Craig Calhoun. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Freedman, Samuel G. 1994. Upon Thus Rock: Miracles of the Black Church. New York: Harper.

Freire, Paulo. 1970. Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Herder and Herder.

Ganz, Marshall. 2009. Why David Sometimes Wins: Leadership, Organization, and Strategy in the California Farm Worker Movement New York: Oxford University Press.

Gecan, Michael. 2002. Going Public. Boston: Beacon Press.

Granovetter, Mark. 1983. "The Strength of Weak Ties: A Network Theory Revisited." Sociological Theory 1:201-233.

Greider, William. 1992. Who Will Tell the People? The Betrayal of American Democracy. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Hart, Stephen. 2001. Cultural Dilemmas of Progressive Politics: Styles of engagement among grassroots activists. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Hewitt, W. E. 1991. Base Christian communities and social change in Brazil. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Hill, Christopher. 1972. The World Turned Upside Down: Radical ideas during the English Revolution. New York: Viking Press.

Hobsbawm, Eric. 1984. Workers:  Worlds of Labor. New York: Pantheon Books.

Horwitt, Sanford D. 1989. Let Them Call Me Rebel:  Saul Alinsky -- His Life and Legacy. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Jacobsen, Dennis A. 2001. Doing justice: congregations and community organizing. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

Keck, Margaret and Kathryn Sikkink. 1998. Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Kling, Joseph M. and Prudence S. Posner. 1990. Dilemmas of Activism:  Class, Community, and the Politics of Local Mobilization. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Krackhardt, David. 1992. "The Strength of Strong Ties: The Importance of Philos in Organizations." Networks and Organizations, Nohria and Eccles.

Krishna, Anirudh. 2002. Active Social Capital: Tracing the Roots of Development and Democracy. New York: Columbia University Press.

Krugman, Paul. 2002. "For Richer." The New York Times Magazine:62ff.

Lerner, Michael. 1991. Surplus Powerlessness:  The Psychodynamics of Everyday Life and the Psychology of Individual and Social Transformation. New Jersey: Humanities Press International, Inc.

Lichterman, Paul. 1996. The search for political community: American activists reinventing commitment. Cambridge, UK and New York: Cambridge University Press.

Linthicum, Robert C. 1991. City of God, city of Satan: a biblical theology for the urban church. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan.

—. 1995. Signs of hope in the city. Monrovia, Calif.: Marc.

Lukes, Steven. 1986. Power. New York: New York University Press.

Osterman, Paul. 2003. Gathering Power: The Future of Progressive Politics in America (Boston: Beacon Press).

Polletta, Francesca. 2002. Freedom Is An Endless Meeting ISBN #9780226674490, University of Chicago Press.

Weir, Margaret and Marshall Ganz, “Reconnecting People and Politics” from The New Majority: Toward a Popular Progressive Politics ed. by Stanley B. Greenberg and Theda Skocpol. New Haven and London:149-171.

Wood, Richard L. 2007. "Higher Power: Strategic Capacity for State and National Organizing " Pp. 164-192 in Transforming the City: Community Organizing and the Challenge of Political Change, edited by Marion Orr. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press.

Wood, Richard L. 2003. "Religion, Faith-Based Community Organizing, and the Struggle for Justice." in Cambridge Handbook of Sociology, edited by Michele Dillon. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.

Wood, Richard L. 2002. Faith in Action: Religion, Race, and Democratic Organizing in America ISBN #9780226905952, University of Chicago Press.

Wood, Richard L. and Mark R. Warren. 2002. "A Different Face of Faith-Based Politics: Social Capital and Community Organizing in the Public Arena." International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 22:6-54.

Wood, Richard L. 1999. "Religious Culture and Political Action." Sociological Theory 17:307-332.

            [1] As is often the case in course design, this syllabus draws on ideas and models from many colleagues. But I particularly want to acknowledge my indebtedness to a similar course taught by Marshall Ganz at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a course on “Contesting Injustice” taught by Elisabeth J. Wood at Yale University.