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LIVE ON CROWDCAST: PAUL LICHTERMAN discusses his new book HOW CIVIC ACTION WORKS

*Please note: This event will take place live on Crowdcast. RSVP here to join the livestream or watch the replay.

How Civic Action Works: Fighting for Housing in Los Angeles (Princeton University Press)

How Civic Action Works renews the tradition of inquiry into collective, social problem solving. Paul Lichterman follows grassroots activists, nonprofit organization staff, and community service volunteers in three coalitions and twelve organizations in Los Angeles as they campaign for affordable housing, develop new housing, or address homelessness. Lichterman shows that to understand how social advocates build their campaigns, craft claims, and choose goals, we need to move beyond well-established thinking about what is strategic.

Lichterman presents a pragmatist-inspired sociological framework that illuminates core tasks of social problem solving, both contentious and noncontentious, by grassroots and professional advocates alike. He reveals that advocates’ distinct styles of collective action produce different understandings of what is strategic, and generate different dilemmas for advocates because each style accommodates varying social and institutional pressures. We see, too, how patterns of interaction create a cultural filter that welcomes some claims about housing problems while subordinating or delegitimating others. These cultural patterns help solve conceptual and practical puzzles, such as why coalitions fragment when members agree on many things, and what makes advocacy campaigns separate housing from homelessness or affordability from environmental sustainability. Lichterman concludes by turning this action-centered framework toward improving dialogue between social advocates and researchers.

Using extensive ethnography enriched by archival evidence, How Civic Action Works explains how advocates meet the relational and rhetorical challenges of collective action.

Paul Lichterman is professor of sociology and religion at the University of Southern California. He is author of the award-winning books Elusive Togetherness (Princeton) and The Search for Political Community, and the coeditor of The Civic Life of American Religion.

Event date: 
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 - 6:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
How Civic Action Works: Fighting for Housing in Los Angeles (Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology) Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9780691177519
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Princeton University Press - December 15th, 2020

The Civic Life of American Religion Cover Image
By Paul Lichterman (Editor), C. Brady Potts (Editor)
$24.00
ISBN: 9780804757966
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Stanford University Press - October 1st, 2008

Elusive Togetherness: Church Groups Trying to Bridge America's Divisions (Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology #24) Cover Image
$38.95
ISBN: 9780691096513
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Princeton University Press - July 25th, 2005

The Search for Political Community: American Activists Reinventing Commitment (Cambridge Cultural Social Studies) Cover Image
$41.99
ISBN: 9780521483438
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Cambridge University Press - September 19th, 1996