This incisive book provides a critical history and analysis of community organizing, the tradition of bringing groups together to build power and forge grassroots leadership for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice. Begun by Saul Alinsky in the 1930s, there are today nearly 200 institution-based groups active in 40 U.S. states, and the movement is spreading internationally. David Walls charts how community organizing has transcended the neighborhood to seek power and influence at the metropolitan, state, and national levels, together with such allies as unions and human rights advocates. Some organizing networks have embraced these goals while others have been more cautious, and the growing profile of community organizing has even charged political debate. Importantly, Walls engages social movements literature to bring insights to our understanding of community organizing networks, their methods, allies and opponents, and to show how community organizing offers concepts and tools that are indispensable to a democratic strategy of social change. Community Organizing will be essential reading for advanced undergraduates and graduate students of sociology, social movements and social work. It will also inform organizers and grassroots leaders, as well as the elected officials and others who contend with them.
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