By Paul Lichterman
This publication demanding situations the parable that individualism inevitably weakens commitments to the typical sturdy. It examines environmental and different activist teams during which individualism occasionally complements political dedication. instead of criticize individualism and desire a go back to "traditional" values, Paul Lichterman examines the untraditional, customized politics of many contemporary social routine and invitations us to reconsider universal understandings of dedication, neighborhood, and individualism in a post-traditional international.
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Extra resources for The Search for Political Community: American Activists Reinventing Commitment
Between the largely white, largely middle-class suburban ACES and the African-American, lower-to-moderate income HAT, the study tapped both ends of the socioeconomic continuum in the GMEJ, and both ends of the personalist-communitarian continuum within the anti-toxics movement too. None of these organizations formed as a temporary response to a single environmental problem. Each dedicated itself to citizen activism Personalism and political commitment 27 over a long haul, rather than to the solution of a single local issue.
The chapter illustrates how differences in commitment cultures may impede multicultural alliancebuilding even when activists agree on issues. Appendix I details my reasons for choosing the organizations examined in these chapters, and explains my research strategies. Appendix II shows why the answer to this study's question about commitment required participant-observation research. Chapters 5 and 6 provide broader social contexts that help explain why some activists tend toward personalized political commitments while others commit themselves with a more communitarian style.
In its five years of existence it had supported local environmental and anti-nuclear protests, and organized its own protest and public education events. The old group had put much energy into position papers for a national Green movement platform. And in the past year, it had been drained of much energy for new projects by haggling over group by-laws. The new Ridge Green group had focused itself on the goal of registering at least 80,000 Green Party voters by the end of 1991, in order to qualify the new party to participate in the 1992 elections.