Political participation in America-supposedly the world's strongest democracy-is startlingly low, and many of the civil rights and economic equity initiatives that were instituted in the 1960s and '70s have been abandoned, as significant proportions of the populace seem to believe that the civil rights battle has been won. However, rates of collective engagement, like community activism, are surprisingly high. In Resisting Citizenship, renowned feminist political scientist Martha Ackelsberg argues that community activism may hold important clues to reviving democracy in this time of growing bureaucratization and inequality.
This book brings together many of Ackelsberg's writings over the past 25 years, combining her own field work and interviews with cutting edge research and theory on democracy and activism. She explores these efforts in order to draw lessons-and attempt to incorporate knowledge-about current notions of democracy from those who engage in "non-traditional" participation, those who have, in many respects, been relegated to the margins of political life in the United States.
Martha Ackelsberg is Five College Fortieth Anniversary Professor in the political science department at Smith College. Her research and teaching interests are in applied democratic theory, urban politics, and feminist theory.
Part 1: Rethinking Politics/Rethinking Community 1. Women's Collaborative Activities and City Life: Politics and Policy 2. Communities, Resistance, and Women's Activism: Reflections on Democratic Theory 3. Terrains of Protest: Striking City Women (with Myrna Margulies Breitbart) Part 2: Challenging Dichotomies: Dependency, Privacy, Identity, Power 4. Dependency or Mutuality: A Feminist Perspective on Dilemmas of Welfare Policy 5. Privacy, Publicity, and Power: A Feminist Rethinking of the Public-Private Distinction (with Mary Lyndon Shanley) 6. Gender, Resistance, and Citizenship: Women's Struggles With/In the State (with Mary Lyndon Shanley) 7. Rethinking Anarchism/Rethinking Power: A Contemporary Feminist Perspective Part 3: Is Citizenship the Goal? 8. Exclusion or Inclusion? The Ambiguities of Citizenship 9. Broadening the Study of Women's Participation 10. Women's Community Activism and the Rejection of 'Politics': Some Dilemmas of Popular Democratic Movements 11. Families, Care, and Citizenship: Notes Toward A Feminist Approach 12. Democracy and (In)Equality: Community Activism and Democracy in a Time of Retrenchment