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Blessed Are the Organized:
Grassroots Democracy in America
Jeffrey Stout

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]

ADDITIONAL REVIEWS:

"Stout offers a penetrating tour of the organizing efforts of Southwest IAF affiliates, from the devastated neighborhoods of post-Katrina New Orleans, to the shantytown colonias of the Rio Grande valley in Texas, to the crime-ridden neighborhoods of southeast Los Angeles, to a meeting of more affluent democrats in a Marin County synagogue. He gives us a kind of thick ethnographic description of grassroots, face-to-face democracy, seeking in the stories he hears and the events he witnesses to discern the governing principles and practices of a democratic counterculture that has developed largely under the radar of the media spectacles that pass for American public life. . . . The bulk of Stout's book is devoted to a full, often moving, account of these organizing practices at work--not only successfully but unsuccessfully. . . . Incisive as his theoretical abstractions from these stories are, Stout's greater gift to democrats may lie in bringing to light the struggles, and especially the victories, of the largely obscure men and women who populate his narrative. . . . One can only wish for this heartening book a large, wide, and diverse audience. Few will welcome it more than those democrats who, as Stout once did, find themselves stammering for some answers in the face of the skepticism and despair over democracy's future that grip our faded republic."--Robert Westbrook, Commonweal

"Stout's book is a must-read for an understanding of citizen participation at all levels of organized problem solving in U.S. government and politics."--Choice

"Stout provides useful wisdom for those who will not settle for less than a genuine democratic transformation of our society."--Tikkun

"Blessed Are the Organized is a crucially important work that . . . analyses our political system through the eyes of the underdogs. This perspective of the periphery is a rare sight in a world dominated by the elite agenda of the mainstream media."--E@sy Yo1k blog

"Written in a dynamic style and insisting on characters' profiles, Stout's book is a useful supplement, with data specific to contemporary society, to the political anthropology studies whose main theme is how democratic communities function."--Daniel Sandru, CEU Political Science Journal

ADDITIONAL ENDORSEMENTS:

"The subject of civil society ranks among the most important topics of contemporary democracy. Jeffrey Stout treats this subject in a manner that is original, bold, and saturated with concrete detail. This is an important book for all friends of democracy around the world."--Adam Michnik, author of Letters from Prison and Other Essays

"Democracy, as Jeffrey Stout shows us, is hard work: a tireless, contestatory struggle to make government responsible and to gain recognition and satisfaction for the civically deprived. Channeling the voices of those engaged in this struggle, Stout forces us to rethink our ideas about citizenship and democracy."--Philip Pettit, coauthor of A Political Philosophy in Public Life

"Blessed Are the Organized matches or exceeds its author's previous prize-winning books. I am in awe at how well Jeffrey Stout has transitioned from philosophy of religion to ethnographic research. Would that most ethnographers were able to do field research this well and make it as engaging and powerful."--Robert Wuthnow, Princeton University

"This engaging book makes a significant contribution to the ongoing discussion of the character and future of American democracy. It introduces readers to a long-standing and effective community organizing movement, and offers a hopeful but realistic assessment of what could happen if this model were implemented more widely and consistently. Stout offers a brilliant explanation of the political choices that now lie before us as a nation and as an emerging global society."--Robin W. Lovin, Southern Methodist University

"This original and important book develops an invigorating conception of democratic citizenship today. It is simply one of the most exciting books that I have read in ages."--Danielle S. Allen, Institute for Advanced Study

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File created: 7/17/2014

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