Through a close look at events observed in three Guadeloupean voluntary associations—a retirees' club, a youth group, and a dance club—this essay examines the politics of leisure activities, helping to illuminate the ways that social capital operates in associations and how politics permeates everyday life on the French island of Guadeloupe. I consider the ways that Putnam's view of social capital differs from Bourdieu's. I argue associations are an important source of social capital for some marginalized members of Guadeloupean society who convert this social capital into economic, political, or social advancement. At the same time, social capital is unevenly accessible within associations and it operates in a context of political patronage. My data suggests that we need to rethink the concept of social capital to account for the complexity of the ways it works in society.
Social Capital and the Politics of Leisure in Guadeloupean Associations
Nancy L. Green
Although mass migration to the United States and to France did not occur until after Tocqueville's visit to America, by rereading Tocqueville's classic De la démocratie en Amérique through the lens of immigration history, we can question some of the common assumptions about Franco-American differences. First, Tocqueville's comparativist gaze needs to be re-examined, especially with regard to the way in which it has been repeatedly invoked during the Tocquevillian renaissance of the last thirty years to differentiate the French and American experiences. Second, if Tocqueville did not discuss immigrants per se, his analysis of voluntary associations points to an important component of civil society which has been present both in France and the United States ever since immigrants began arriving en masse. Theories about the rise and decline of civil society as well as generalizations about Franco-American differences need to be challenged by including immigration associations in a new Tocquevillian analysis of democracy in both countries.
This article discusses associative initiatives by two underprivileged sectors in Israel in the 1950s and 1960s: inhabitants of low-income neighborhoods on the fringes of Tel Aviv and Arab citizens living in towns and villages under supervision of the Military Administration. Based on varied archival sources comprised largely of letters and memoranda written by members of the associations, the study examines encounters that took place (usually in writing but sometimes face-to-face as well) between marginalized citizens and policymakers from the political (local or national) center. I contend that the effect of the associative initiatives should be viewed through the prism of the community’s sense of self-value and the civic skills that it imparts, regardless of the concrete attainment of goals. I argue that such an inquiry into voluntary associations, both formal (registered) and informal (non-registered), yields a more complex picture of the limited Israeli democracy of the country’s first two decades.
A Visual Study of the Persistence of “Terrorism”
Robert W. White
When considering “terrorists” and “terrorism,” the focus tends to be on violence—the threat of violence, its aftermath, the ideology and belief systems that lead to it, and so forth. Political violence, however, represents only a portion of the repertoire of collective action that is available to “terrorists.” Images from “dissident” Irish Republican events and photo-elicitation interviews with activists who participated in these events show that: (1) the repertoire of “violent” organizations includes nonviolent political activity; and (2) the organizational structures and affective incentives that sustain activism in nonviolent voluntary associations and social movement organizations also sustain activism in organizations that embrace physical force or “terrorism.” In combination, these findings show that “dissident” Irish Republicans are likely to persist into the foreseeable future. More generally, the findings also show that our understanding of “terrorists” and “terrorist organizations” will be enhanced if we focus less on their violent activities and more on their similarities with nonviolent activists and organizations.
Tocqueville's account of the role of voluntary associations in democracy is discussed in relation to the French government's repressive Law of 1834. The context was one of insurrection in Lyon and the regime of Louis Philippe, itself the product of an insurrection only a few years before, was particularly nervous about conspiratorial associations, which it attempted to ban with the law in question. Because Tocqueville opposed this law, he emphasized the virtues of political association in the text of Democracy in America and ignored certain problematic characteristics of the one association he used to exemplify his general argument, namely, the “free trade association” that convened in Philadelphia in 1831 to oppose the so-called Tariff of Abominations.
Relational Freedoms of Tanzanian Market-Women
This article offers a relational perspective on the discussion of obligations and freedoms in Kuria women's voluntary associations in Tanzania and explores the impacts of these activities on sociality and public spaces. The constitution of a successful businesswoman is dependent on her membership in various cooperative groups, and her new rights and freedoms reside in the ambiguity between her sovereignty and group belonging. Historically an important means for self-extension, cooperative work remains pertinent in regulating the impacts of new resources. Diverse mediators and conversions have played a key role in building the Kuria person, making available a range of transformative options and revealing the possibilities for mixed forms. It is suggested that an engagement between Melanesian and African perspectives on personhood can contribute to a dynamic and temporally situated study of a social construction of mutuality.
Holding Our Lives in Their Hands
Nancy L. Rosenblum
Neighbors inhabit a distinct social sphere. After we take account of organized political life, work, voluntary associations, social circles, friends, and family, there is this remainder. Its importance owes to the depth and intensity of interests
From Sanctuary to Resettlement
based nonprofit organizations, albeit with certain distinctive features, such as a commitment to worship and religious education.” Quoting Robert Putnam, they describe church congregations as voluntary associations that “provide an important incubator
State–Society Relations in Urban China and Beyond
greatly from the Western conceptualisation of the neighbourhood organisation as ‘a loose form of self-governing voluntary association’ ( Read 2012: 3 ). Describing the former as ‘extensions of the state’ and the latter as a non-state zone, Benjamin L. Read
Promises of Proximity as Articulated by Changing Moral Elites
of “help to self-help.” This meant that public relief should have a deterring and disciplining effect and essentially be reserved for the “undeserving” poor, while the “deserving” poor ought to be helped through voluntary associations. 38 While