Drawing New Symbolic Boundaries over Old Social Boundaries: Forging Social Movement Unity in Congregation-Based Community Organizing

  title={Drawing New Symbolic Boundaries over Old Social Boundaries: Forging Social Movement Unity in Congregation-Based Community Organizing},
  author={Heidi J. Swarts},
  journal={Sociological Perspectives},
  pages={453 - 477}
  • Heidi J. Swarts
  • Published 1 September 2011
  • Sociology
  • Sociological Perspectives
This article examines symbolic boundary work in congregation-based community organizing (CBCO), likely the most economically, racially, and religiously diverse left-of-center American social movement. Major studies examine how symbolic boundaries reproduce such social boundaries as race, class, and gender. In contrast, this article examines the microprocesses by which CBCO draws new symbolic boundaries over existing social boundaries within their groups. The author claims that boundary work is… 

Tables from this paper

Making Structural Change with Relational Power: A Gender Analysis of Faith-Based Community Organizing
This article presents research on faith-based community organizing in the US to examine how congregation members engage in structural change efforts related to marginalized populations. Examining the
Social Movements and Bridge Building: Religious and Sexual Identity Conflicts
Abstract Social movement scholars have increasingly drawn attention to the process of “bridge building” in social movements – that is, the process by which activists attempt to resolve conflicts
Boundary Blurring as Collective Identity Formation? The Case of the Left-wing Islamists in Turkey
  • Mustafa Yavas
  • Sociology
    Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
  • 2019
How do heretical social movements build and negotiate their collective identities? This chapter tackles this question by examining the case of an emerging social movement, the left-wing Islamists in
From the Outside In: Crossing Boundaries to Build Collective Identity in the New Atheist Movement
This article presents an analysis of collective identity formation within an organization that is part of the new atheist movement to illuminate how a nascent social movement organization
“I Want to Reclaim Christianity”: Boundary Work among Inclusive Christians
ABSTRACT Members of religious groups in the United States engage in boundary work to maintain distinct identities, but we know little about how inclusive Christians navigate the exclusionary aspects
Building a collective moral imaginary: Personalist culture and social performance in faith-based community organizing
This study draws on theories of personalist culture and social performance to explain why organizations in the field of faith-based community organizing are able to effectively engage people in
Prophets of Resistance: Social Justice Activists Contesting Comfortable Church Culture
Religious social justice activist groups strive to develop cultural commitments for sustained activism within congregations. Existing research explains the political and organizational challenges
A Movement’s Legacy: Southern Echo and the Continued Struggle for Racial Justice in the Delta
Recent research has complicated popular understandings of the civil rights movement, calling into question its timeline, key players, and biggest victories. Scholars have highlighted the role of
Community organizing: Studying the development and exercise of grassroots power.
Findings from studies designed to increase understanding of community organizing processes and produce actionable knowledge that can enhance these and other similar efforts to create more equitable and just cities and regions are reported.
Channeling Power Across Ecological Systems: Social Regularities in Community Organizing
It is proposed that networks of relationships between individuals constitute the connective spaces between ecological systems and can be conceptualized as cross-system channels through which micro-level empowerment processes feed into macro-level exercise of social recommendations for theory and designpower, and vice versa.


Cultivating differences : symbolic boundaries and the making of inequality
How are boundaries created between groups in society? And what do these boundaries have to do with social inequality? In this pioneering collection of original essays, a group of leading scholars
The Study of Boundaries in the Social Sciences
In recent years, the concept of boundaries has been at the center of influential research agendas in anthropology, history, political science, social psychology, and sociology. This article surveys
The cultural territories of race : black and white boundaries
Even as America becomes more multiracial, the black-white divide remains central to understanding many patterns and tensions in contemporary society. Since the 1960s, however, social scientists
Social Movements and Organization Theory and Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America
Social Movements and Organization Theory. Edited by Gerald F. Davis, Doug McAdam, Richard Scott, and Mayer N. Zald. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 452p. $80.00 cloth, $36.99 paper.
Ideology and the Clamshell Identity: Organizational Dilemmas in the Anti-Nuclear Power Movement
This ethnographic study examines the role of ideology in the development of organizational dilemmas in the Clamshell Alliance, an anti-nuclear protest group active in New England during the late
Celebration and Suppression: The Strategic Uses of Identity by the Lesbian and Gay Movement1
Critics of identity politics decry the celebration of difference within identity movements, yet many activists underscore their similarities to, rather than differences from, the majority. This
The Art of Moral Protest: Culture, Biography, and Creativity in Social Movements
Protest has become an everyday part of modern societies, one of the few recognized outlets for voicing and discussing basic moral commitments. Protest movements shape our thinking about social change
We Are Not What We Seem: Black Nationalism and Class Struggle in the American Century
An "Indispensable" Book of The Black World Today website Much has been written about the Black Power movement in the United States. Most of this work, however, tends to focus on the personalities of
Money, Morals and Manners: The Culture of the French and American Upper- Middle Class.
Drawing on remarkably frank, in-depth interviews with 160 successful men in the United States and France, Michele Lamont provides a rare and revealing collective portrait of the upper-middle
Cold Anger: A Story of Faith and Power Politics
"Cold Anger is an important book about the empowerment of working-class communities through church-based social activism. Such activism is certainly not new, but the conscious merger of community