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The Dignity of Resistance
Women Residents' Activism in Chicago Public Housing

$40.99 (C)

Part of Environment and Behavior

Sheila Radford-Hill
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  • Date Published: October 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521596862

$ 40.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This comprehensive case study chronicles the four decade history of Chicago's Wentworth Gardens public housing residents' grassroots activism. It explores why and how the African-American women residents creatively and effectively engaged in organizing efforts to resist increasing government disinvestment in public housing and the threat of demolition. Through the inspirational voices of the activists, Roberta Feldman and Susan Stall challenge portrayals of public housing residents as passive and alienated victims of despair.

    • The only book that focuses on women residents' community based activism in public housing
    • Introduces a new, multi-disciplinary, theoretical framework to explicate women's grassroots resistance efforts
    • The book is a rich, longitudinal participant observation case study with an action research focus
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Reveals the inadequacy of public housing policy and the contradictory approaches that typically fail to take into consideration the needs and perspectives of low-income residents. All urban policy-makers should heed the many lessons embedded in this richly detailed study. The significance of The Dignity of Resistance lies not only in the richness of detail the authors provide, but also in the way the authors weave description, biographical narratives of the activists, and theoretical analysis throughout the chapters. Given the interdisciplinary approach, the book should be of interest to urban studies scholars, social geographers, sociologists, women's studies faculty, and social policy analysts as well as anyone advocating for the right of low-income residents to a decent quality of life." International Journal of Urban and Regional Research

    "The Dignity of Resistance presents a fascinating story of struggle and resistance....extremely well documented and contextualized. Each aspect that is discussed -- social, physical, or policy related -- is thoroughly situated with respect to historical antecedents. These ties make the study well grounded and easy to relate to other research on (public) housing, social thought, activism, and empowerment.....completely convincing." Journal of Planning Literature

    "Planners who work with public housing can avoid surprises by reading this book and acquainting themselves with some of the smart, determined people who live there." Planning Magazine

    "A story worth telling" Contemporary Psychology

    "...the authors have produced a solid piece of primary research that will be useful to researchers who study women's activism more broadly and women's grassroots activism specifically...This book is impressive in its exhaustive documentation. It would forma useful case study for courses in sociology, political science, and women's studies that attempt to unpack the dynamics of resistance." -Politics, Social Movements, and The State, Laura Suski, Dalhousie University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521596862
    • length: 410 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Foreword Sheila Radford-Hill
    Preface and acknowledgments
    Part I. Introduction:
    1. Struggle for homeplace
    Part II. Wentworth Gardens' Historic Context:
    2. US public housing policies: Wentworth Gardens' historic backdrop
    3. Memory of a better past, reality of the present: the impetus for resident activism
    Part III. Everyday Resistance in the Expanded Private Sphere:
    4. The community household: the foundation of everyday resistance
    5. The local advisory council (LAC): a site of women-centered organizing
    6. Women-centered leadership: a case study
    7. The appropriation of homeplace: organizing for the spatial resources to sustain everyday life
    Part IV. Transgressive Resistance in the Public Sphere:
    8. The White Sox Battle: protest and betrayal
    9. Linking legal action and economic development: tensions and strains
    10. Becoming resident managers: a bureaucratic quagmire
    Part V. Conclusions:
    11. Resistance in context

  • Authors

    Roberta M. Feldman, University of Illinois, Chicago
    Roberta M. Feldman is Professor of Architecture at the School of Architecture and the Co-Director of the City Design Center at the College of Architecture and the Arts, University of Illinois, Chicago.

    Susan Stall, Northeastern Illinois University
    Susan Stall is Chair of the Sociology Department and Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies at Northeastern Illinois University.


    Sheila Radford-Hill

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