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The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

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Marshall Ganz
Hauser Center, Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University

Course Description

“In democratic countries, knowledge of how to combine is the mother of all other forms of knowledge; on its progress depends that of all the others” (de Tocqueville, 1940).

Fulfilling the democratic promise of equity, inclusion, and accountability requires the participation of an “organized” citizenry with the power to articulate and assert its interests effectively. Unfortunately, in the United States, the concerns of many remain muted because of unequal and declining citizen participation. Elsewhere, new democracies struggle to create institutions to make effective citizen participation possible. Organizing is one way to confront these challenges by revitalizing old democratic institutions and creating new ones. In this course, students learn how to engage with social, economic, and political problems from an organizer's perspective ... and how to act to solve them.

In this course, we focus on how to build organizations through which people can turn their values into action—organizations concerned with “voice.” We ask three questions: Why do people organize? How does organizing work? How can you become a good organizer? By taking responsibility for their own organizing projects, students learn to become reflective practitioners, learning from data generated by their own experience. Students use an organizing praxis to learn to map power and interests, develop leadership, build relationships, motivate participation, devise strategy, and mobilize resources to create organizations and win campaigns. We emphasize principles common to community, electoral, union, and social movement organizing.

Although developed from organizer training sessions, this course was redesigned for students interested in bringing a democratic approach to policymaking, service provision, advocacy, or electoral politics. Although “real world” organizing experience helps, it is not required. Students with strong a commitment to the community, organization, or goals on behalf of which they are working will be most successful.

Required Reading

The five books required for this course are available for purchase at the COOP and the Divinity School Bookstore and on reserve at Kennedy School and Divinity School libraries.

Langer, E. (1990). Mindfulness. New York: Addison-Wesley.
Alinsky, S. (1960). Reveille for radicals. New York: Vintage.
Alinsky, S. (1971). Rules for radicals. New York: Random House.
Bobo, K., Kendall, J., & Max, S. (2000). Organizing for social change: A manual for activists. New York: Seven Locks.
Schattschneider, E. F. (1975). The semisovereign people. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, Brace, Janovich.

The other required readings can be found in the PAL-177 reading packet available for purchase at the Kennedy School Course Materials Office, copies of which are also on reserve at each library. Three recommended books can be purchased at the COOP:

Mondros, J. B., & Wilson, S. M. (1994) Organizing for power and empowerment. New York: Columbia University Press.
Warren, M. (2001). Dry bones rattling: Community building to revitalize American democracy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Guinier, L., & Torres, G. (2002). The miner's canary. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Course Requirements

Students base classwork on their experience leading an “organizing project” of their own choosing. You may initiate your own project or serve with one of various community or campus organizations. You may continue an existing project or start a new one. An organizing project requires mobilizing others to join you in achieving a clear outcome by the end of the semester. Projects require a minimum commitment of six hours/week.

  • Getting Started. The course is front-loaded to give students the opportunity to form relationships and acquire skills that will be useful in their organizing projects.
  • One-to-One Meetings. To facilitate the selection of organizing projects—and to begin getting to know you—students will meet one-to-one with a teaching fellow for 10 to 15 minutes during the first week of class.
  • Community Night. On Wednesday, February 11th, you are invited to a Community Night with representatives of organizations interested in hosting interns. Community Night begins at 7pm in Taubman ABC. Food will be provided.
  • Facilitator Training. To acquaint you with the skills of facilitating meetings that you will need in your project, you are required to attend a 1.5 hour facilitator training session on Thursday, February 19th from 4 to 5:30pm in Land Hall.
  • Action Skills Session. To acquaint you with a range of organizing skills useful in your projects, you are required to participate in a Saturday Skills Session on February 21st, from 9am to 3pm in Taubman ABC.

Class meets for 1.5 hours, twice a week for 13 weeks. You will learn to use an organizing praxis drawn from lectures and reading to reflect critically on your experience. Sessions alternate between discussion of new material and of student projects. You are required to attend all sessions, do the reading, and take an active part in discussions.

Reading is assigned only for the first class meeting each week (except for the first and last weeks of the course). Readings combine theory, practice, and history and averages 100 pages per week. An introductory paragraph to each week's readings focuses attention and prioritizes readings. My “organizing notes” introduce the readings, explain the charts, and offer a framework for discussion. Recommended readings are available for those who wish to pursue a topic more deeply and can be purchased as a separate reading packet.

Beginning the third week of class, students submit “reflection papers” of approximately two pages in which they analyze their experience of their own organizing project. At the end of each week's readings we pose questions to stimulate reflection. After the first two reflection papers—which are required—any two may be missed with no excuse, but the rest must be turned in. In section each week two students initiate discussion with brief presentations on their projects. Reflection papers are due both electronically and in hard copy by the beginning of section.

At midterm on Friday, March 26th, in lieu of a response paper that week, students will submit a 10-page midterm paper in which they argue why their project is and is not working. At the end of the term, on Friday, May 14th, students submit a 20-page final paper analyzing their organizing project. Students are evaluated not on whether their project is a “success,” but on their demonstrated ability to analyze what happened and why. Final grades are based on the following: class participation and weekly reflection (50%), the midterm progress report (20%), and final paper (30%).

Schedule of Classes

The following is the schedule of class meetings and reading assignments. The number of pages/week is indicated beside the date. Letters to the right of each reading indicate whether the focus is theoretical (T), practical (P), or historical (H).

Part I: Introduction to Organizing

Overview of Organizing (Week 1, 2/5) (132 pp.)

Welcome. Today we discuss our goals for this course, our strategy for achieving them, and the requirements. What Is Organizing summarizes our organizing praxis. Aristotle, Bellah, de Tocqueville, and Schattschneider help locate organizing within a broader context of democratic politics. McKinght and Alinsky distinguish between service provision and organizing. Gunier and Torres challenge us to look deeply at structural divisions such a race, class, and gender and how they interact with organizing. Woliver provides a snapshot of the mechanics of community organizing and Skocpol locates organizing in debates about civic engagement. The charts distinguish different ways in which people “combine.”

Marshall Ganz, What is organizing, 2002. (T)
Charts and Questions (T)
Aristotle, Politica, Book 1, Chapter 1–2 (pp. 1127–1130) (T)
Robert Bellah, et al., The good society, “Introduction: We live through institutions” (pp. 3–18) (T)
Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Volume II, Part II, Chapters 2–6 (pp. 506–517) (H/T)
E. E. Schattschneider, The semisovereign people: A realist's view of democracy in America, “Introduction” (pp. xii–xvii); “The contagiousness of conflict” (pp. 1–19) (T)
Saul Alinsky, Reveille for radicals, Chapter 1 (pp. 3–23) (P)
John McKnight, Services are bad for people (pp. 31–35) (T)
Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres, The miner's canary, “Political race and magical realism,” Chapter 1 (pp. 11–33) (T)
Laura R. Woliver, 1996, “Mobilizing and sustaining grassroots dissent,” Journal of Social Issues, 52(1), 139–151 (P)
Theda Skocpol, “The Tocqueville problem: Civic engagement in American democracy,” Social Science History, 4(4), Winter 1997 (pp. 455–477) (H)

The Organizing Tradition (Week 2, 2/10) (159+ pp.)

What is the organizing tradition? It has popular, civic, and religious roots, expressed in the U.S., for example, in the American Revolution or Civil Rights Movement. Similarly, Gandhi's vision of nonviolent organizing influenced the work of social change in Asia, Africa, North America, and Eastern Europe. Branch's excellent account of the Montgomery bus boycott shows how organizing actually works. In addition to the required reading, choose one among the starred (***) readings of interest to you and come to class prepared to discuss it. Articles on the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, Boston Youth Organizing Project, Harvard Living Wage Campaign, Service Employees International Union, Voice of the Faithful, and New Hampshire Dean Campaign illustrate recent local organizing efforts.

The Bible, Exodus, Chapter 2–6 (pp. 82–89) (H)
Robert Middlekauff, The glorious cause, Chapter 11, “Resolution” (pp. 221–239) (H)
Sidney Tarrow, Power in movement: Social movements, collective action and politics, Part I (pp. 31–61) (H)
Dennis Dalton, Gandhi, Chapter 4, “Civil disobedience: The salt satyagraha” (pp. 91–138) (H)
Taylor Branch, Parting the waters, Chapter 5, “The Montgomery bus boycott” (pp. 143–205) (H)
Mark Warren, Dry bones rattling, Chapter 2, “A theology of organizing” (pp. 40–70) (H)
Articles on GBIO, BYOP, Harvard Living Wage Campaign, SEIU, Voice of the Faithful, New Hampshire Dean Campaign
***Timothy Garton Ash, The Polish revolution: Solidarity 1980–82, Introduction, Chapter 1, “Inside the Lenin Shipyard” (pp. 1–67) (H)
***National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Economic justice for all: Pastoral letter of catholic social teaching and the US Economy, 1986 (pp. 32–63) (H)
***Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, Activists beyond borders: Advocacy networks in international politics, Chapter 1, “Introduction” (pp. 1–38) (H)
***Howard Spodek , “Review article: The self-employed women's association (SEWA) in India: Feminist, Gandhian power in development,” Economic Development and Cultural Change, 43(1), Oct. 1994 (pp. 193–202) (H)
***Clyde Wilcox, Onward Christian soldiers? Religious right in American politics, Chapter 1 (pp. 1–19) (H)

The Praxis of Organizing (Week 2, 2/12) (78 pp.)

We turn now to how we learn to become reflective practitioners or how to get the most out of your organizing project. Thich Nhat Hanh reflects on uses and abuses of theory in learning practice. Fiske and Taylor explain how we form theories, how they shape our learning, and how they inhibit learning. Langer challenges us to engage critically with our own theories. Kierkegaard reminds us that learning practice requires emotional resources, as well as cognitive and behavioral ones. Schon spells out the meaning of “reflective practice.” And Merriam explains related social science methods of participant observation.

Marshall Ganz, Notes on learning to organize, 2002 (T)
Questions About Pedagogy
Helpful Hint #1
Thich Nhat Hanh, Thundering silence: Sutra on knowing the better way to catch a snake, “The raft is not the shore” (pp. 30–33) (P)
Susan Fiske and Shelly E. Taylor, Social cognition, Chapter 6, “Social schemata” (pp. 139–142, 171–181) (T)
Ellen Langer, Mindfulness, Chapter 3, “The roots of mindlessness” (pp. 19–35); Chapter 4, “The costs of mindlessness” (pp. 43–55); Chapter 5, “The nature of mindfulness” (pp. 61–77); Chapter 7, “Creative uncertainty” (pp. 115–129) (P)
M. S. Kierkegaard, “When the knower has to apply knowledge” from “Thoughts on crucial situations in human life” in Parables of Kierkegaard, T. C. Oden, Editor (P)
Donald Schon, The reflexive practitioner, Chapter 2, “From technical rationality to reflection-in-action” (pp. 49–69) (T)
Optional: Sharan Merriam, Case study research in education, Chapter 6, “Being a careful observer” (pp. 87–103); Chapter 8, “The components of data analysis” (pp. 123–146); Chapter 10, “Dealing with validity, reliability, and ethics in case study research” (pp. 163–184) (P)

Part II: Why People Organize: Actors, Interests, and Power

Why People Organize: Actors, Values, and Interests (Week 3, 2/17) (74 pp.)

We begin by mapping the social world within which each organizing project unfolds. Who are the actors? What do they want? What resources do they have? Who are the leaders, the constituents, the opposition? What needs, values, and interests are in play? Alinsky challenges us to reflect on our reaction to words like interest and power. Alderfer offers us a way to think about our internal needs, Bruner locates the sources of our values in our cultures, and Weber explains how we turn them into interests—all of which D'Andrade integrates. Walker explains why groups with common interests may not act on them, while Guinier and Torres call attention to the political implications of how we understand our “interests.” Mondros and Wilson describe the actors in a typical organizing campaign.

Marshall Ganz, Notes on actors, values and interests, 2004
Charts and Questions
Saul Alinsky, Rules for radicals, “A word about words” (pp. 48–62) (P)
Clayton Alderfer, Existence, relatedness and growth, Chapter 2, “Theory” (p. 6–13) (T)
Jerome Bruner, Acts of meaning, excerpt, Chapter 1, “The proper study of man” (pp. 24–30) (T)
Max Weber, Economy and society, Volume I, “Types of social action” (pp. 24–26) (T)
Roy G. D'Andrade, Human motives and cultural models, Chapter 2, “Schemas and motivation” (pp. 23–44) (T)
Jack L. Walker, Jr., Mobilizing interest groups in America, Chapter 3, “Explaining the mobilization of interests” (pp. 41–55) (T)
Guinier and Torres, The miner's canary, Chapter 3, “Race as political space” (pp. 67–82) (T)
Mondros and Wilson, Organizing for power and empowerment, Chapter 1, “Social action organizations and power” (pp. 1–10) (T)

Section Discussion: Actors, Values, Interests (Week 3, 2/19)
Organizing Project Report Due
Reflection Paper #1 (Required): Actors, Values, Interests Map

Why People Organize: Actors, Resources, and Power (Week 4, 2/24) (102 pp.)

How do people get the power to act on their interests? The interplay of resources and interests among actors defines the power relations among them: independence, dependency, and domination, or interdependence. What resources does your constituency need to act on its interests? Who controls them? What are their interests? Emerson views power as relational, emergent from interactions among actors' interests and resources. Loomer and Miller argue these interactions can yield the “power with” others or the “power over” others that Gaventa and Stone urge we look for below the surface. Ho illustrates the relationship of “power to” and “power over.” Thucydides challenges us to consider the links between power and right. Use the “four questions to track down the power” to map the power relations in which your project is situated.

Marshall Ganz, Notes on actors, resources, power, 2004
Charts and Questions
Richard Emerson, “Power-dependence relations,” American Sociological Review, 27, 31–41 (T)
Bernard M. Loomer, 1976, “Two kinds of power,” The D. R. Sharpe Lecture on Social Ethics, October 29, 1975, Criterion, 15(1), 11–29 (T)
Jean Baker Miller, Women's growth in connection: Writings from the stone center, Chapter 11, “Women and power” (pp. 197–205) (T)
John Gaventa, Power and powerlessness: Quiescence and rebellion in an Appalachian valley, “Introduction” (pp. 3–32) (T)
Clarence Stone, Regime politics: Governing Atlanta, Chapter 11, “Rethinking community power: Social production vs. social control” (pp. 219–233) (T)
Mimi Ho, “Californians for justice,” NYU Review of Law and Social Change, 27, 38–43 (H)
Thucydides, The Peloponessian wars, Book V, Chapter 7, “The sixteenth year – the Melian dialogue” (pp. 400–408) (H)
Optional: Max Weber, “Class, status, and party” in From Max Weber: Essays in sociology, translated and edited by H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills, New York: Oxford University Press, 1946 (1920) (pp. 180–195)

Section Discussion: Actors, Resources, and Power (Week 4, 2/26)
Reflection Paper #2 (Required): Power Map
First Student Presentations in Thursday sections

Part III: How Organizing Works: Developing Leadership

How Organizing Works: Developing Leadership (Week 5, 3/2) (121 pp.)

Organizers mobilize communities by identifying, recruiting, and developing leaders within those communities. Where do leaders come from? How do we know one when we see one? What do they actually do? We build on Burns' view of leadership as a kind of relationship, as well as Heifetz's emphasis on adaptive learning. The selection from Exodus addresses the challenge of earning leadership by letting others earn it. Hackman focuses on providing effective leadership to team projects, while McCollom focuses on the specific role of leaders in forming groups. Freeman, Alinsky, King, and Robnett challenge our assumptions about leadership so we can learn to lead more effectively.

Marshall Ganz, Notes on leadership, 2004
Charts and Questions
Helpful Hint #2
James McGregor Burns, Leadership, Chapter 1, “The power of leadership” (p. 9–28); Chapter 2, “The structure of moral leadership” (pp. 29–46) (T)
Ronald Heifetz, Leadership without easy answers, “Values in leadership,” Chapter 1 (pp. 13–27) (T/P)
J. Richard Hackman, Leading teams: Setting the stage for great performances, Chapter 7, “Imperatives for leaders” (pp. 199–232) (T/P)
Marion McCollom, Groups in context: A new perspective on group dynamics, edited by Marion McCollum and Jonathon Gillette, Chapter 2, “Group formation: Boundaries, leadership and culture,” Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1995 (pp. 35–48) (T)
Jo Freeman, “The tyranny of structurelessness,” Berkeley Journal of Sociology, 1970, (pp. 1–8) (P)
Saul Alinsky, Reveille for radicals, Chapter 5, “Native leadership” (pp. 64–75) (P)
Dr. M. L. King, Jr., A Testament of hope, “The drum major instinct” (p. 259–267) (H)
The Bible, Exodus, Chapter 18 (H)
Optional: Belinda Robnett, “African-American women in the civil rights movement, 1954–1965: Gender, leadership and micromobilization,” American Journal of Sociology, 101(6), May 1996 (pp. 1661–1693) (T/H)

Section Discussion: Leadership (Week 5, 3/4)
Reflection Paper #3

Part IV: How Organizing Works: Relationships, Interpretation, Action

Organizations are woven from three threads drawn from the world within which they form: relationships, interpretation and action. Organizers reweave relationships to make new communities possible. Through processes of narrative and strategic deliberation they devise new interpretations of what needs to be done and why. And organizers produce action by mobilizing and deploying resources.

Mobilizing Relationships: Building Community (Week 6, 3/9) (105 pp.)

Organizers build relationships to construct a “community of interest,” a constituency. Through relationships we come to understand our interests and develop the resources to act on them. Gladwell explains the power of relational networks—with people “like us” and people not “like us”—in everyday life. Blau looks at relationships as exchange while Goffman views them as performances. Kearney and Bradt points to the role of our “stories” in entering into relationship with others. Eccles and Nohria distinguish face-to-face relationships from email. And Putnam shows how relationships can become resources—“social capital.” Rosin, Rondeau, Levy, and Simmons report how organizers do relational work. Bobo offers some hints on recruiting.

Marshall Ganz, Notes on relationships, 2004
Charts and Questions
Malcolm Gladwell, “Six degrees of Lois Weisberg,” in The New Yorker, January 11, 1999 (pp. 52–63) (T)
Peter M. Blau, Exchange and power in social life, “Introduction” (pp. 1–11) (T)
Erving Goffman, “On face-work: An analysis of ritual elements in social interaction,” in Interpersonal dynamics, edited by Bennis, et al. (pp. 175–189) (T)
Richard Kearney, On stories, “Where do stories come from” (pp. 3–4) (T)
Kevin Bradt, S .J., Story as a way of knowing, “From storying to printed text” (pp. 10–19) (T)
Robert Eccles and Nitin Nohria, Networks and organizations, “Face-to-face: Making network organizations work,” HBS (pp. 288–308) (T)
“People-powered: In New Hampshire, Howard Dean's campaign has energized voters,” Hanna Rosin, Washington Post, December 9, 2003, p. C01
Robert Putnam, Making democracy work, “Social capital and institutional success,” Chapter 6 (pp. 163–185) (T)
Kris Rondeau, “A woman's way of organizing,” Labor Research Review, 18 (pp. 45–59) (H/P)
Ian Simmons, “On one-to-ones,” in The next steps of organizing: Putting theory into action, Sociology 91r Seminar (pp. 12–15) 1998 (P)
Kim Bobo, et al., Organizing for social change, Chapter 10, “Recruiting” (pp. 110–117) (P)
Optional: Mark Granovetter, “The strength of weak ties,” American Sociological Review, 78(6) (pp. 1360–1379) (T)
Optional: Jim Rooney, Organizing the South Bronx, Chapter 6, “Relational organizing: Launching South Bronx churches” (pp. 105–18) (H)

Section Discussion: Relationships (Week 6, 3/11)
Reflection Paper #4

Mobilizing Interpretation I: Motivation, Story, Celebration (Week 7, 3/16) (136 pp.)

We reinterpret our world—and our roles within it—as we change it. As Bruner argues, we explain why we should act, our motivations, as our story, while we explain how we can act, our analysis, as our strategy. Fiske and Taylor explain how we come to “frame” our interpretations. Because how we feel about things shapes what we think of them and our ability to act on what we think, we focus first on links Jasper makes between emotions and action. Gamson focuses on the unique motivational hurdles in challenging authority and Chong identifies “prior conditions” that make movement participation “rational.” In the scene from Henry V, Shakespeare allows us to experience the link between emotion and action recognized by young King Henry. Kearney, Amsterdam, Bruner, and Davis offer overviews of how story “works,” combining insights from literature, philosophy, the law, psychology, and sociology. Peterson, a psychologist, shows how stories help us manage our emotions. Bradt, a theologian, focuses on how we link our story with that of another, one to one, and in grand narrative of a people. Gamson and I focus on story in organizing, Alinsky argues these stories are best drawn from community traditions, and Snow and Benford show how the framing of our stories matters. Reagan and Cuomo draw on distinct threads of the same tradition to tell contrasting stories about the U.S. in the early 1980s.

Marshall Ganz, Notes on interpretation I: Story, 2004 (P)
Charts and Questions
Jerome Bruner, Actual minds, possible worlds, Chapter 2, “Two modes of thought” (pp. 11–14) (T)
Susan Fiske and Shelly E. Taylor, Social cognition, Chapter 12, “Attitudes: Cognition and persuasion” (pp. 340–342, 344–349, 352–355, 359–368) (T)
Daniel Goleman, Working with emotional intelligence, Appendix 2, “Emotional intelligence” (pp. 317–318), Chapter 2, “Emotional competence” (pp. 24–28) (T/P)
Dennis Chong, Collective action and the civil rights movement, Chapter 5, “Creating the motivation to participate in collective action” (pp. 90–102), Chapter 8, “Strategies of collective action” (pp. 173–85) (T/H)
Richard Kearney, On stories, “Narrative matters,” Chapter 11 (pp. 129–144, 149–156) (T)
Joseph Davis, Stories of change: Narrative and social movements, “Narrative and social movements” (pp. 11–25) (T)
William Gamson, Talking politics, from “Collective action frames” (pp. 6–8) (P)
Jordon Peterson, Narrative chart, Figure 4, “Neuropsychology and mythology of motivation for group aggression,” Encyclopedia of violence, peace and conflict, Volume 2, 1999 (p. 542) (T)
William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act IV, Scene 3, “We happy few” (pp. 140–149) (H)
Marshall Ganz, from The power of story in social movements, unpublished paper (pp. 1–7) (H)
Saul Alinsky, Chapter 6, Reveille for radicals, “Community traditions and organizations” (pp. 76–88) (P)
Mario Cuomo, Two cities, Keynote address to Democratic National Convention, July 17, 1984 (11 pp.) (H)
Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address, January 20, 1981 (7 pp.) (H)
Optional: David Snow, et al., “Frame alignment processes, micromobilization, and movement participation,” American Sociological Review, 51, August 1986 (pp. 464–481) (T)

Section Discussion: Motivation (Week 7, 3/18)
Reflection Paper #5

Mobilizing Interpretation II: Analysis, Strategy, Deliberation (Week 8, 3/23) (121 pp.)

Strategy is how we turn what we have into what we need to get what we want. It is both analytic and imaginative, figuring out how we can use our resources to achieve our goals. We reflect on a “classic” tale of strategy recounted in the Book of Samuel: the story of David and Goliath, a tale that argues resourcefulness can compensate for lack of resources by developing “strategic capacity.” Mintzberg's view that strategy is a “verb” is drawn from business while Kahn's view comes from organizing. Alinsky and Bobo offer some how-to's for organizing strategy and tactics. Because effective deliberation can help good strategizing, DiMaggio explains deliberative thinking, while Freire focuses on the challenge of power in deliberation. Bobo spells out how to make deliberation work by holding good meetings.

Marshall Ganz, Notes on interpretation II: Strategy, 2004 (P)
Charts and Questions
Helpful Hint #3
The Bible, Book of Samuel, Chapter 17, verses 4–49 (H)
Henry Mintzberg, “Crafting strategy,” Harvard Business Review, July 1987 (pp. 66–74) (T)
Si Kahn, Organizing, Chapter 8 “Strategy” (pp. 155–174) (P)
Marshall Ganz, from “Why David sometimes wins: Strategic capacity in social movements” in Rethinking social movements (pp. 1–10) (T)
Marshall Ganz, “Resources and resourcefulness: Strategic capacity in the unionization of California agriculture, 1959–1966,” American Journal of Sociology, January 2000 (pp. 1003–1005; 1019–1044) (T/H)
Saul Alinsky, Reveille for radicals, Chapter 4, “The Program” (pp. 48–54) (P)
Paul DiMaggio, “Institution and agency” from “Culture and cognition” in Annual Review of Sociology, 1997 (pp. 268–72) (T)
Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the oppressed, Chapter 2 (pp. 57–74) (T)
Kim Bobo, Organizing for social change, Chapter 4, “Developing a strategy” (pp. 30–47); Chapter 5, “A guide to tactics” (pp. 48–61); Chapter 12, “Planning and facilitating meetings” (pp. 128–139) (P)

Section Discussion: Strategy (Week 8, 3/25)
No Reflection Paper due this week
Midterm due Friday, March 26 at 4pm by email or Hauser Center drop box

Mobilizing Resources: Action (Week 9, 4/6) (120 pp.)

Organizers mobilize and deploy resources to take action based on the commitment they can call forth from others. Some draw most of their resources from a single constituency, while others draw from multiple constituencies. Bobo suggests some grassroots ways to mobilize money. Some organizers deploy resources to provide services: others, to make claims. Oliver and Marwell link mobilizing resources to deploying them. Alinsky gives us a “feast” of action tactics, while Levy shows how to knit them together strategically. The Orange Hats case focuses on neighborhood self-help, Cold Anger on citywide claims-making, and the UFW on a national campaign. Read one of these two starred (***) items. McKenney shows how action can motivate further action. Gordon offers an example of how to combine services and claims-making in organizing new immigrants.

Marshall Ganz, Notes on action, 2002
Charts and Questions
Jacques Levy, Cesar Chavez, “Prologue” (pp. xxi–xxv) (H)
Pamela Oliver and Gerald Marwell, “Mobilizing technologies for collective action,” Chapter 11 (pp. 251–271), in Frontiers in social movement theory, edited by Morris and Mueller (T)
Kim Bobo, Organizing for social change, Chapter 7, “Designing actions,” (pp. 70–79); Chapter 21, “Grassroots fundraising” (pp. 276–286) (P)
Saul Alinsky, Rules for radicals, “Tactics” (pp. 126–136, 148–155, 158–161) (P)
Jacques Levy, Cesar Chavez: Autobiography of La Causa, “Boycott Grapes” (pp. 263–271) and “The miracle of the fast” (pp. 272–293) (H)
Ruth McKenney, Industrial valley, “The beginning” (pp. 25–32), “The first sit down,” (pp. 251–271) (H)
***Kennedy School Case C16-91-1034, Orange hats of fairlawn: A Washington D.C. neighborhood battles drugs (pp. 1–18) (H)
***Mary Beth Rogers, Cold anger, Chapter 11, “Leave them alone. They're Mexicans” (pp. 105–126) (H)
Optional: Jennifer Gordon, “We make the road by walking: Immigrant workers, the Workplace Project, and the struggle for social change,” Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, 30(2), Summer 1995 (pp. 407–450) (H)

Midpoint Check-In. Your midterm will be returned to you in this class with comments. The Teaching Fellows will schedule short check-ins to help you focus on your goals for the remainder of the semester.
Section Discussion: Action (Week 9, 4/6)
Reflection Paper #6

Part V: Communities in Action: Campaigns and Organizations

Communities in Action: Campaigns (Week 10, 4/13) (100 pp.)

Organizers conduct campaigns—rhythms of activity targeted on specific outcomes that are based on a foundation, begin with a “kickoff,” gather momentum, and culminate in a peak moment of mobilization when the campaign is won or lost. Gersick explains “rhythms” of organizational development. Sitkin argues the value of “intelligent” early failures. Choose two of the starred (***) accounts by Mandela, Chen, Medoff and Sklar, Halcli, or Meyerson to see how similar the temporal dynamics are of very different campaigns. Levy recounts how the farm workers' campaign “peaked” after five years. The “campaign planning packet” was used in organizing statewide grassroots electoral campaigns in California.

Marshall Ganz, Notes on campaigns, 2004
Charts and Questions
Connie Gersick, “Pacing strategic change: The case of a new venture,” Academy of Management Journal, February 1994 (pp. 9–14, 36–42) (T)
Sim Sitkin, “Learning through failure: The strategy of small losses,” Research in Organizational Behavior, 14, 1992, (pp. 231–266) (T)
Jacques Levy, Cesar Chavez: Autobiography of La Causa, Book IV, Book V, “Victory in the vineyards,” Chapters 6–14 (pp. 294–325) (H)
Marshall Ganz, Campaign planning packet (P)
***Nelson Mandela, Long walk to freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela, Chapter 14 (pp. 121–140) (H)
***Martha Chen, “Engendering world conferences: the international women's movement and the United Nations,” Third World Quarterly, 16(3), 1995 (pp. 477–491)
***Peter Medoff and Holly Sklar, Streets of hope, Chapter 3, “Don't dump on us: Organizing the neighborhood” (pp. 67–87) (H)
***Abigail Halcli, “AIDS, anger and activism, ACTUP as a SMO” in Waves of protest: Social movements since the sixties, edited by Jo Freeman and Victoria Johnson, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1999 (pp. 135–150) (H)
***Harold Meyerson, “A clean sweep,” The American Prospect, 11(15), June 19, 2000 (pp. 24–29) (H)

Section Discussion: Campaigns (Week 10, 4/15)
Reflection Paper #7

Communities in Action: Organizations (Week 11, 4/20) (100 pp.)

Mobilized communities can be structured as organizations. This requires facing the dilemmas of balancing unity and diversity, inclusion and exclusion, responsibility and participation, and leadership and accountability. Kahn focuses on the nuts and bolts of organization. Moreland is more theoretical, but offers specifics of how to enable a group to work together. Smith and Berg identify dilemmas that any organization must manage. Janis points to the danger “too much” unity can suppress needed dissent. And Warren addresses challenges of building organization across class, racial, and religious lines.

Marshall Ganz, Notes on organizations, 2004
Charts and Questions
Si Kahn, Organizing, Chapter 3, “Organizations” (pp. 55–77) (P)
Richard L. Moreland, “The formation of small groups,” in Group processes, edited by C. Kendrick, 1987 (pp. 80–105) (T/P)
Kenwyn Smith and David Berg, “A paradoxical conception of group dynamics,” Human Relations, 40(10), 1987 (pp. 633–54) (T)
Irving Janis, “Groupthink,” in Perspectives on behavior in organizations, edited by J. R. Hackman, 1983 (pp. 378–384) (T)
J. Richard Hackman, A general model of group development” (1-page chart) (T/P)
Mark Warren, Dry bones rattling, from “Four, bridging communities across racial lines” (pp. 98–100; 114–123) and “Five, deepening multiracial collaboration” (pp. 124–132; 152–155) (H)

Section Discussion: Organizations (Week 11, 4/22)
Reflection Paper #8

Part VI: Becoming a Good Organizer (Week 12, 4/27) (120 pp.)

This week we reflect on organizing as a craft, art, and vocation: why do it, what makes us good at it, what about the rest of our lives, and how can we continue to grow. Heifetz discusses the challenge of accepting responsibility for leadership. Langer reflects on how to work “mindfully.” Addams, Chavez, Alinsky, and Mandela describe how they came to terms with these challenges. Coles discusses some personal and political consequences of responding to the “call to service.”

Ronald Heifetz, Leadership without easy answers, Chapter 11, “The personal challenge” (pp. 250–271) (P)
Ellen Langer, Mindfulness, Chapter 8, “Mindfulness on the job” (pp. 133–148) (P)
Jane Addams, Twenty years at Hull House, Chapters 4–5 (pp. 60–89) (P)
Cesar Chavez, “The organizer's tale,” Ramparts Magazine, July 1966 (pp. 43–50) (P)
Saul Alinsky, Rules for radicals, “The education of the organizer” (pp. 63–80) (P)
Nelson Mandela, 1994 inaugural speech, excerpt (H)
Robert Coles, The call of service, Chapter 8, “Consequences” (pp. 254–284) (P)
Optional: Mondros and Wilson, Organizing for power and empowerment, Chapter 2, “The organizers” (pp. 11–35) (P)

Section Discussion: Becoming a Good Organizer (Week 12, 4/29)
Reflection Paper #9 (Required)

Part VII: Conclusion

Where Do We Go From Here? (Week 13, 5/4) (189 pp.)

So what does organizing contribute to public life? We begin with Alinsky's call for broader participation in democratic governance—as timely now as when it was written in 1946. Putnam, Skocpol, Grieder, Weir, and I argue a need for greater participation. Judis describes a world of advocacy without participants, while Reed describes his organizing successes. Keck and Sikkink point to the promise of transnational social movement organizing. Barber argues corporate scandals are due to a “failure of democracy” while Skocpol suggests future directions.

Alinsky, Reveille for radicals, Chapter 11 (pp. 190–204) (P)
Robert Putnam, “Bowling alone, revisited,” The responsive community, Center for Policy Research, Spring 1995 (pp. 18–33) (H)
Theda Skocpol, “Unraveling from above,” The American Prospect, March 1996 (pp. 20–25) (H)
Margaret Weir and Marshall Ganz, “Reconnecting people and politics,” in The new majority: Toward a popular progressive politics (pp. 149–171) (H)
Ralph Reed, Politically incorrect, Chapter 13, “Miracle at the grassroots” (pp. 189–202); Chapter 17, “What is right about America: How you can make a difference” (pp. 249–267) (H)
William Greider, Who will tell the people?, Chapter 10, “Democratic promise” (pp. 222–241) (H)
John B. Judis, “The pressure elite: Inside the narrow world of advocacy group politics,” The American Prospect, 9, Spring 1992 (pp. 15–29) (H)
Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, Activists beyond borders, Chapter 6, “Conclusions” (pp. 199–217) (T)
Benjamin Barber, “Failure of democracy,” New York Times, 2002 (H)
Theda Skocpol, Diminished democracy: From membership to management in American civic life, Chapter 7, “Reinventing American civic democracy” (pp. 254–293)

Conclusion (Week 13, 5/6)

Today we hear from everyone about what they have learned from their participation in the course. What have we learned about ourselves as observers, organizers? What have we learned about organizing? How well did we meet goals we set at the beginning of the semester? What's next?

Recommended Reading

Mondros, J. B., & Wilson, S. M. (1994). Organizing for power and empowerment. New York: Columbia University Press.

Warren, M. (2001). Dry bones rattling: Community building to revitalize American democracy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Guinier, L., & Torres, G. (2002) The miner's canary. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Lifetime Reading

The following are accounts of organizing campaigns in a variety of settings recommended as background reading for those with particular areas of interest—or as a lifetime reading list.

Smith, J., Charles, C., & Pagnucco, R. (Eds.). (1997). Transnational social movements and global politics: Solidarity beyond the state [Syracuse Studies on Peace and Conflict Resolution]. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Batistiana, M. B. S., & Murphy, D. (1996). Rural community organizing in the Philippines. Quezon City: Cotrain.

Risse-Kappen, T. (Ed.). (1995). Bringing transnational relations back in: Non-state actors, domestic structures and international institutions [Cambridge Studies in International Relations]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kreisi, H., Koopmans, R., Dyvendak, J. W., & Giugni, M. G. (1995). New social movements in Western Europe. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Lopa, M. (1995). Singing the same song: Reflections of two generations of NGO workers in the Philippines. ANGOC.

Mandela, N. (1994). Long walk to freedom: An autobiography of Nelson Mandela. London: Abacus.

Dalton, D. (1993). Mahatma Gandhi: Nonviolent power in action. New York: Columbia University Press.

Laba, R. (1991). The roots of solidarity: A political sociology of Poland's working class democratization. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Goodwyn, L. (1991). Breaking the barrier: The rise of solidarity in Poland. New York: Oxford University Press.

Scott, J. C. (1990). Domination and the arts of resistance: Hidden transcripts. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Ash, T. G. (1983). The Polish revolution: Solidarity 1980–82. London: Jonathan Cape.

Gandhi, M. (1957). Autobiography. Boston: Beacon Press.

Labor Movement/Populism
Bronfenbrenner, K., Friedman, S., Hurd, R. W., Oswald, R. A., & Seeber, R. L. (Eds.) (1998). Organizing to win: New research on union strategies. Ithaca, NY: ILR Press.

Milkman, R. (Ed). (2000). Organizing immigrants: The challenge for unions in contemporary California. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Zieger, R. (1995). The CIO, 1935–1955. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Geoghegan, T. (1991). Which side are you on: Trying to be for labor when it's flat on it's back. New York: Plume.

Cohen, L. (1990). Making a new deal. London: Cambridge University Press.

Goodwyn, L. (1978). The populist moment. New York: Oxford University Press.

Dubovsky, M., & Van Tine, W. (1977). John L. Lewis, A biography. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

McKenney, R. (1939). Industrial valley. New York: Greenwood Press.

Steinbeck, J. (1937). In dubious battle. New York: Blue Ribbon Books.

Civil Rights Movements
Branch, T. (1999). Pillar of fire: America in the King years, 1963–65. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Wood, D. (Ed.). (1999). Friends and family: True stories of gay America's straight allies. Los Angeles: Alyson.

Halberstam, D. (1998). The children. New York: Random House.

Lewis, J. (1998). Walking with the wind: A memoir of the movement. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Dittmer, J. (1995). Local people: The struggle for civil rights in Mississippi. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Payne, C. (1995). I've got the light of freedom: The organizing tradition and the Mississippi freedom struggle. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Skerry, P. (1993). Mexican Americans: The ambivalent minority. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Takaki, R. (1989). Strangers from a different shore: A history of Asian Americans. New York: Penguin.

Branch, T. (1988). Parting the waters: America in the King years, 1954–63. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Shilts, R. (1987). And the band played on: Politics, people and the AIDS epidemic. New York: Penguin.

Morris, A. (1984). Origins of the civil rights movement: Black communities organizing for change. New York: Free Press.

McAdam, D. (1982). Political process and the development of black insurgency, 1930–1980. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Guinier, L., & Torres, G. (2002). The miner's canary: Enlisting race, resisting power, transforming democracy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Political Movements
Skocpol, T. (2003). Diminished democracy: From membership to management in American civic life. Norman: Oklahoma University Press.

Skocpol, T., & Fiorina, M. P. (Eds.). (1999). Civic engagement in American democracy. Washington, DC: Russel Sage.

Clemens, E. (1997). The people's lobby: Organizational innovation and the rise of interest group politics in the United States, 1890–1925. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Reed, R. (1994). Politically incorrect: The emerging faith factor in American politics. Dallas, TX: Word Publishing.

Hertzke, A. (1993). Echoes of discontent. Washington: CQ Press.

Gitlin, T. (1989). The sixties. New York: Bantam Books.

Klatch, R. E. (1987). Women of the new right. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Crawford, A. (1980). Thunder on the right. New York: Pantheon.

Women's Movements
Katzenstein, M. F. (1998). Faithful and fearless: Moving feminist protest inside the church and military. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Feree, M. M. (1994). Controversy and coalition: New feminist movement. New York: Maxwell Macmillan International.

Katzenstein, M. F., & Mueller, C. M. (1987). The women's movements of the United States and Western Europe. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Mansbridge, J. (1986). Why we lost the ERA. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Luker, K. (1984). Abortion and the politics of motherhood. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Gelb, J., & Palley, M. L. (1982). Women and public policies. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Evans, S. (1980). Personal politics. New York: Vintage.

Environmental Movements
Dowie, M. (1995). Losing ground: American environmentalism at the close of the 20th century. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Gottlieb, R. (1993). Forcing the spring: The transformation of the American environmental movement. Washington: Island Press.

Dunlap, R., & Mertig, A. G. (1992). American environmentalism: The U.S. environmental movement, 1970–1990. Philadelphia: Taylor & Francis.

Neighborhood Organizing
Medoff, P., & Sklar, H. (1994). Streets of hope. Boston: South End Press.

Fisher, R. (1994). Let the people decide: Neighborhood organizing in America. New York: Macmillan.

Horwitt, S. (1989). Let them call me rebel: Saul Alinsky. New York: Knopf.

Faith-Based Organizing
Gecan, M. (2002). Going public. Boston: Beacon Press.

Osterman, P. (2003). Gathering power: The future of progressive politics in America. Boston: Beacon Press.

Rooney, J. (1995). Organizing the South Bronx. New York: State University of New York.

Rowbotham, S., & Mitter, S. (1995). Dignity and daily bread. New York: Routledge.

Robinson, B., & Hanna, M. G. (1994). Lessons for academics from community organizing: A case study – The Industrial Areas Foundation. Journal of Community Practice, 1(4), 63–94.

Freedman, S. G. (1993). Upon this rock: The miracles of a black church. New York: Harper Collins.

Rogers, M. B. (1990). Cold anger: A story of faith and power politics. Denton: University of North Texas Press.

National Conference of Catholic Bishops. (1986). Economic justice for all: Pastoral letter of Catholic social teaching and the U.S. economy. Washington, DC: U.S. Catholic Conference.

Pierce, G. F. A. (1984). Activism that makes sense: Congregations and community organization. Chicago: Acta Publications.

Books About Boston
MacLeod, J. (1995). Ain't no makin' it: Aspirations and attainment in a low income neighborhood. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

O'Connor, T. J. (1993). Building a new Boston. Boston: Northeastern Press.

Levine, H. (1992). Death of an American Jewish community: A tragedy of good intentions. New York: Free Press.

Lukas, J. A. (1986). Common ground: A turbulent decade in the lives of three American families. New York: Vintage Books.

Gans, H. (1982). The urban villagers: Group and class in the life of Italian Americans. New York: Free Press.

King, M. (1981). Chains of change. Boston: South End.

Organizing in General
Freeman, J., & Johnson, V. (Eds.). (1999). Waves of protest: Social movements since the sixties. Lanham, MD: Rowland and Littlefield.

Langer, E. J. (1997). The power of mindful learning. New York: Addison-Wesley.

McAdam, D., McCarthy, J. D., & Zald, M. N. (Eds.) (1996). Comparative perspective on social movement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Johnston, H., & Klandermans, B. (Eds.) (1995). Social movements and culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Mondros, J. B., & Wilson, S. M. (1994). Organizing for power and empowerment. New York: Columbia University Press.

Gamson, W. (1990). The strategy of social protest. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing.

Gamson, W. A., Fireman, B., & Rytina, S. (1982). Encounters with unjust authority. Homewood, IL: The Dorsey Press.

Bobo, K., Kendall, J., & Max, S. (1996). Organizing for social change: A manual for activists in the 1990s. Washington, DC: Seven Locks.

Bartlett, J. W. (Ed). (1996). The future is ours: A handbook for students activists in the 21st century. New York: Henry Holt & Co.

Pierce, G. F. A. (1984). Activism that makes sense: Congregations and community organization. Chicago: Acta Publications.

Kahn, S. (1982). Organizing: A guide for grass roots leaders. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Industrial Areas Foundation Materials

AFL-CIO Organizing Institute Materials

Campaign Materials

Some Films
Ford. (1940). Grapes of wrath [Motion picture].
Capra. (1941). Meet John Doe.
Bibberman. (1953). Salt of the earth [Motion picture].
Monicelli. (1963). The organizer [Motion picture].
National Film Board of Canada. (1967). Encounter with Saul Alinsky [Motion picture].
National Film Board of Canada. (1968). Saul Alinsky went to war [Motion picture].
Pontecorvo. (1969). Burn [Motion picture].
Jewison. (1978). FIST [Motion picture].
Ritt. (1979). Norma Rae [Motion picture].
Nillson. (1979). Northern lights [Motion picture].
Attenborough. (1982). Gandhi [Motion picture].
Epstein and Schmiechen. (1984). The life and times of Harvey Milk [Motion picture].
Hudson. (1985) Revolution [Motion picture].
Blackside. (1986). Eyes on the prize [Motion picture].
Sayles. (1987). Matewan [Motion picture].
Dudley Street. (1994). Streets of hope [Motion picture].
Fields. (1994). Freedom on my mind [Motion picture].
Radford. (1995). Il postino [Motion picture].
Paradigm. (1997). The fight in the fields [Motion picture].
Duvall, R. (1998). The apostle [Motion picture].
PBS. (1999). The democratic promise: Saul Alinsky and his legacy [Motion picture].
Loach, K. (2000). Bread and roses [Motion picture].
PBS. (2000). A force more powerful [Motion picture].

Free. Available online only.

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