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  • Author: Michèle Lamont, Christopher Bail
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This article offers a framework for analyzing variations in how members of stigmatized ethnoracial groups establish equivalence with dominant groups through the comparative study of “equalization strategies.” Whereas extant scholarship on anti-racism has focused on the struggle of social movements against institutional and political exclusion and social justice, we are concerned with the “everyday” anti-racist strategies deployed by members of stigmatized groups. We seek to compare how these strategies vary according to the permeability of inter-group boundaries. The first section defines our research problem and the second section locates our agenda within the current literature. The third section sketches an empirical context for the comparative analysis of equalization strategies across four cases: Palestinian citizens of Israel, Catholics in Northern Ireland, blacks in Brazil, and Québécois in Canada. Whereas the first two cases are examples of ethnic conflict where group boundaries are tightly policed, the second cases exemplify more permeable boundaries. We conclude by offering tentative hypotheses about the relationship between the permeability of inter-group boundaries and the salience and range of equalization strategies used by members of stigmatized ethno-racial groups to establish equivalence with their counterparts in dominant majority groups.
  • Topic: Civil Society
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Middle East, Canada, Israel, Brazil, South America, North Ireland
  • Author: Bo Rothstein, Eric M. Uslaner
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The importance of social trust has become widely accepted in the social sciences. A number of explanations have been put forward for the stark variation in social trust among countries. Among these, participation in voluntary associations received most attention. Yet, there is scant evidence that participation can lead to trust. In this paper, we shall examine a variable that has not gotten the attention we think it deserves in the discussion about the sources of generalized trust, namely equality. We conceptualize equality in two dimensions: one is economic equality and the other is equality of opportunity. The omission of both these dimensions of equality in the social capital literature is peculiar for several reasons. One is that it is obvious that the countries that score highest on social trust also rank highest on economic equality, namely the Nordic countries, the Netherlands, and Canada. Secondly, these are countries that have put a lot of effort in creating equality of opportunity, not least in regard to their policies for public education, labor market opportunities and (more recently) gender equality. The argument for increasing social trust by reducing inequality has largely been ignored in the policy debates about social trust. Social capital research has to a large extent been used by several governments and policy organizations to send a message to people that the bad things in their society are caused by too little volunteering. The policy implication that follows from our research is that the low levels of trust and social capital that plague many countries are caused by too little government action to reduce inequality. However, many countries plagued by low levels of social trust and social capital may be stuck in what is known as a social trap. The logic of such a situation is the following. Social trust will not increase because massive social inequality prevails, but the public policies that could remedy this situation cannot be established precisely because there is a genuine lack of trust. This lack of trust concerns both “other people” and the government institutions that are needed to implement universal policies.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe, Canada, Netherlands