The challenges for race and community in post-civil rights America: Comparative perspectives in contemporary literature, education, and practice.

Thesis


Hancock, Stuart 2017. The challenges for race and community in post-civil rights America: Comparative perspectives in contemporary literature, education, and practice. Thesis
AuthorsHancock, Stuart
Abstract

This thesis explores contemporary responses to visions of more inclusive and egalitarian forms of society, which have emerged in the post-civil rights era from South American intellectuals, new Latino/a voices, and African American scholars. These theories imagine a diverse society mutually respectful of cultural heritage, with new concepts of community and new configurations of social, economic and political power, wherein everyone has a voice and an equal opportunity. The ultimate dream is of a society which transcends the perceived divisions of race, gender, and class, and heralds the elimination of oppression. With these visions in mind, the research investigates both conceptual and practical work which seeks to unite different races and ethnicities who are discriminated against, and which promotes multiethnic, multiracial collective action to address shared forms of oppression or injustice. The exploration is multidisciplinary, using source material from three influential domains - popular fiction, education, and social and political justice activism. The interrogation uncovers contrasting perspectives on identity and community, differing perceptions of race and ethnicity, and competing agendas and strategies for social justice activism. Additionally, the emergence of a sizeable middle class within minority groups has created an unprecedented and complicating factor for social justice activism, overlaid upon the enduring racial and ethnic issues. The unique combination of contrasting material in different settings also adds another dimension and exposes disparities between theory and practice, disconnection between generations, and dislocation between classes, opening up opportunities for further research in such areas. Whilst the findings reveal diverse, integrated activism is being promoted by radical theorists, scholars, writers, and educators, and practised in a number of organisations, with some successful outcomes at local, and sometimes state and federal levels, this body of work is fragmented and does not have a unified or national profile. In contrast with these radical initiatives, the longstanding, national civil rights organisations, though welcoming diverse membership and actions, have a more liberal, accommodating, and non-confrontational approach, and have witnessed a general decline in progress in recent decades, with none of the landmark cases seen earlier. The substantial demographic changes over this period have yet to translate into radical, collective action across the perceived racial and ethnic divide on a large scale. The thesis therefore concludes with a contemplation of the challenges which lay ahead for social justice activism in America.

This thesis explores contemporary responses to visions of more inclusive and egalitarian forms of society, which have emerged in the post-civil rights era from South American intellectuals, new Latino/a voices, and African American scholars. These theories imagine a diverse society mutually respectful of cultural heritage, with new concepts of community and new configurations of social, economic and political power, wherein everyone has a voice and an equal opportunity. The ultimate dream is of a society which transcends the perceived divisions of race, gender, and class, and heralds the elimination of oppression. With these visions in mind, the research investigates both conceptual and practical work which seeks to unite different races and ethnicities who are discriminated against, and which promotes multiethnic, multiracial collective action to address shared forms of oppression or injustice. The exploration is multidisciplinary, using source material from three influential domains - popular fiction, education, and social and political justice activism.

The interrogation uncovers contrasting perspectives on identity and community, differing perceptions of race and ethnicity, and competing agendas and strategies for social justice activism. Additionally, the emergence of a sizeable middle class within minority groups has created an unprecedented and complicating factor for social justice activism, overlaid upon the enduring racial and ethnic issues. The unique combination of contrasting material in different settings also adds another dimension and exposes disparities between theory and practice, disconnection between generations, and dislocation between classes, opening up opportunities for further research in such areas. Whilst the findings reveal diverse, integrated activism is being promoted by radical theorists, scholars, writers, and educators, and practised in a number of organisations, with some successful outcomes at local, and sometimes state and federal levels, this body of work is fragmented and does not have a unified or national profile. In contrast with these radical initiatives, the longstanding, national civil rights organisations, though welcoming diverse membership and actions, have a more liberal, accommodating, and non-confrontational approach, and have witnessed a general decline in progress in recent decades, with none of the landmark cases seen earlier. The substantial demographic changes over this period have yet to translate into radical, collective action across the perceived racial and ethnic divide on a large scale. The thesis therefore concludes with a contemplation of the challenges which lay ahead for social justice activism in America.

KeywordsRace; Community; Diversity; Civil Rights; Social justice; Black Lives Matter; Hip-hop; Street literature; Pedagogy
Year2017
PublisherUniversity of Derby
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/622010
hdl:10545/622010
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Publication process dates
Deposited14 Dec 2017, 16:01
Publication dates2017
ContributorsUniversity of Derby
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