Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Rusty Gardens: Stigma and the Making of a New Place Reputation in Buffalo, New York American Journal of Cultural Sociology

Abstract: This article develops a conceptual framework to explain how local actors engage in grassroots reputational making activities to separate themselves, their homes, and their city from stigmas that mark places with bad reputations, and how these reputational making activities become institutionalized in urban regeneration practices. Through a case study that draws from field notes and 36 in-depth interviews in Buffalo, New York, this paper examines how ordinary residents mobilized through garden tourism to make a new place reputation in relation to the Rust Belt stigma. Residents mobilized through one of two cultural frames: reputational reframing or reputational expansion. Reputational reframing is the discourses, narratives, and social activities geared toward changing an existing place’s reputation in relation to external stigmas. Reputational expansion is the discourses, narratives, and social activities geared toward diversifying or seeking inclusion into the emerging place reputation. The extent that local actors use reputational expansion was conditioned on the degree of their perceived success of reputational reframing. This study has broader implications on how place reputations matter in the debates over urban regeneration in ordinary American cities.

The Wicked Problem of the Student Loan: Race and the State’s Obligation to Lend in Student Debt as a Wicked Problem, Edited by Nicholas Hartlep. New York: DIO Press

Abstract: The student loan sits at the nexus of neoliberal reforms in higher education. This chapter addresses the role of race in driving neoliberal reforms in bankruptcy laws and student lending practice in the late 1990s and 2000s. In exchange for opening access to higher education to racial and ethnic minorities, the state ceded its obligation to fund higher education and embraced its obligation to lend. This shift from the state’s obligation to fund to the state’s obligation to loan was made possible because white-private citizenship changed the meaning of debt and, by extension, the obligation between the student loan debtor and the state as the creditor.

Unruly Bodies: Figurative Violence and the State’s Response to the Black Panther Party The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Body and Embodiment. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Abstract: This chapter outlines a methodological approach to studying the body and embodiment in political and historical sociology. The advantage of incorporating the body into the study of political and historical sociology is that it captures how the body exerts causal effects on political outcomes. In particular, it will show how embodiment explains (1) the importance of affect on the formation of political knowledge, (2) how bodies produce meanings independent of their original construct and persist after the social group dissolves, and (3) a specific connection point between mobilization and the state response to the social movement. To illustrate, this chapter shows how the racially threatening embodied performance was both vital to the Black Panther Party’s success and served as the focal point for elite white and state actors to mobilize against racial equality in the post–civil rights era.

The Color of Neoliberalism: The “Modern Southern Businessman” and Postwar Alabama’s Challenge to Desegregation Sociological Forum 

Abstract: Prior research on the origins and diffusion of the neoliberal project have emphasized the role of elite economists, yet no explanations have been provided as to why neoliberal reforms were attractive to the broader U.S. population. To fill this gap in the literature, this article focuses on the voluntary sector struggles against desegregation and corporate taxation in postwar Alabama. I examine the emergence of a language of privatization that degraded all things public as “black” and inferior and all things private as “white” and superior, which provided the pretext to attract national white support for the neoliberal turn. Empirically, the article focuses on the construction of the modern southern businessman that emerged from struggles to economically modernize the South, and the construction of a publicly financed private school system that emerged from the struggles to fight school desegregation. These two struggles fused under the George Wallace political umbrella, whose regional and national political career diffused the racial language from its origins in 1950s Alabama to the national level in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Politics, Social Movements and the Body Sociology Compass 

Abstract: This paper outlines a conceptual idea of the ‘body’ in social movement research that captures how the body is both the materialization of civic culture and empowering agent of change. After critically reviewing the three main debates on the body literature –‘biopolitics’, ‘embodiment’ and ‘feminism’– I explain why each fails to provide an adequate account of the embodied self in social movements. I suggest combining the concepts of ‘performativity. and ‘performance’ to capture how social movements use, challenge, and reproduce civic norms to construct ‘embodied performances’ as forms of symbolic communication for the purposes of stimulating cultural and political change. By combining the two concepts, I will put forth an theory of the body in social movements that addresses: 1) the constraints of normative civic ethics that limit possible forms of struggle as well as foreshadow political consequences 2) how embodied performances create community and solidarity within a heterogeneous population to make mobilization possible and 3) the stratification and sometimes fracturing of social groups during the social movement process.

The Rise of the New South Governmentality: Competing Southern Revitalization Projects and Police Responses to the Black Civil Rights Movement, 1961-1965 Journal of Historical Sociology

Abstract: This article examines the southern response to the civil rights movement and its relationship to the broader struggle for southern influence and control. Drawing from governmentality studies and the concept of “security”, I trace the correlation of two competing southern revitalization projects with distinct southern policing styles to consider the importance of normative political cultures, rather than the instrumental and immediate political outcomes of each local movement, on the southern response to the civil rights movement. Despite the development of new south police practices that curtained civil rights protest and produced a politically modern and racially tolerant idealized new south image, the old south project, in its failures, gained influence on the county, statewide, and regional levels. Although the conflicting revitalization projects differed in their objectives, the linkages between them set the stage for subsequent southern revitalization and development that started in the 1970s.

The Body and Citizenship in Social Movement Research: Embodied Performances and the Deracialized Self in the Black Civil Rights Movement, 1961-1965 The Sociological Quarterly

Abstract: In political and cultural theory, the body has been central to our understandings of political power, yet, the body remains absent in social movement research. This article examines the role of the body in social movements, focusing on how social movements shape bodily postures and techniques of affective self-mastery to represent idealized citizenship. Based on archival data and the concepts of performativity and performance, I use the cases of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Citizenship Schools and Role-Playing Simulations and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s Community Centers to show how the deracialized body was materialization of liberal civic culture that sought to: (1) severe identification with the racial group in favor of identifying with an idealized national identity; and (2) change what counts as good citizenship to change who counts as good citizens. I analyze the movement’s pedagogy focusing on the ritualized repetition of embodied movements that deracialized the black political body by embedding idealized citizenship into bodily postures, which increased the probability for a successful performance. Although the deracialized body was vital to the passage of the national legislation, it served to hide geographical and economic differences within the black population, producing the false correlation of national policy change with local change.

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