Oppression and Resistance: Volume 48

Cover of Oppression and Resistance

Structure, Agency, Transformation

Subject:

Table of contents

(13 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xiii
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Abstract

This study addresses resistance and its potential to achieve social justice. Discussion of oppression begins the essay, clarifying the concepts of structure, agency, and the interaction between the two. Next, class exploitation, white supremacy, male supremacy, and epistemological imperialism illustrate forms of oppression. Epistemological emancipation and resistance elucidate agency. A conclusion summarizes the argument that a structure-and-agency perspective best conceptualizes forms of oppression and resistance.

Abstract

This chapter presents an investigation of the sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church through the lens of stigmatization for the purpose of elaborating the theory, making it more widely applicable across multiples levels of analysis. Much like individuals, organizations must engage in information management in order to conceal discrediting information that would blemish their reputation. Given the number of people who comprise an organization, such secrecy relies on teamwork in order to contain damaging information. Based on an analysis of investigative journalist accounts of the scandal between 1985 and 2014, I present a typology representing the system of organizational secrecy developed by the Catholic Church. While organizations like the church have more structural resources at their disposal to ensure information control is maintained, their size and the varying levels of commitment to secrecy on the part of individual members of the team ultimately work against them.

Abstract

This piece is a performative keynote address delivered at the 2016 International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. 1 The keynote showed clips from films on education that triggered critical memories of the author’s own educational experience as teacher/scholar/administrator. The keynote was thus a performative film autocritography. The title “Black Man/White Tower” serves as a trope of tensiveness and transgression at the nexus of thick intersectionalities in higher education.

Abstract

This study focuses upon the importance of group narrative work by ill and injured individuals who are participants/listeners/viewers in the reciprocity of testifying and witnessing one another’s stories. Their creative collaboration addresses a transformation of self that is engendered by illness and injury. An emphasis on narrative within a group setting offers tools to validate individual autonomy, build collective strength, and assist those in the group to gather momentum for the journeys that await each of them. The rationale and exercises described serve to complement and enhance traditional modes of healing.

Abstract

Open access publishing is an increasingly popular trend in the dissemination of academic work, allowing journals to print articles electronically and without the burden of subscription paywalls, enabling much wider access for audiences. Yet subscription-based journals remain the most dominant in the social sciences and humanities, and it is often a struggle for newer open access publications to compete, in terms of economic, cultural, and symbolic capital (Bourdieu, 2004). Our study explores the meanings of resistance held by the editors of open access journals in the social sciences and humanities in Canada, as well as the views of university librarians. To make sense of these meanings, we draw on Lonnie Athens’ (2015) radical interactionist account of power, and expand on this by incorporating George Herbert Mead’s (1932, 1938) theory of emergence, arguing that open access is characteristic of an “extended rationality” (Chang, 2004) for those involved. Drawing on our open-ended interview data, we find that open access is experienced as a form of resistance in at least four ways. These include resistance to (1) profit motives in academic publishing; (2) access barriers for audiences; (3) access barriers for contributors; and (4) traditional publishing conventions.

Abstract

Senegal’s history since the nineteenth century has favored collective ownership and work, whether state-run cooperatives or community-based organizations (CBOs). This chapter first examines the history of resistance to cooperatives imposed by the French colonial administration and Senegal’s independent state until 1980. The primary separate community organizations were, and are, within daaras: communities based on Islamic spiritual principles. The chapter then explores today’s CBOs, many of which are faith-based, that resist neoliberal approaches to development, again, through community-based principles. CBOs have grown within the space that state control once occupied, and have as much do with indigenous structures and faith-based principles as they do with globally recognized models of development. These foundational philosophies shape the ways people organize themselves, choose their shared goals, and elect their leaders. To discuss contemporary trends in community organization, the chapter uses ethnographic examples from two present-day communities, one a faith-based daara and the other a five-village CBO. This history and contemporary examples show that locally grown organizations resist easy definitions of colonial, state, or neoliberal development, and take control over the ways they organize their communities.

Abstract

Rational time accompanies the onslaught of hyper-globalization. The Inuit of Arviat, Nunavut, paradoxically use rational time to resist rational time, setting aside temporal zones to protect Western cultural paradigms from impinging on their lives all of the time. Additionally, because temporal norms indicate membership in a group, doing time differently is one of the most effective ways in which to say “I’m not a part of your group!” While resisting rational clock-time, for example by walking off the job each day promptly at 4:59 pm, the Inuit of Arviat nevertheless have a myriad of clocks in their homes. This chapter explores their temporal resistance and the riddle of “why so many clocks in Arviat?”

Abstract

Considerable research on the experiences of contemporary workers theorizes everyday acts of resistance as inconsequential, emphasizing their limited impact on overarching structures of inequality. This chapter offers a different perspective. Drawing on a feminist interpretivist paradigm, I argue that such characterizations of everyday resistance fail to account for the ways in which workers themselves make sense of power dynamics at work. Incorporating such accounts complicates conventional understandings of low-income workers engaged in everyday resistance as either dupes, as is often suggested by academic research, or schemers, as is frequently articulated by the self-perceived targets of worker rule-breaking – their managers. Based on 10 months of ethnographic observation and interviews with nurses and nursing assistants in a long-term care facility, I demonstrate that while workers recognize the constraints within which they act, they nonetheless make sense of their acts of everyday resistance as defiant. The realities of precarious labor and family responsibility do not combine to prevent resistance at work for these women; they combine to transform it. Asserting their agency through a series of relatively mundane and covert acts that gain them autonomy and dignity, workers readily acknowledge their policy refusals while at the same time recognizing the factors that shape them. Describing subversions of authority as strategic collaborations, the constrained agency these workers articulate hinges on their own and their coworkers’ identities not just as workers, but in many cases as low-income working mothers.

Abstract

This study examines the role of mentorship in black Greek letter fraternities (BGLFs) in resisting cultural and institutional oppression. Based on 20 interviews with black male college students, we build upon the works of others that have sought to examine the functions BGLFs play among black men in college. We suggest that BGLF participation offers collegiate black men mentorships with older members who motivate them to succeed personally and academically, support in integrating them into the black student community, and helps develop their professionalism and leadership. This mentorship allows young black men to contest the negative controlling images of black men culturally, and the lack of institutional support at predominantly white colleges and universities.

Abstract

Since Michael Burawoy’s 2004 presidential address to the American Sociological Association, there has been a growing interest among sociologists in “public sociology.” Though controversial in the discipline, public sociology parallels several other “engaged” forms of sociological inquiry, such as service-learning, collaborative research, participatory research, civic engagement, action research, and others. While forms of public sociology are growing among sociologists, there is little linkage with the symbolic interactionist tradition in the discipline. The ethnographic case study presented here attempts to make a link between public sociology and symbolic interactionism. Beginning in 1994 to the present, the author has been involved in the formal and informal recognition efforts of the Pee-Dee Native-American tribe in the author’s home state of South Carolina. The Pee-Dee finally gained state recognition in 2006. The struggle on the part of the tribe to gain state recognition began formally in the early 1970s. The central social issue for the tribe has always revolved around their perceived lack (primarily on the part of the dominant group) in terms of cultural and historical identity. The paradox for the tribe is found in the contradictions between their actual lived historical experience, beginning in colonial times, and the historical interpretation, on the part of earlier historians of the southeast, that the smaller tribes simply “vanished” after 1775. The paradox is also furthered by the stereotypes of what constitutes “real Indians,” which, in many ways, inform the formal recognition requirements by the state. The chapter begins with an exploration of the historical, colonial context, followed with the ethnographic story of my time with the Pee-Dee in the field and our struggle to collaborate on finding a working interpretation of the tribe’s historical and cultural existence as a people. The chapter ends with some thoughts on how a critical symbolic interactionism can promote a successful public sociology project.

About the Authors

Pages 211-214
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Index

Pages 215-220
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Cover of Oppression and Resistance
DOI
10.1108/S0163-2396201748
Publication date
2017-08-21
Book series
Studies in Symbolic Interaction
Editor
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78743-167-6
eISBN
978-1-78743-167-6
Book series ISSN
0163-2396