God and Karate on the Southside

God and Karate on the Southside : Bridging Differences, Building American Communities

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Recent demographic changes have sparked debate about the civic health of American democracy. Democracy requires people of different backgrounds to be disposed toward working together, and it requires "little-noticed meeting places" where neighbors interact with each other, share their thinking, and address common problems. As issues of ethnic and social diversity become increasingly foregrounded, social scientists find pervasive social distrust and civic withdrawal in racially and ethnically heterogeneous communities, whether in big cities (Los Angeles) or small (Yakima, WA). In this book, Yi argues that increasing diversity can revitalize social and civic connectedness if our institutions rise up to the challenge of finding common ground and shared enterprise for people of different backgrounds. He highlights two types of organizational actors in the USA. One type renews and adapts longstanding religious, cultural, and civic traditions to a dynamic, multiethnic society. The second type attempts to introduce Americans to the many religious and cultural traditions from outside the United States. These tendencies point to a dynamic, "many-stranded" model of liberal-plural democracy, which fosters and benefits from a variety of group affiliations and types of engagement. Organizations that combine internal, authoritative community with external, plural outreach, such as some evangelical mega-churches and karate schools, connect people across racial and economic divides. In these bridging organizations, people find a sense of unity among diversity; they get to know each other as individuals, rather than as representatives of disliked groups. Using fieldwork on churches, karate schools, and other organizations in a racially mixed, Chicago Southside neighborhood as well as a broader analysis of race and religion in the 1972-1998 General Social Survey, Yi combines classical democratic theory with compelling personal stories and rigorous empirical analysis. God and Karate in the Southside is the firstshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 230 pages
  • 228.6 x 355.6 x 86.36mm | 453.59g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739114069
  • 9780739114063

About Joseph E. Yi

Joseph E. Yi is assistant professor of political science at Gonzaga University.show more

Table of contents

Part 1 Part One. America Dividing, America Uniting Chapter 2 Introduction Chapter 3 Nature of the Problem: Diversity and Indifference Chapter 4 Many-Stranded Theory of Liberal Democracy Part 5 Part Two. Bridging Differences, Building Communities Chapter 6 God Bridging: Chicago (International) Church of Christ Chapter 7 Framing Religion: Limits of Christian Engagement Chapter 8 Karate Bridging: Fitzpatrick's Tang Soo Do Chapter 9 Framing Karate: Frontiers of Engagement Part 10 Part Three. Analysis and Discussion Chapter 11 Religious Participation and Race Relations: General Social Survey Chapter 12 Renewing Democracy in Americashow more

Review quote

Yi's scholarship is refreshingly open minded and reflective not only on the limits of liberal political discourse but on the limits of his subjects themselves. The book is well worth reading for those who hold out hope that America's supposed culture wars are not as intractable as they seem. Christians in Political Science Newslettershow more

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