God and Karate on the Southside : Bridging Differences, Building American Communities
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 1972D1998 General Social Survey, Yi combines classical democratic theory with compelling personal stories and rigorous empirical analysis. God and Karate in the Southside is the first book to analyze the intersection between race, religion, and martial arts in the United States. It is a mustDread for scholars interested in issues of community diversity and civic democracy.
- Electronic book text | 308 pages
- 01 Dec 2009
- Lexington Books
- MD, United States
About Joseph Yi
Joseph E. Yi is assistant professor of political science at Gonzaga University.