Week 15 – JUS 633

This post will be utilized to reflect on the investigative work of another fellow JUS 633 classmate.

RP: Your piece is very thought provoking and distinct in its subject matter to me for three reasons: 1) This is the first time I’ve read or head of anyone extensively studying and explaining the history of self defense in non-violence movements and reasons supporting why the concept should be applied in these demonstrations of social activism. 2) You are actively engaged in this ‘debate’ as a participant in the Occupy_________ Movement in addition to the fact that 3) the movement is extremely recent in American social history. What a great position you have for writing about this topic, to give first hand experience as well as a critical analysis on what is taking place now. You’re essentially penning history as it occurs and potentially may serve as a pundit on the issue years from now; fascinating! I also want to commend you on advocating to those who engage in non-violent movements the adoption of all principles associated with such action, not a buffet-style approach to protesting (i.e. picking and choosing which concepts to apply). If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it full-heartedly, right?

I have a few questions for you with regard to your paper:

1) On page 10, you reference how during the Civil Rights era much of the publicity shown pertaining to the unjust treatment of participants in the movement at the hands of police and other municipal representatives (i.e. firemen with their fire hoses, sheriffs, etc.) was focused on those who were minorities in comparison to their non-black, non-hispanic, etc. counterparts. As a flipping of this scenario, do you think since the Occupy ________ Movements taking place around the country tend to be supported more by persons who are not of color is the reason why these demonstrations are receiving so much media attention? If the movements were more centralized racially society wouldn’t pay much attention because minority groups historically have struggled economically (it’s not a new concept, for example)?

2) You briefly describe your positioning in the community of which you are studying, how being a white male in this movement has privileged you in some ways (education, class positioning, etc.) as well as detracted from your credibility as being able to relate to those who campaign for this cause. What are your approaches for overcoming this? It would be nice to read a bit more on this in your paper.

Great job and best wishes! -BPR

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Week 13 – JUS 633

Once again, I’d like to use this space to reflect on the work completed by my fellow JUS 633 colleagues:

MM: You have a very thought provoking and controversial topic for your final research project, especially considering our post-9/11 American society. National security is a serious hot-button issue and is definitely of significance here in the state of Arizona pertaining to the ongoing debates about immigration legislation and how to best protect the Arizona/Mexico border. One question I have for you is this: as we read in the works of Laura Pulido and Wei Li earlier in the semester about how race is a social construct used mainly for the purpose of exerting power over others, do you see any connection between this idea and how security is theorized and practiced in America? I know a portion of your work will focus on how feminist theory plays a factor in the national security ideologies of our nation (good point by the way) but just wondered if you planned on expressing another social aspect such as race in your finding as you did mention it in your literature review.

DZ: The information you utilize, such statements by Jacqueline Martinez and others, expressing how no one can separate themselves from the various societal/cultural norms and codes and how they in turn pass them down to subsequent generations is very helpful. I have a clearer picture of what you mean by semiotic phenomenology and how we are all engaged in it whether consciously or not. Your subject is rather unique to me and I can see it becoming a new method for researchers to utilize when considering projects. They can utilize the terms and ideas you present as a way of analyzing their position (i.e. insider vs. outsider) with regard to their subjects.

JS: I am curious to know more about how you connected to and embraced the ethoburb, niche market principles when you came from China to America. In your studies, will you discuss a bit more about how this influences your work, perhaps from a position such as what DZ is studying (your personal lived experiences impacting you as a researcher, your observations and the information you are targeting)? I also feel that this gives you an advantage regarding your position in relation to your subjects; you have an ability to relate to them in a way that is very salient to your topic.

NF: One suggestion I have to assist you in obtaining the data you’re looking for is this: narrow the area of philanthropy you are choosing to study and the subsequent businesses that have contributed to charities relative to that type. For instance, you could focus on educational donations (since this one of the main contribution areas outlined in the research you found), find non-profits that have educational objectives (i.e. scholarship programs, etc.), then look at the organizations that have given to these agencies. I think this will help to laser in on the data you need.

AC: Fabulous topic and quite on par with many of the new initiatives I have seen as of late in Arizona. Are you partnering at all with ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability? Even though they are looking at things from a macro perspective and you want micro data, perhaps they have some information that might be of assistance to you given that they are headquartered locally. Another thought that might be interesting to point out in your studies is the history of the area from a geographical perspective. For example, each city has records indicating what certain plots of land have been used for over time and what the plans are for development into the future. It would be interesting to know the objectives the city had years ago for your study area before it became industrialized and inhabited. Perhaps it was never intended to be a residential area 80 years ago hence all the challenges it has faced since then, especially in becoming an area mostly populated by a transient minority group.

Fabulous job everyone; I wish you the best in completing your research projects! -BPR

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Week 12 – JUS 633

This blog post will be used to provide feedback to my colleagues on their current research projects.

CLD: You have an intriguing, well thought-out subject for your investigation. You do an excellent job in reviewing the material you have acquired from various sources on how mothers of color (particularly Mexican mothers per the parameters of your study) communicate their ideas about their culture to their children. As a reader, I also understand the importance of your work and the value it will bring to the world of academia in areas such as early childhood development, ethnic studies, etc. as it is presently underrepresented in these fields. Furthermore, I can envision the framework of how you will collect and catalog your data, your research methodology. My questions to you are as follows: Will you include any data that is qualitative or will your research be explicitly based on quantitative information? Even though your project will continue beyond the end of this semester, how do you propose to conclude your project for the purpose of this course?

CB: I really like the manner you’ve used to outline your paper. It flows like a well-organized PowerPoint presentation, each section is clearly and succinctly explained. Additionally, you take time to express terms central to your research such as the American definition of refugee, what is intersectionality, etc. You also incorporate information to show that the history of this subject matter far precedes the coining of terms like intersectionality (a very good point). One suggestion I can offer to you with regard to coding your data is this: perhaps you can construct a system that is similar to how CLD is coding her research. For example, in all the information that you collect from your study’s participants, make a scale for each item/area you are trying identify (i.e. how deeply is each participant involved in their local economy; on a scale of one to ten, how does the participant rate her gender, race, etc. as a determining factor of how involved she is with her local economy). Hopefully these ideas will help you in your creation of a coding system.  : )

AJS: Your project is quite unique in that you are looking to research a population that is ‘new’ to the American cultural conscious at large: stay-at-home fathers. What’s even more interesting is that you are looking at how these men interpret their own masculinity in the context of a role that has historically been dominated by women. A noteworthy point in your study is that you personally interviewed fathers to understand their experiences in their own words. Just as you stated, if you had elected to go a different route this important information would certainly be lost as there is nothing like hearing a person’s story directly from them in their own voice verses from someone else. A few suggestions: double spacing would assist in the ease of reading your work, and expanding your conclusion section would further round out your discourse. One question I have is this: are there any other demographics that unite or separate the fathers you interviewed (i.e. geographic location, ethnicity)? If you chose to do this research again, I think it would be interesting to look at fathers across a wide variety of demographic factors to see any similarities and/or differences between them.

Great job everyone!! -BPR

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Week 10 – JUS 633

The research topic I have chosen for my final project in this course regards the socio-economic movements of activism in South Phoenix, AZ from the 1960s to present day. Through the decades, many issues have arisen causing local as well as nationally known political figures/organizations to get involved with the state’s governing system, ranging from civil rights to campaigning for a state recognized holiday honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to immigration related legislation. Out of this historical fodder present in Arizona and thereby the state’s capital (Phoenix) one would think there would be no challenge in finding articles, research data, etc. on the subject; this has not been the case.

I have been working diligently to gather data concerning my research subject, as I specifically want to study the various movements that are salient to the Black and Latino/a communities in this part of the state. I want to know about the issues that caused members of these groups to organize and take political action in the city and/or state, the outcome of their efforts (successful or not), as well as what they are doing now. I have found little information written about the political landscape of Phoenix; nevertheless, more data seems to be available that discusses Arizona at large. I possibly will have to expand my search parameters to include the state; however, I will be exercising a bit of creativity in the coming days just to see if I can come up with more information that is exclusive to Phoenix.

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Week 9 – JUS 633

The chapter presented for this week’s reading from Politics and Partnerships: The Role of Voluntary Associations in America’s Political Past and Present greatly interested me. I’ve given some consideration to the manner in which major corporations donate funds to various non-profit or social service agencies but not nearly on the level in which Doug Guthrie does in his discourse on the matter. Just based on my common knowledge, I would have thought the major sector to which big time organizations gift funds would be to agencies that have something to do with health (i.e. medical research dedicated to curing cancer) not education (as explicated in the text).  This chapter has definitely piqued my interest in learning more about what my classmate who is studying this subject has discovered in his research as well as doing a little bit of investigating of my own.  Given my political science background, I’m curious to know more about the major players in the world of corporate philanthropy, their motivations, and how all of this plays out in the schema of American politics.

The next article for this week’s consideration that caught my attention was Banking on social capital in the era of globalization: Chinese ethonbanks in Los Angeles. I consider this article to be a continuation of Dr. Wei Li’s book Ethnoburb as well the class we had a few weeks ago pertaining to her material. The question that came to my mind (again) as I read this discussion was: “What is so unique about Los Angeles that communities, economies, and other ethic-based social developments have been created here which are almost explicit to the region and unlike other parts of the United States?” Certainly there are many factors that play a role in the answer of this question, such as political and social history; the contributors to this article even point out some of these reasons. Nevertheless, I just find it fascinating that even though persons who: 1) identify with the same ethnic groups represented in Los Angeles but live in other parts of the state as well as the nation and 2) were presented with challenges in addition to opportunities similar to that of their L.A. counterparts did not create the same social structures as did those living in L.A. Why? –BPR

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Week 8 – JUS 633

For this post, I’d like to reflect on a few of the articles provided by my fellow classmates  for this week’s discussion.  Based on the material supplied, it appears that our final research/ethnographic projects will be quite noteworthy and intriguing.

From Marginalization to (Dis)Empowerment: Organizing Training and Employment Services for Refugees by Frances Tomlinson and Sue Egan caused me to think about the relative work performed locally in Arizona by various community organizations such as Catholic Social Services. Through the years, they have assisted thousands of refugees from around the globe who relocate to Phoenix in an effort to begin life anew. In my business, I also worked to assist a refugee client in becoming fluent in English by helping him to enroll in literacy classes and by providing him with personal tutoring services. There are idiosyncratic, unique challenges presented when working with members of this population as the article states and I know to be true. The issue is not just about aiding a person with their full integration into a western society, workforce, etc. but also about helping them overcome all of the issues associated with their exodus from their homeland. This can be rather difficult at times because integration can be viewed as assimilation/disavowal of one’s former identity.

Mothering, Crime, and Incarceration by Kathleen Ferraro and Angela Moe presented some really interesting insights into the trials of women who become inscribed in one way or another to this community (those who commit crimes and are incarcerated). The following quote captured my attention and well framed  the entire discourse on the subject: “While women are capable of and certainly do commit many forms of crime, including interpersonal violent crimes that in some cases harm their children, they also commit their crimes from gendered, as well as raced and classed, positions that are politically, economically, and historically rooted” (12). Society, in my view, tends to forget that women, especially those of color and of low economical means, are confronted with these issues as they endeavor to raise their children. These issues also greatly influence their decisions to partake of criminal activity. Our penal system tends to offer very little flexibility and resources for ladies who find themselves in the throes of such social constructs but has a number of ways to further restrain and discipline them. Perhaps my colleague who provided this article to read and has chosen to undertake this line of study can discover ways in which our legal system can furnish true rehabilitative services in which women are no longer motivated to commit crimes out of ‘necessity’ because they have other means of legitimate support. I look forward to the presentation of the information she does collect and the conclusions she  derives as a result. -BPR

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Week 7 – JUS 633

This week’s reading of Ethnoburb by Wei Li correlated nicely to Laura Pulido’s work in Black, Brown, Yellow, and Left. I found the styles of writing as well as the methods of analysis employed by both authors to be rather similar. Not only do Li and Pulido evaluate and describe the history of specific ethnic groups in Los Angeles, CA, they also take the same approach in explicating America’s traditions of marginalizing these groups and how this social treatment precipitated their economic, geographic, and cultural habits. The following line in Li’s book stood out to me and made a connection between her work and that of Pulido’s: “Hence, race is not just a way to differentiate people, but it is also an idea that shapes power relationships as well as social practices through racial formation processes” (16).

As referenced in my week 5 post regarding Pulido’s book, the thought of race not only being a way of categorizing groups but a tool used for distributing power is quite powerful. I contend that Ethnoburb thoroughly lays out a detailed historical account of how Chinese immigrants (generations later, Americans of Chinese descent) were forced not only into tight, concentrated geographical spaces but also social and economic ones. Only after years of being squashed into the practice of “assimilation-acculturation” (losing one’s own culture while trying to fit into that which is dominant) as Li points out do Chinese immigrants/descents as well as other ethnic groups breakout into “ethnicity-pluralism” (maintaining one’s own cultural identity and incorporating it into the main flow of society). Despite the minor differences between the two authors, Li focuses on the geographical spread of the Chinese as it relates to business while Pulido focuses on the same phenomenon as it relates to other ethnic groups and political activism, I enjoyed reading these books and have found them to be very informative. When I think in terms of race/ethnicity, I now think beyond identity, community and history; I think of power also. -BPR

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