Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America by Frances Fox Piven

By Frances Fox Piven

Difficult Authority argues that normal humans workout notable political braveness and tool in American politics whilst, pissed off via politics as ordinary, they stand up in anger and desire and defy the gurus and the established order ideas that in most cases govern their day-by-day lives. by way of doing so, they disrupt the workings of significant associations and develop into a strength in American politics. Drawing on serious episodes in American historical past, Frances Fox Piven exhibits that it's accurately at these seismic moments whilst humans act outdoor of self-restricting political norms that they develop into empowered to their complete democratic capability.

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Extra resources for Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America (Polemics)

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The rural population responded with its own distinctive forms of defiance, tending to devise strategies that reflected the paths for influence made available by interdependent social relations. This was a tumultuous and disorderly politics, as people on both sides of lord and vassal relations, or employer and worker relations, or consumer and merchant relations, or citizen and magistrate relations, periodically withdrew their contributions to economic and political life, and even more generally as the numerous poor used the elemental interdependence yielded by physical proximity to force the concessions that might permit their survival.

6 People without wealth or control of force were granted some rights because their quiescence and cooperation could not always be taken for granted. Over the course of the centuries-long change from feudal to commercial and then industrial capitalism, it was the rulers rather than the ruled who typically initiated violations of this compact of reciprocal obligation. The rural population responded with its own distinctive forms of defiance, tending to devise strategies that reflected the paths for influence made available by interdependent social relations.

To appreciate this, we have to forego our tendency to speak in general terms of classes and systems. For some purposes, these abstractions are of course useful, but the interdependencies which sometimes make assertions of popular power possible don’t exist in general or in the abstract. They exist for particular groups who are in particular relationships with particular capitalists or particular state authorities at particular places and particular times. ” 20 Strategies for the exercise of interdependent or disruptive power do not emerge automatically or inevitably from the existence of cooperative relations.

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