Graduate Colloquium: "Community Organizers or Community Representatives?"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 - 9:30am
Meyerson G-12

Michelle Kondo, a postdoctoral research fellow at the School of Social Policy and Practice, will be presenting her work entitled "Community Organizers or Community Representatives? Tensions Surrounding Representation and Advocacy between Immigrant Organizations and the State"

A light breakfast will be served

Abstract

White Center, Washington is a cross-roads for transnational movement of individuals and communities. Race, ethnicity and citizenship status in White Center pose as structural barriers within institutions including housing, employment, education, planning and governance. Decreasing exclusion and inequalities for immigrants is associated with increasing immigrants’ participation in urban decision-making.  Civil society, in its service to immigrants, is implicated in this task.  In this paper I examine the case of the Trusted Advocates, a multi-ethnic immigrant organization, and its involvement in an annexation initiative led by the state.  Based upon analysis of data from two years of ethnographic research, including observation and interviews, I explore the issues surrounding advocacy and representation of immigrant communities in political and planning processes.  In particular, I question assumptions of ethnic group homogeneity, and explore the transformative potential of increasing representation and democratic inclusion.