Becoming Social Justice Activists in Church: An Account of Resources that Lead to Heightened Mobilization for Progressive Causes Among White Suburban Protestant Congregations

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2021
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Haverford College. Department of Political Science
Haverford College. Department of Religion
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Thesis
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eng
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Open Access
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Abstract
Often unseen, faith-based institutions and organizations in the United States today mobilize for progressive causes in ways that vitally contribute to grassroots democracy. Most scholars approaching the topic of congregational mobilization do so through analyzing how clergy, outside organizations, or lay members push their church to act for a given cause. This thesis, alternatively, examines the role of specific resources in predicting a heightened level of mobilization for progressive causes among white suburban Protestant congregations. Through interviews with members of four churches in the suburbs of Philadelphia, I identify four resources (personal and collective identity, connections, and clergy tenure) that have an impact on the level of mobilization a church is likely to achieve for progressive causes. This mobilization occurs through what I label personal and political mobilization, both of which are of great value in fighting against inequality in the United States.
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