PhD, European University Institute (Florence, Italy)
Funds: Fulbright grant from the Franco-American Commission
Research project: Poor people’s politicization processes in US and France
My research project consists in an ethnographic study of community organizing groups in two Los Angeles disadvantaged neighborhoods. By observing them in times of high and low politicization (during and after the 2012 Presidential elections), it will be possible to assess how the context shapes organizational discourses and practices. Participant observation allows grasping the norms regulating interactions in these groups, the different styles of participation, and more broadly how they manage to engage individuals against all sociological odds. The research also scrutinizes the interactions between the organizations and other community institutions (churches, schools, neighborhood councils, etc.) to grasp how such civic networks allow and constrain civic engagement. By following actors and groups over time, the research shows how they change and are shaped by organizational norms and influence them in return. This research will be compared to previous studies I conducted in a French inner-city to better understand the cultural underpinnings of civic engagement of poor and minority groups in both countries.