To find out about the 2012 conference – head to the ARNOVA site

Conference 2011

ARNOVA’s 40th Annual Conference -“Diversity in the Voluntary Sector: Who Are the Participants, Funders, Beneficiaries, and Volunteers?” was held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, from November 17-19 2011.

CGAP sponsored one colloquy:

Community and Grassroots Organizing in International and Transnational Contexts

This colloquy explored the notion of grassroots organizing across the boundaries of nation-states from three different perspectives. We explored the historical transition from national movements to transnational ones, transnational collective identities that transcend or ignore national identity, and the national and local conditions and assumptions that limit the influence of movement sectors on one another across nations.

In our historical case, Howard Lune examined collective action in the US by Irish immigrants. This work traces the transition that occurred after 1800 as American Irish associations became less about Americans who were of Irish heritage and more about the political and economic conditions in Ireland. This transnational pattern of association helped to generate the contemporary transnational Irish American collective identity.

Looking at stigmatized acquired collective identities, such as “the homeless” or “the mentally ill,” James Mandiberg and Izumi Sakamoto find that such labels provide the basis for identity communities which are independent of national identities. As such, they provide fertile ground for transnational collective identity formation via networking among disparate members of the same imposed identity community. Development of these transnational networks often occurs through social movement-like processes. This process is described as a kind of “reverse transnationalism,” as it does not begin with or rely on a common national origin. The authors will discuss the implications of reverse transnationalism for community organizing and service delivery to highly stigmatized populations.

The third and fourth studies contrast US and European grassroots organizing. Carmen Parra Rodriguez defined the development of grassroots organizing in Europe as the formation of a “socially responsible territory.” Different mobilizations across Europe may co-exist within, or share an understanding of this territory, though actual campaigns may be focused on local issues. The development of European grassroots movements were contrasted with US cases, which tend to be more focused on the state and national identity. Taking up the US case, Erica Kohl-Arenas re-examined the relationship between public philanthropy and grassroots mobilizations. Her discussion began with the farm-workers movement of the 1960s and concludes with a snapshot of a current $50 million philanthropic initiative that engages some of the historic migrant farmworker organizations founded during movement times that still support farmworker families across California today.

Participants include:  Howard Lune (CUNY); Jim Mandiberg (Columbia University); Erica Kohl-Arenas (New School); and Carmen Parra Rodriguez (Universitat Abat Oliba CEU)

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