Synopses & Reviews
We love the local. From the cherries we buy, to the grocer who sells them, to the school where our child unpacks them for lunch, we express resurgent faith in decentralizing the institutions and businesses that arrange our daily lives. But the fact is that huge, bureaucratic organizations often still shape the character of our jobs, schools, the groceries where we shop, and even the hospitals we entrust with our lives. So how, exactly, can we work small, when everything around us is so big, so global and standardized? In Organizing Locally
, Bruce Fuller shows us, taking stock of America’s rekindled commitment to localism across an illuminating range of sectors, unearthing the crucial values and practices of decentralized firms that work.
Fuller first untangles the economic and cultural currents that have eroded the efficacy of—and our trust in—large institutions over the past half century. From there we meet intrepid leaders who have been doing things differently. Traveling from a charter school in San Francisco to a veterans service network in Iowa, from a Pennsylvania health-care firm to the Manhattan branch of a Swedish bank, he explores how creative managers have turned local staff loose to craft inventive practices, untethered from central rules and plain-vanilla routines. By holding their successes and failures up to the same analytical light, he vividly reveals the key cornerstones of social organization on which motivating and effective decentralization depends. Ultimately, he brings order and evidence to the often strident debates about who has the power—and on what scale—to structure how we work and live locally.
Written for managers, policy makers, and reform activists, Organizing Locally details the profound decentering of work and life inside firms, unfolding across postindustrial societies. Its fresh theoretical framework explains resurging faith in decentralized organizations and the ingredients that deliver vibrant meaning and efficacy for residents inside. Ultimately, it is a synthesizing study, a courageous and radical new way of conceiving of American vitality, creativity, and ambition.
and#8220;In this important new book, readers will find an insightful analysis of how a small but growing number of urban schools are being affected by the process of gentrification. and#160;While racial integration in schools has long been seen as a desirable social and political goal, relatively little attention has been given to how schools respond to the needs of different children and their parents as changes in the demographic composition of schools occur.and#160;Posey-Maddox reminds us that creating a school that succeeds in serving all children well is an extremely complex undertaking, especially when imbalances in power and privilege are significant. and#160;For those who want to understand the contemporary challenges posed by integration, this book will be an invaluable resource.and#8221;
and#8220;Posey-Maddoxand#8217;s book makes an original contribution that is important to current conversations about urban schools. The question of what role middle-class families can/should play in urban school reform is a pressing one, and her research raises a series of questions that I have not seen raised elsewhere as clearly or directly. It captures key dimensions of how cities are changing and the impact those changes are having on our most important institutions.and#8221;
“After eras dominated by economics-talk, it is refreshing to dip into a vision in which culture and social psychology play central roles. This is in some ways a call to arms, but it is not as didactic or gloomy as those to which we’ve become accustomed. It stirs the pot of what have become somewhat stale debates, and by incorporating such a broad range of cases extends its relevance far and wide.”
“This is an enormously ambitious study, essentially taking on all organizational change of the past half century. Fuller places the move toward decentralized organizations into a thought-provoking portrait of success and failure of those trying to improve on the well-being of society. Moreover, while these societal institutions continue to evolve, he provides a map for understanding the continuing process.”
“It is fairly easy to point out what is not working in medicine and why. But if I was given the opportunity to change some of it, would I lean towards more or less local control? Would I hire health educators, promoters, or patient navigators to improve the support and services for the families I care for? How would I rethink patient centeredness in the delivery of care? Fuller tackles complex questions such as these across a range of sectors, providing an approach that would help many businesses, institutions, networks, and systems grapple with the pressures to meet client needs and save costs.”
Urban education and its contexts have changed in powerful ways. Old paradigms are being eclipsed by global forces of privatization and markets and new articulations of race, class, and urban space. These factors and more set the stage for Pauline Lipman's insightful analysis of the relationship between education policy and the neoliberal economic, political, and ideological processes that are reshaping cities in the United States and around the globe.
Using Chicago as a case study of the interconnectedness of neoliberal urban policies on housing, economic development, race, and education, Lipman explores larger implications for equity, justice, and the right to the city. She draws on scholarship in critical geography, urban sociology and anthropology, education policy, and critical analyses of race. Her synthesis of these lenses gives added weight to her critical appraisal and hope for the future, offering a significant contribution to current arguments about urban schooling and how we think about relations between neoliberal education reforms and the transformation of cities. By examining the cultural politics of why and how these relationships resonate with people's lived experience, Lipman pushes the analysis one step further toward a new educational and social paradigm rooted in radical political and economic democracy.
In recent decades a growing number of middle-class parents have considered sending their children toand#151;and often end up becoming active inand#151;urban public schools. Their presence can bring long-needed material resources to such schools, but, as Linn Posey-Maddox shows in this study, it can also introduce new class and race tensions, and even exacerbate inequalities. Sensitively navigating the pros and cons of middle-class transformation, When Middle-Class Parents Choose Urban Schools
asks whether it is possible for our urban public schools to have both financial security and equitable diversity.
Drawing on in-depth research at an urban elementary school, Posey-Maddox examines parentsand#8217; efforts to support the school through their outreach, marketing, and volunteerism. She shows that when middle-class parents engage in urban school communities, they can bring a host of positive benefits, including new educational opportunities and greater diversity. But their involvement can also unintentionally marginalize less-affluent parents and diminish low-income studentsand#8217; access to the improving schools. In response, Posey-Maddox argues that school reform efforts, which usually equate improvement with rising test scores and increased enrollment, need to have more equity-focused policies in place to ensure that low-income families also benefit fromand#151;and participate inand#151;school change.and#160;
About the Author
Linn Posey-Maddox is assistant professor of educational policy studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations and Tables
One / Middle-Class Parents and City School Transformation
Two / Reconceptualizing the and#8220;Urbanand#8221;: Examining Race, Class, and Demographic Change in Cities and Their Public Schools
Three / Building a and#8220;Critical Massand#8221;: Neighborhood Parent Group Action for School Change
Four / The (Re)Making of a and#8220;Goodand#8221; Public School: Parent and Teacher Views of a Changing School Community
Five / Professionalizing the MPTO: Race, Class, and Shifting Norms for and#8220;Activeand#8221; Parents
Six / Morningside Revisited
Seven / Maintaining a and#8220;Commitment to Everyoneand#8221;: Toward a Vision of Equitable Development in Urban Public Schooling
Appendix A / Social Class Categories
Appendix B / Methodological Approach