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date: 04 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the history of maternalist mobilization and women’s community politics in the United States. It argues that both “maternalism” and “community” have proved to be highly flexible mobilizing frames for women. Building on the insights of intersectionality theory, the authors suggest that women’s maternal and community politics is shaped by their social locations within multiple, intersecting relations of domination and subordination, as well as their political ideologies and historical context. The chapter begins by discussing the politically contradictory history of maternalist mobilization within the United States from the Progressive era to the present. It then explores other forms of women’s community politics, focusing on women’s community volunteerism, self-help groups, and community organizing. It discusses how these frames have been used both to build alliances among women and to divide or exclude women based on perceived differences and social inequalities based on race, nativity, class, or sexual orientation.

Keywords: community organizing, maternalism, intersectionality, volunteerism, self-help, women

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