Cultivating civic engagement through organizational relationships at grassroots levels




González, Daniel Alejandro

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The focus of this study is the C.O.P.S./Metro Alliance organization, a grassroots community organization operating in the San Antonio area. In particular, this study looks directly at the practices and processes used by the organization to engage, recruit, retain, and empower members through meaningful dialogue about individual self-interests, community needs, and community concerns, especially issues that involve education and educational institutions in the community. Research participants share personal narratives that they consider relevant, important and meaningful to their involvement in the organization. The conclusions fall under three categories. One category is the Membership and how it is attained and sustained. Another category is Leadership and how leaders acquire positions and influence. The third category is the relationship building used to create interpersonal and inter-organizational Alliances. A theme that is threaded throughout the three emergent themes is power. Power serves as a goal of the organization and its actions. Power is used as a tool to empower members and the organization, and it is also used as a weapon with which to attack common enemies. These themes emerge from the practices of the organization and the culture that it creates for members through empowerment and meaning making. This research explores the inner workings of civic engagement and grassroots community organizing efforts.


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Civic engagement, Community organizing, Leadership, Membership, Organizational behavior, Power relationships, San Antonio



Bicultural-Bilingual Studies