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Something Within: Religion as a Mobilizer of African-American Political Activism

Fredrick C. Harris
The Journal of Politics
Vol. 56, No. 1 (Feb., 1994), pp. 42-68
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2132345
Page Count: 27
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Something Within: Religion as a Mobilizer of African-American Political Activism
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Abstract

Few studies have explored the multidimensional aspect of religion and its impact on political action. This is especially true of African Americans who have been stereotyped, at least in the social science literature, as having an otherworldly religious orientation that deflects attention away from worldly concerns, such as politics, to otherworldly rewards. Expanding the work of Kenneth Wald, this study posits a theory of religion and political action by considering religion as a resource for political mobilization. Using the 1987 General Social Survey (GSS), this article argues that religion among African Americans serves as both an organizational and psychological resource for individual and collective political action. It also demonstrates how individual religious beliefs and practices affect different modes of political action like voting and collective action, and how these effects differ between black and white Americans.

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