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Religion and Progressive ActivismNew Stories About Faith and Politics$
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Ruth Braunstein, Todd Nicholas Fuist, and Rhys H. Williams

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781479854769

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479854769.001.0001

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“Neutral” Talk in Educating for Activism

“Neutral” Talk in Educating for Activism

(p.308) 14 “Neutral” Talk in Educating for Activism
Religion and Progressive Activism

Gary J. Adler Jr.

NYU Press

Gary J. Adler, Jr.’s chapter argues that in discussions about undocumented immigration, progressive religious organizations and actors employ a style of “formal neutrality,” which allows them to represent “all sides” of this contentious debate and protect their “non-partisan” status. Based on participant observation with BorderLinks, a transnational organization that leads weeklong immersion trips across the U.S.-Mexico border as part of its strategy of “raising awareness, inspiring action” against the injustices done to undocumented migrants, immigrant communities, and border cities, the chapter finds that this “neutral” style of talk may not generate the activism that its practitioners hope, since it fails to fully connect the experiences of participants with narratives of injustice or pathways to potential action.

Keywords:   formal neutrality, non-partisan, BorderLinks, Mexico, border, undocumented migrants, narratives, injustice

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