column highlights books authored by UNM employees. The feature
runs semi-regularly in conjunction with campus events.
featured authors at the recent UNM Published Professors dinner
was Richard L. Wood, sociology associate professor and principal
investigator in the Institute for Social Research, who wrote,
Faith in Action, Religion, Race, and Democratic Organizing
in America, (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2002).
book, Wood describes the purpose and impact of faith-based organizations
making social change.
the last 15 years, various citizen groups have come together
in the United States around issues of equality and social justice,
frequently developed through local churches. Differing from
President George W. Bushs faith-based suggestion that
groups deliver services to the needy, these groups are interested
and active in changing public policy that neglects the underprivileged.
in Action, Wood compares two models for non-partisan political
organizing by Hispanic, African American, and white residents
of poor, working class, and middle class urban neighborhoods.
One model is based on an appeal to ethnic identity, the other
to religious commitment.
a political science and sociological perspective, Wood points
out strengths and weaknesses of democracy in America. Low-income
and minorities tend to lack political power, but by working
together they can create politicized civic associations.
Latinos and working class white people come together, pooling
their strengths and cultural resources through faith-based organizations,
are very effective at making change within a neighborhood or
locally, he said, but find difficulty in enacting national change.
Individual groups, racially or economically based, tend to approach
a particular shared experience. Faith-based groups are able
to think about issues with a more universal appeal, he said.
spoken to funders at the Rockefeller, Kellogg and Ford Foundations
and plans a trip to Los Altos, Calif., where he will speak to
a group of 70 clergy and professional organizers.
courses on ethnographic research, political sociology, social
movements, policing and the sociology of religion. In collaboration
with Interfaith Funders, New York, he serves as research director
for a study of the relationship between faith communities and
religiously based political organizations. He also serves as
the principal investigator in the APD-UNM Research Partnership
studying the impact of community policing models on day-to-day