Urban distress and political narrative: Life stories of local leaders in a poor, underprivileged suburb and the reconstruction of urban order

Urban distress and political narrative: Life stories of local leaders in a poor, underprivileged suburb and the reconstruction of urban order

By: Dahan Y.
Published in: Qualitative Social Work
SDGs : SDG 11  |  Units:   | Time: 2017 |  Link
Description: This study discusses the relations between life stories, political narratives and attitudes towards social problems take n by local leaders living in a poor, underprivileged suburb. Using the ‘biographical-narrative’ method, it addresses the questions—How do local conditions (in terms of: housing, social class, municipal policy, social networks, NGO settings, local conflicts, organizational narratives, etc.) affect local leaders’ narratives, biographies, attitudes and strategies and, vice versa—How do their narratives affect the urban order? In order to attain these answers, this paper presents two contradicting narratives, taken from two different local activists, both acting on behalf of the weak Arab population in an Israeli suburb at the turn of 21st century. The findings show that these divergent narratives and resultant attitudes were both deeply rooted in each narrator’s life story and close social milieu. Furthermore, such life stories, charged by certain biographical resources, generated and maintained particular strategies that, in turn, affected the reconstruction of their immediate urban socio-political order. Applying the ‘biographical-narrative’ method to the urban political realm has created a unique configuration of social analysis with some policy implications, especially in regard to community social work. © The Author(s) 2016.

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