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According to Tibetan tradition, the Dalai Lama is the incarnation of Avalokitesvara, the Buddha ofCompassion, who chose to be reincarnated so that hecould serve the people. To date there have been 14Dalai Lamas.

The First Dalai Lama was called Gedun Drupa.Born in 1391 in the Tsang region of Tibet to a nomadicfamily, he was ordained in 1411, became a renownedscholar of Buddhist teachings, and founded the TashiLhunpo monastery in Shigatse. He died in 1474.

The Second Dalai Lama, Gedun Gyatso, was bornto a farming family near Shigatse in 1475. When hewas 11 years old, he was recognized as the reincarna-tion of the First Dalai Lama. He died in 1542.

The Third Dalai Lama was called Sonam Gyatsoand was born in 1543 near Lhasa to a wealthy family.In 1546, he was recognized as the reincarnation ofGedun Gyatso. He was fully ordained when he was 22years old. He established the Namgyal monastery in1574, which still serves as the Dalai Lama’s personalmonastery. The Mongolian King Altan Khan con-ferred on him the title of Dalai Lama, which means“Ocean of Wisdom.” Sonam Gyatso died in 1588.

Yonten Gyatso was the Fourth Dalai Lama. Born in1589 in Mongolia to the Chokar tribal chieftain, hewas educated in Mongolia by Tibetan Lamas. He trav-eled to Tibet in 1601 and was ordained in 1614. Hedied at the age of 27.

The Fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso,was born in the Tsang region in 1617. Although he wasidentified as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, his dis-covery was kept secret until 1642, once the political tur-moil had settled down. He was a great scholar andwielded international political influence. He began theconstruction of the Potala Palace, which was not com-pleted before his death in 1682. His death was kept secretfor 15 years by telling people that the Dalai Lama wasengaged in a retreat. Occasionally, someone masqueradedas the Dali Lama so it would appear he was still alive.

Tsangyang Gyatso, the Sixth Dalai Lama was bornin 1682 in the Mon Tawang region of India. In 1697the Emperor and the people were finally informed ofthe death of the Fifth Dalai Lama and discovery of theSixth. In 1701 his advisor was killed and the youngDalai Lama, greatly disturbed by this event, rejectedthe monastic life and never became fully ordained.

In 1708, two years after the disappearance andassumed death of the Sixth Dalai Lama, the Seventh,Kelsang Gyatso, was born in Lithang. The uncertainpolitical situation prevented the young Dalai Lamafrom traveling to Lhasa to be trained, so he receivedhis training at Kumbum monastery. He was ordainedin 1726. Under his reign, the Dalai Lama became thespiritual and political leader of Tibet. He died in 1757.

The Eighth Dalai Lama, Jamphel Gyatso, was bornin 1758 in the Tsang region. His parents traced theirancestry to one of Tibet’s legendary heroes. He wastaken to the monastery in Shigatse at two and a halfyears old. He was ordained in 1777 and died in 1804.


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The Ninth Dalai Lama, Lungtok Gyatso, was bornin 1805. He died in 1815 when he was 9 years old.

Tsultrim Gyatso, the 10th Dalai Lama, was born in1816. He was fully ordained when he was 19 yearsold. He was always unhealthy and died in 1837.

The 11th Dalai Lama, Khedrup Gyatso, was bornin 1838. He was recognized as the new Dalai Lama in1841 and at a young age took over the political andspiritual responsibilities of the office. In 1856, he diedunexpectedly.

Trinley Gyatso, the 12th Dalai Lama, was born in1856 near Lhasa and was recognized in 1858. In 1873,he took over the political and spiritual responsibilitiesof Tibet. He died at the age of 20 in 1875.

The 13th Dalai Lama, Thupten Gyatso, was born in1876 to a peasant couple and was recognized in 1878.He assumed political power in 1895. He and some ofhis officials fled to India in 1909 after a Chinese inva-sion. In 1911, he returned to Tibet, where he exercisedstrong political power, attempting to modernize Tibetand to eliminate some of the more oppressive featuresof the Tibetan monastic system. He was responsiblefor establishing the Tibetan postal system, strengthen-ing the Tibetan military, and establishing the TibetanMedical Institute. He died in 1933.

The 14th Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso. He wasborn in 1935 in a small village in northeastern Tibet to a peasant family and was recognized at the age oftwo. In 1949, China invaded Tibet, forcing the DalaiLama to take over political control of Tibet in 1950. In1954 he attended peace talks in Beijing with Mao Tse-tung and other Chinese leaders. However in 1959,he fled to India to escape China’s brutal suppressionof the Tibetan uprising in Lhasa. Dharamsala in north-ern India is the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile. The Dalai Lama’s appeals to the United Nationsresulted in the General Assembly adopting resolutionson Tibet in 1959, 1961, and 1965.

Today, more than 120,000 Tibetans live in exile.The Dalai Lama saw one of the roles of the Tibetangovernment-in-exile as preserving Tibetan culture.Tibetan refugees and their children have educationaland cultural opportunities that maintain their lan-guage, history, religion, and culture. The Dali Lamahas also worked for a democratic government forTibet. He has declared that when Tibet is free, he will

surrender all political power and resume his life as anordinary citizen. Although he is the political and spiritual leader of Tibet, he sees himself as a Buddhistmonk.

The Dalai Lama is widely known as a man ofpeace and as a promoter of inter-religious under-standing. He consistently advocates nonviolent poli-cies and received the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize for hisnonviolent struggle for the liberation of Tibet. In1987, the Dali Lama proposed a Five-Point PeacePlan for Tibet to make Tibet a free and safe zone foreveryone. He has traveled throughout the world and has met with many heads of state, religious leaders, and even famous scientists. He has writtennumerous books, and has received numerous prizesand awards acknowledging his commitment to peaceand unity.

—Lynn W. Zimmerman

Further Readings

Dalai Lama. (1983). My land my people, memoirs of theDalai Lama of Tibet. New York: Potala.

Dalai Lama. (1990). A policy of kindness. Ithaca, NY: SnowLion.

Dalai Lama. (1991). Freedom in exile: The autobiography ofthe Dalai Lama. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.

Dalai Lama. (1992). Worlds in harmony: Dialogues oncompassionate action. Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press.

Dalai Lama. (1996). The good heart: A Buddhist perspectiveon the teachings of Jesus. Somerville, MA: Wisdom.

The Nobel Foundation. (1989). The 14th Dalai Lama.Retrieved May 1, 2006, from

The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. (n.d.) HisHoliness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. Retrieved May 1,2006, from

The Office of Tibet. (1999). The government of Tibet in exile.His holiness the Dalai Lama. Retrieved May 1, 2006,from



Roque Dalton was a writer and revolutionary born in El Salvador on May 14, 1935, and murdered on May

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10, 1975. He studied law and anthropology at the uni-versities of El Salvador, Chile, and Mexico; worked injournalism; and dedicated himself to literature. Hereceived several national and international awards.Because of his activities and militant politics, he wasimprisoned several times and lived in exile in countriessuch as Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, Czechoslovakia,Korea, and North Vietnam.

During his life he wrote, struggled, suffered, loved,and died at the hands of his own companions, and thatis why Dalton is a considered such a nuisance forthose who still deny that another world is possible.

Dalton’s literary works were published worldwideand have been gathered in dozens of anthologies (someof them bilingual) in the United States, Europe, andLatin America. Some of them are Mine, Together Withthe Birds (1958), The Window in the Face (poetry,Mexico, 1961, introduced by Mauricio de la Selva),Testimonies (poetry, La Habana, UNEAC, 1963), CesarVallejo (essay, LA Habana, 1963), The Other World(1963), Poems (1967), Intellectuals and Society (con-versations with writers, Mexico D.F., 1969, translatedto Italian), The Tavern and Other Poems (1969, Casa delas Americas Award), Little Hells (poetry, Barcelona,1970, introduced by Jose Goytisolo), Is Revolution theRevolution? (1970), and The Forbidden Stories of TomThumb (prose and poems, Mexico, 1974). In 1997,Dalton was named “Meritorious Poet of the Republic”in El Salvador.

—Adrian Oscar Scribano

See also FMLN

Further Readings

Dalton, R. (1996). Small hours of the night. Willimantic, CT:Curbstone Press.

García Verzi, H. (1986). Recopilación de textos sobre RoqueDalton. La Habana: Casa de las Américas, serieValoración Múltiple.


Dance contributes to social change, civic engagement,and activism in multiple ways. Dance can be the

antithesis of the values of modern-day capitalism,providing a vehicle for building community andunderstanding across social boundaries, resistingoppression by contributing to the cultural continuityof oppressed peoples, asking questions and reflectingon sociopolitical discourse through choreography, andembodying social change, simultaneously creatingand reflecting social movements toward equality.

The history of dance is somewhat difficult to doc-ument, given the ephemeral nature of the form. Danceleaves traces only in pictures, in written and oraldescriptions, and by being passed on from dancer to dancer through generations. It can be hypothesizedthat dance has existed in every culture throughouthistory, and has served social, religious/spiritual, andartistic functions. In many ways, dance maintains thestatus quo. In social dances, gender roles and rules of acceptable social behavior are defined. In courtdances of all cultures, the aristocracy or monarchy isheralded and praised. Religious/spiritual dances passon traditional modes of worship. The presentation ofdance on proscenium stage, and the development ofdance as an entertainment, divided spectator andperformer and developed a particular elitism in the artform, connected to the development of physical virtu-osity and highly selective skills that segregate dancersfrom the general public.

However, dance is used in many ways to challengeand change the status quo. Dancing is rooted in physi-cal activity of the body and therefore produces physicalawareness. This body consciousness is a counterpointto the body/mind separation of Western culture. Thebody/mind separation subordinates kinesthetic knowl-edge in a hierarchy of knowledge that privileges logicalreasoning and concrete evidence instead of the knowl-edge that is located in the body: emotions, intuition,and physical skill. Dancing subverts this hierarchy byaffirming the body’s knowledge and its importance,with the potential to develop a morality that is based onemotional responsiveness. Furthermore, dancing inher-ently resists the lexicon of capitalism. There is no prod-uct to buy or sell. Once a dance is over, it is gone. Itcannot be effectively captured or purchased. The act of producing dance defies capitalism’s emphasis onefficiency, using time and resources for an end result that is transitory and impermanent. Dancing creates

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community and cross-cultural understanding, unifyingparticipants and offering a transformation that is viscer-ally experienced. From head-banging to ballroomdancing, movement produces a physical release thatcounteracts the weight of oppression and cultivates joy.Through dancing, people connect with each other.Additionally, learning the steps of another culture’sdance contributes to cross-cultural understanding.Although movement is not a universal language—different cultures have different symbolic systems—thebody is a universal instrument that every human canrelate to. In this way, physicality is a uniting force, acommon ground for creating community. When har-nessed to form solidarity and inclusiveness, dance canbe a powerful tool for ending social isolation andsegregation.

Dancing contributes to cultural continuity, playingan important role in resisting colonialism, imperi-alism, and cultural obliteration. Only one of manyexamples, African slaves used dance to maintain theircultural traditions and identity, during (and after) slav-ery in the Americas. This continuity can be seen incontemporary settings in hip-hop and reggae dances,which carry the same emphasis on polyrhythms andbody part isolations. People of the African diasporaalso use dance to continue their religious traditions,which use dance and music as a means of worship.The continuation of African-based religious practicesin the Western Hemisphere demonstrates the power ofdance as a means of resistance to cultural obliteration.

In addition to the inherent ways dance contributesto activism, in the 20th and 21st century, choreogra-phers have used dance as a vehicle for making politi-cal statements and asking questions about the world.There is a long tradition of anti-war choreography,beginning with Kurt Jooss’s ballet The Green Table,War Lyrics by Jose Limon, Docudance: Nine ShortDances About the Defense Budget and Other MilitaryMatters by Liz Lerman, Oh Beautiful by DeborahHay, and one: an anti-war dance by Juliette Mapp.Choreographers have created work about a widebreadth of sociopolitical issues: race and racism, theHIV/AIDS epidemic, poverty, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender identities, and feminism and the experi-ence of women. Because dance begins with the body,

dance often relies on an element of personal history, aunique lens on sociopolitical issues. Of many choreo-graphers, Ralph Lemon and Maura Nguyen Donahueuse personal history as a portal to reflecting on largersociopolitical issues of race and identity, incorporat-ing performance traditions from around the world.

Choreographers also address sociopolitical issuesthrough working in communities. Jawole Willa JoZollar and her company, Urban Bush Women, are com-mitted to using dance theater as a catalyst for socialchange through telling the stories of disenfranchisedpeople, focused especially on the traditions of womenin the African diaspora. To that end, Urban BushWomen also engages in community work, throughprograms like their Summer Institute, which connectsprofessionals and community artists to further the useof dance for social change. Zollar also includes com-munity members in the creation and refinement of herchoreography. For Hair Stories of 2001, Zollar held“hair parties,” gatherings at various community andhomes through which Zollar invited participants to dis-cuss hair, view sections of the performance, and buildrelationships between themselves and the company.

The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange is renowned forits community-based work, pursuing the expansion ofthe definition of dance and dance with an intergenera-tional group of dancers, and working on projects toinvolve communities in the process of making dance.Liz Lerman began working with performers of diversebackgrounds in 1975 in her piece Woman of the ClearVision, which included professional dancers andadults from a senior center. Since then, Liz Lermanhas been celebrated for developing innovative ways tomake community-based art.

In addition to community-based work, choreogra-phers have developed ways to involve the audience intheir performances, challenging the passive role of thespectator. Based on the recognition of the audience asintegral in creating meaning through their individualinterpretations of choreography, interactive danceperformance emphasizes the agency and power of theaudience member. In Pulling the Wool: An AmericanLandscape of Truth and Deception from 2004, JillSigman transformed a two-story gymnasium into a mul-timedia performance carnival for audience members to

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navigate, making choices about how they interacted andreacted to the performance. Sigman views this ability toshape their experience as an expression of civic agency.Instead of expressing a single political statement, theperformance revealed ambiguity and was open for mul-tiple interpretations. In this way, questioning is activismas it cultivates an engagement with the world.

Similarly, site-specific choreography offers thepotential to involve the audience by offering thepasserby an unexpected experience. If placed in aprominent and public space, the performance disruptsthe flow of everyday life and shifts the viewer’sconsciousness, developing an interface betweenperformer and the public. In Salvage/Salvation from2001, Clarinda Mac Low created environments on asite, using only the discarded materials found there.The piece always generated conversation with pedes-trians who asked about what they are doing. Throughdialogue and shifted awareness, choreography has thepotential to transform the individual.

Developments in dance—such as the birth ofmodern dance, contact improvisation, and danceaccessibility—embody, create, and reflect socialchange. The beginning of modern dance in the early20th century demonstrated (and somewhat preceded)changing social values. Discarding the formality of bal-let and the perceived superficiality of vaudeville, mod-ern dance reveled in more natural, organic movementthat cherished individual expression, dance for dance’ssake, and the human condition. In the 1960s the growthof contact improvisation reflected changing rolesbetween genders, eradicating the status quo in dancewhere only men lift and support women, and creatinginstead fluid partnerships between all genders, whereeveryone could play a physically supporting role.Contact improvisation was part of dance investigationshappening at Judson Church in Greenwich Village,where many choreographers were questioning whatdance is, stripping dance down to movement essentialsand rejecting ideals of virtuosity and special technique.These developments can be seen as a demonstration ofthe social changes happening in America during thecivil rights and anti-war movements, where manysocial norms were questioned and equality demanded.Similarly, the dance accessibility movement in England

reflects the growth of the disability rights movement.Several professional dance companies in England arededicated to the inclusion of differently abled dancersand challenge ideas of who can be a dancer.

When used intentionally, dance is a powerful toolfor asking questions about the world, connectingpeople, reflecting and discussing political viewpoints,and awakening personal change. Dance is literally themovement of social movements, the embodiment ofchange and transformation.

—Jesse Phillips-Fein

See also Guerrilla Girls; Hip-Hop; Performativity; Play,Creativity, and Social Movements; Postmodernism;Radical Cheerleaders

Further Readings

Albright, A. (1997). Choreographing difference: The bodyand identity in contemporary dance. Middletown, CT:Wesleyan University Press.

Albright, A. (2001). Moving history/dancing cultures:A dance history reader. Middletown, CT: WesleyanUniversity Press.

Auslander, P. (1992). Presence and resistance. Ann Arbor:University of Michigan Press.

Banes, S. (1983). Democracy’s body: Judson dance theater,1962–1964. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Daly, A. (2002). Critical gestures: Writings on dance &culture. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.

Daniel, Y. (2005). Dancing wisdom: Embodied knowledge inHaitian vodou, Cuban yoruba, and Bahian condemlé.Chicago: University of Illinois.

Foster, S. (1995). Corporealities: Dancing, knowledge, andpower. Oxford, UK: Routledge.

Graff, E. (1997). Stepping left: Dance and politics in NewYork City, 1928–1942. Durham, NC: Duke UniversityPress.

Martin, R. (1998). Critical moves. Durham, NC: DukeUniversity Press.



Clarence Darrow has been called the Attorney for the Damned. In his long legal career as a courtroom

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lawyer, he defended African Americans, murderers,communists, anarchists, labor radicals, socialists, andiconoclastic classroom teachers. Darrow was a long-time opponent of the death penalty, and his celebratedcross-examination of William Jennings Bryan in theinfamous Tennessee “monkey trial” of biology teacherJohn T. Scopes set back the anti-evolution forces formany decades in the public schools.

Darrow was born in Kinsman, Ohio, the fifth childof Amirus and Emily Eddy Darrow. His father had beenprepared in theology, but somewhere in his educationhe lost his faith and never preached. Growing up,Darrow recognized that his father was considered thevillage infidel, a sobriquet he accepted rather proudly.

Darrow never liked school and even through lawschool he devalued formal education, believing itproduced narrow minds and not true learning. He wasparticularly critical of the morality embedded in theschool books of the day. The young Darrow deeplyresented the forced attendance at Sunday school,which later became the source of a lifelong irrever-ence for organized religion.

Although Clarence briefly attended AlleghenyCollege, he did not graduate. He became a schoolteacher in a nearby town. As a teacher he abolishedcorporal punishment in the school and expanded thelunch break. He also had time to study law. Later heattended the University of Michigan’s law school butagain did not graduate. He apprenticed to an attorneyand passed the Ohio bar at age 21. A short time later hebegan the practice of law, first in Andover and later inAshtabula. He learned that he could not be a dispas-sionate advocate. He had to believe in his client and inthe cause. He moved to Chicago in 1887. Almostimmediately he became involved with John P. Altgeld,the leading Democratic radical of his time, who laterbecame governor of Illinois. During this period,Altgeld gave Darrow many lessons on power politics.

From his Chicago law office, Clarence Darrow wasat the heart of many celebrated cases in the turbulenceof the early 19th century. He became the attorney forthe United Mine Workers. In 1906 he went to Idaho todefend Big Bill Haywood, secretary-treasurer of theWestern Federation of Miners, who was accused ofmurdering ex-Governor Frank Steunenberg. Darrow

gave a long and impassioned plea to the jury. BillHaywood was acquitted.

Darrow went to Los Angeles, where he defendedthree union men accused of being involved in thebombing of the Los Angeles Times. What Darrowfaced in California was bleak. One of the men arrestedwith the bombers had turned state’s evidence and con-fessed to the plot. It was soon revealed that his clientswere actually guilty. Darrow did not want a trial andhe did not want certain documents made public impli-cating the union. He tried for a negotiated sentence.The bombers changed their plea to guilty. The unionsbacking them were aghast, and Darrow’s days as aunion attorney ended. A short while later, he had todefend himself against charges that he had tried tobribe prospective jurors. While Darrow pled inno-cence and spent 8 months defending himself, a care-ful review of his case by Geoffrey Cowan, a publicinterest lawyer and a faculty member at UCLA, con-cluded that he indeed had tried to bribe two jurors inthis case. However, after a long and tearful plea byDarrow at his trial, he obtained a not guilty verdict.Darrow then restarted his legal career with a publicpledge to continue to help the poor. With few excep-tions he stuck to his word.

Darrow today is known as the lawyer whodefended John T. Scopes in the famous Tennesseeevolution trial encapsulated in the Broadway play and film Inherit the Wind. His defense of Loeb andLeopold, who tried to commit the perfect murder, theplot of the novel and film Compulsion, was anotherlegal epoch. His defense of an African Americanfamily who defended themselves against a white mobin Detroit with an all-white jury in 1926 resulted in averdict of not guilty.

Clarence Darrow was neither the perfect man northe perfect lawyer. But few in his profession have lefta record of serving the cause of social justice for thepoor or the oppressed as well as he did, then or now.

—Fenwick W. English

See also Activism, Social and Political; Anarchism;Communism; Debs, Eugene V.; Dissent; Gompers,Samuel; Marshall, Thurgood; Southern Poverty LawCenter; Violence, Theories of

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Further Readings

Cowan, G. (1993). The people v. Clarence Darrow. NewYork: Random House.

Tierney, K. (1979). Darrow: A biography. New York: ThomasY. Crowell.

Weinberg, A. (Ed.). (1989). Attorney for the damned:Clarence Darrow in the courtroom. Chicago: Universityof Chicago Press. (Original work published 1957)



Charles Darwin was the British naturalist who first for-mulated the theory of biological evolution by naturalselection, widely regarded as the most significantscientific achievement of the 19th century. Darwin’spaternal grandfather was the 18th-century physicianand freethinker Erasmus Darwin, who wrote a specu-lative work on biological evolution, titled Zoönomia,in the 1790s. His maternal grandfather was JosiahWedgwood, founder of the famous pottery. Darwingrew up in Shropshire and later attended EdinburghUniversity to study medicine, but soon discovered hedid not have the stomach for it. Transferring to Christ’sCollege, Cambridge, he came under the influence ofJohn Stevens Henslow, professor of botany. In 1831,Henslow arranged for Darwin to join a surveyingvoyage on HMS Beagle as personal companion to the ship’s captain, Robert FitzRoy. The voyage lastednearly 5 years and was the turning point in Darwin’slife. The Beagle took him to South America, theGalapagos Islands, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, andsouthern Africa, before returning to England in 1836.

During his long trip, Darwin made detailed geolog-ical, botanical, and zoological observations and accu-mulated a large collection of specimens. Back inEngland, he gained respect for his work as a geologist,including a novel theory of the origin of coral reefs,but by this time Darwin had also privately rejectedorthodox accounts of the origin of biological species,which viewed them as having been created in prettymuch their present forms. His observations of thesimilarities between living and fossil mammals, and

between the distinct species of plants and animals onthe Galapagos Islands and their counterparts on theSouth American mainland, persuaded him that biolog-ical evolution had taken place, even though he was notyet sure how. Within a few years, Darwin had elabo-rated his entire theory of evolution, the crucial ideabeing that evolution is the result of natural selection,whereby organisms that are better adapted to theirenvironments are more likely to survive and repro-duce, thus passing on their advantageous traits to thenext generation.

Although Darwin formulated his theory as early as1837, it was to be more than 20 years before he finallymade it public. The main reason for this delay was hisnervousness about challenging the dogmas of ortho-dox religion, regarded by the upper classes as a bul-wark of the status quo during a period of social unrestin early Victorian Britain. In 1839, the indepen-dently wealthy Darwin married his cousin, EmmaWedgwood, who unlike him was devoutly religious,adding a personal dimension to this conflict. Darwinand his wife moved to Down House in Kent, and fromthis period onwards, Darwin was in poor health,which some have speculated was exacerbated by hisintellectual anxieties.

Darwin did not go public until 1858, after learningthat the young Welsh naturalist Alfred Russel Wallacehad reached similar conclusions. The following year, Darwin published his masterpiece, The Origin ofSpecies, which makes a methodical case for evolution.Darwin argues that natural selection is a real process,analogous to the way in which plant and animalbreeders can dramatically alter the characteristics of agroup of organisms over a series of generations bypermitting only individuals with desired traits toreproduce. In the natural world, a population of organ-isms can become better and better adapted to itsenvironment over time, and the characteristics of itsmembers at the end of the process may be very differ-ent from those of their ancestors. Darwin goes on toargue that natural selection is capable of giving risenot simply to new varieties but to new species, andthat it can in principle account for all the characteris-tics of existing organisms, even organs of extremeperfection like the human eye.

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Finally, Darwin presents an enormous quantity ofevidence that natural selection is not only a possibleexplanation of the origin of species, but that it is theonly reasonable one. The data range from the patternof development revealed in the fossil record, to factsabout the geographical distribution of organisms,to structural and developmental similarities betweenotherwise very different living things. Darwin demon-strates that his view can provide satisfying explana-tions of such matters, while from the point of view ofthose who believe in divine creation, they remainconundrums.

Even though Darwin avoided the issue of humanevolution in the Origin (a subject he was later todiscuss at length in The Descent of Man of 1871), itspublication inevitably sparked intense controversy.Darwin’s theory banishes preordained purposes fromnature and implies that mental phenomena emergewhen matter is arranged in complex ways. One early reviewer condemned Darwin’s views for theirunflinching materialism, and figures such as SamuelWilberforce, the Bishop of Oxford, attacked evolutionfrom a religious perspective. But Darwin, who did notengage in the public debate, was ably defended by hisscientific supporters, including Joseph Hooker andThomas Huxley. Within less than a decade, the bulk ofthe scientific establishment had been won over to evo-lution, although it took longer for natural selection tobe accepted as the central mechanism.

Although Darwin’s ideas were initially viewed as achallenge to the existing social order, attempts weresoon made to use them in its support. The politicaltheorist Herbert Spencer formulated the doctrine ofSocial Darwinism, defending laissez-faire economicson the grounds that it represented the principle of the“survival of the fittest” applied to human society.Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, founded the eugen-ics movement, which viewed social inequalities ashaving a biological basis and advocated interventionto “improve” the human stock. Eugenics went out offashion following its use by the Nazis in the 1930s and1940s, but new attempts to use Darwinian ideas toexplain social inequality have emerged in recentdecades, including sociobiology and evolutionarypsychology. In turn, these developments have been

criticized as ideological misapplications of Darwin-ism by biologists such as Stephen Jay Gould.

—Philip Gasper

See also Eugenics Movement

Further Readings

Desmond, A., & Moore, J. (1994). Darwin: The life of atormented evolutionist. New York: W. W. Norton.

Hodge, J., & Radick, G. (Eds.). (2003). The Cambridgecompanion to Darwin. New York: Cambridge UniversityPress.

Ridley, M. (Ed.). (1996). The Darwin reader (2nd ed.). NewYork: W. W. Norton.


(1944– )

Angela Yvonne Davis represents both the typical and the paradoxical in the most-celebrated blackAmerican experience. Typical is the convergence inher of the brilliant intellectual—she is a philosopher,a theoretician of black liberation, a feminist theorist,and a writer—and the indefatigable activist. Para-doxical is her having once been among FBI’s 10 mostwanted criminals, and having later been recognized bythe establishment as a historical force with whom tobe reckoned.

Davis was born on January 26, 1944, inBirmingham, Alabama. She was inspired from anearly age by the alert consciousness of members ofher family. Her mother, Sallye Davis, as a college stu-dent, participated in the campaign for the freedom of the Scottsboro Boys and was an activist of theNational Association for the Advancement of ColoredPeople (NAACP), despite the ban on that organizationin Birmingham.

Davis went to Carrie A. Tuggle Elementary Schoolin her hometown, which had the distinction of offer-ing classes in African American culture. She laterattended Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York,where she was enrolled in a program for promisingsouthern black students, sponsored by the American

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Friends Service Committee. It was there that she cameacross the Communist Manifesto, which, in her ownwords, had a most powerful impact on her. The originof her commitment to concrete, practical contributionto the struggle for social change can also be traced tothis time. Her earliest activities revolved aroundAdvance, a youth organization associated with theCommunist Party.

Immediately upon completion of her high schoolstudies, Davis was offered a scholarship by BrandeisUniversity. She was one of only three black first-yearstudents. Two of her greatest experiences at Brandeiswere hearing James Baldwin and Malcolm X oncampus. A number of other events accounted for thegrowth of her international vision. She was a delegateto the Eighth World Festival for Youth and Students inHelsinki, Finland. She was also sent for her junioracademic year to the Sorbonne, in France, which wasin the grips of youthful revolutionary fervor.

In 1962 Davis met the renowned philosopherHerbert Marcuse, who became her tutor. After gradu-ating from Brandeis, Davis proceeded for graduatework in philosophy to the University of Frankfurt, inGermany. Another famous philosopher, TheodorAdorno, agreed to supervise her Ph.D. dissertation,which was to be in the area of critical theory.

At Frankfurt, Davis was receiving news of theescalation of the black liberation movement. She wasshocked by the Birmingham bombing of 1963. Then,in 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated, and unprece-dented riots broke out in Selma, Alabama, and inWatts, Los Angeles. Davis realized that she could notcontinue with her academic work unless she was alsopolitically involved.

She returned to the United States to continue herpostgraduate research under the supervision of Marcuseat the University of California at San Diego (UCSD).There, she successfully campaigned for the introductionof programs in ethnic studies, and black studies in par-ticular. Her argument was that the philosophical view-point contained in the literature of black experience wassuperior to that propounded by privileged white philoso-phers, and it had a transformative power.

While at UCSD, she also ran a so-called liberationacademy for a poor black community at Los Angeles.

Together with Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, andothers, in 1966 she set up the Oakland-based BlackPanther Party, and was involved in the nationalStudent Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Mostsignificantly, she became a member of the CommunistParty of America, a decision that was to have graveconsequences for her life.

Having passed her preliminary doctoral examina-tions, and without adequate financial means to con-tinue with her dissertation, Davis applied for and wasgranted a teaching position at the University ofCalifornia at Los Angeles (UCLA). She was assigneda course in Recurring Philosophical Themes in BlackLiterature. Her two initial lectures on the life and timesof Frederick Douglass offer an analysis of freedom andthe role of education in reaching a level of conscious-ness that requires that the recognition of one’s freedomby others be seen as an absolute condition for life.Illustrious examples of scholarship, they were publishedin 1971 under the title Lectures of Liberation.

Davis’s first term at UCLA had just started, whenthe governor of California, Ronald Reagan, and theUniversity of California Board of Regents decided tofire her because of her membership in the CommunistParty. Several years of legal battle followed. Eventually,the court fight against the state law prohibiting stateuniversities from hiring communists ended successfullyfor her, and her contract at UCLA was renewed.

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Angela Yvonne Davis (1944– )

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In 1970, Davis was charged in court with conspir-acy, kidnapping, and murder, and if convicted, she wasto face the death penalty under California law. This wasin connection with an attempt by a young black man torescue three black convicts, who were falsely accusedof killing a Soledad Prison guard. Evidence of Davis’sproclaimed complicity in the operation was sought dueto the fact that one of the guns the youth carried wasregistered in her name, and also because of her activeinvolvement in the campaign for the release of the threevictims, who had become commonly known as theSoledad Brothers. She had persistently argued that theywere political prisoners and not criminals, as viewed bythe state. (Years later the murder charges against themwere dropped.) Her long-standing commitment to pris-oners’ rights has its origin in that experience.

Frightened by the horrendous frame-up, Davis wentunderground, earning her a place on the FBI’s ten mostwanted list, and she was hunted nationwide. She wassoon apprehended and incarcerated. Almost immedi-ately after her arrest, a worldwide “Free Angela Davis”movement sprang to life. In July 1972, after 21 monthsin jail, denied bail, maltreated, Davis was acquitted by a jury of all three charges. By this time she hadbecome an international symbol of the black liberationmovement.

In prison, Davis devoted much of her time to theeducation of incarcerated women and the develop-ment of a spirit of solidarity among them. Today sheremains a staunch advocate of prison abolition; shehas also offered a sustained criticism of racism in thecriminal justice system.

She was still in custody when the collection of essays, If They Come in the Morning: Voices ofResistance of 1971, which she edited, was published.Soon after, she embarked on her second book, AngelaDavis: An Autobiography (1974). Besides being whatshe calls a political account of the people, events, andforces that formed her involvement in the struggle ofblack Americans, the book is also a philosophical dis-cussion of such issues as race, class, gender, revolution,social transformation, commitment, organizational work,and political prisoners.

Since 1972, Davis has always had a large national,as well as international, platform to address through

public speaking, articles in magazines and journals,and books. She has lectured throughout the UnitedStates, as well as in Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean.She has continued to actively participate in manypolitical struggles for freedom and justice.

Central to her career has been her work in educa-tion. She has taught at various departments at a number of California universities, her lengthiest association having been with San Francisco StateUniversity (1978–1991) and the San Francisco ArtInstitute (1977–1989). In 1990 and 1991 she was aninstructor in the Education Program of the SanFrancisco County Jail. In 1994, she was granted the prestigious appointment to the University ofCalifornia Presidential Chair in African American andFeminist Studies. Since 1995, she has been a profes-sor in the History of Consciousness Department at theUniversity of California at Santa Cruz, teaching criti-cal theory. Through her writing, especially her books,Women, Race, and Class (1981); Women, Culture, andPolitics (1989); and her most recent works, Davis has played a significant role in the reformation ofMarxism and the development of critical theory, blackliberation theory, and feminist theory.

—Emilia Ilieva

See also Activism, Social and Political; Advocacy; Anti-Prison Movement; Anti-Racist Teaching; Baldwin, James;Black Panther Party; Black Power; Civil RightsMovement; Communism; Communist Manifesto;Communist Party USA; Douglass, Frederick; Feminism;Literature and Activism; Malcolm X; Marcuse, Herbert;Marxist Theory; Student Nonviolent CoordinatingCommittee (SNCC); Youth Organizing and Activism

Further Readings

Davis, A. (1971). Lectures on liberation. New York:New York Committee.

Davis, A. (1974). Angela Davis: An autobiography.New York: Random House.

Davis, A. (1981). Women, race, and class. New York:Random House.

Davis, A. (1989). Women, culture, and politics. New York:Random House.

Davis, A. (1996, Summer). Black women and the academy.Callaloo, 17(2), 422–431.

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Davis, A. (1998). Blues legacies and black feminism:Gertrude ‘Ma’ Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday.New York: Vintage Books.

Davis, A. (2003). Are prisons obsolete? New York: SevenStories Press.

Davis, A., & Aptheker, B. (Eds.). (1971). If they came in themorning: Voices of resistance. New York: Third Press.

Perkins, M. (2000). Autobiography as activism: Three blackwomen of the sixties. Jackson: University Press ofMississippi.



Ossie Davis was one of the most renowned AfricanAmerican personalities in modern American culture,as well as a passionate advocate for social justice. As anactor, playwright, producer, and director, he not onlyenriched American life through the excellence of histheatrical and cinematic achievements, but also helpedtransform it along the lines of multicultural humanism.

Davis studied playwriting at Howard University inWashington and then moved to New York to pursueacting under Lloyd Richards. He forged friendshipswith Father Divine, W. E. B. Du Bois, A. PhilipRandolph, Langston Hughes, and Richard Wright.Davis joined the Rose McClendon Players and firstappeared in Joy Exceeding Glory in Harlem in 1941.

Back from military service after World War II, hemade his debut on Broadway in Jeb, where he playedthe title role of a returning soldier who faces racistattacks. He became distinguished for roles dealingwith racial injustice and imbued with dignity.

In 1959, he starred on Broadway in A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. It was named bestAmerican play of that year by the New York DramaCritics Circle. In such other notable stage perfor-mances as No Time for Sergeants, The Wisteria Trees,Green Pastures, Jamaica, Ballad for Bimshire, TheZulu and the Zayda, and I’m Not Rappaport, he bril-liantly articulated the pride, the hope, and the suffer-ing of being black in America.

Davis’s first movie role was in No Way Out in1950, Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s lauded story of racial

hatred, starring Sidney Poitier. His television debutwas in 1955 in The Emperor Jones. He wrote anddirected Cotton Comes to Harlem in 1970, one of thefirst “blaxploitation” films (a genre that refashionedblack characterization), and many other films. Hisbreakthrough as a playwright came in 1961 withPurlie Victorious, a satire on racial stereotypes. ForUs the Living: The Story of Medgar Evers is amonghis best-known television films.

Davis was married to fellow actress Ruby Dee.They became a revered couple of the American stage,two of the most prolific and courageous artists in American culture, and two of the most prominentblack role models in Hollywood. Throughout theircareers, Davis and Dee worked toward overcomingracial exclusion in the entertainment world and helpedopen new opportunities for African American actors.

In the 1950s, the couple was nearly blacklisted for protesting the communist witch-hunting ofMcCarthyism. They raised legal fees for black victimsof racial injustices and spoke out on such issues asvoting rights and police brutality. The two wereamong the key organizers of the 1963 March onWashington. Two years later, Davis delivered a mem-orable eulogy for his assassinated friend, Malcolm X.Davis supported progressive causes until his death.

—Emilia Ilieva and Lennox Odiemo-Munara

See also Activism, Social and Political; Advocacy; CivilRights Movement; Du Bois, W. E. B.; Evers, Medgar;Film; Hansberry, Lorraine; Hollywood Blacklists; Hughes,Langston; Malcolm X; Multiculturalism

Further Readings

Cutler, J. K. (1999). Struggles for representation: AfricanAmerican documentary film and video. Bloomington:Indiana University Press.

Davis, O., & Dee, R. (1998). With Ossie and Ruby: In thislife together. New York: Morrow.

Donalson, M. (2003). Black directors in Hollywood. Austin:University of Texas Press.

Hill, E. G., & Hatch, J. V. (2003). A history of AfricanAmerican theatre. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UniversityPress.

Rhines, J. A. (1996). Black film/white money. NewBrunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

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Dorothy Day is best known as the cofounder of theCatholic Worker movement. In 1932, Day and PeterMaurin established a radical, pacifist organizationrooted in the Catholic tradition that provides direct ser-vices to the poor and promotes social justice throughnonviolent protest and activism. By her own recogni-tion, her life was divided in two parts. Her early yearswere marked by her devotion to radical causes, as wellas a bohemian lifestyle that included love affairs, anabortion, a common-law marriage, and the birth of achild out of wedlock. This phase ended with her con-version in 1927 to Roman Catholicism, an act that wasthe culmination of nearly a decade of spiritual search-ing, shortly after the birth of her daughter. Her extraor-dinary gifts began to reach their full fruition 5 yearslater when with Maurin she married her deep commit-ment to Catholicism and her radical beliefs by estab-lishing the Catholic Worker movement. A journalistthroughout her life, she is well regarded for her sub-stantial body of writing (much of it first printed in her daily column in the movement’s newspaper, theCatholic Worker). At the time of her death in 1980, shewas widely heralded both for her activism in service ofthe poor and for her singular contribution to AmericanCatholicism in the 20th century.

Dorothy Day was born in Brooklyn, New York, onNovember 8, 1897, the third of five children. Early inDay’s life, her family moved briefly to San Francisco,but after the earthquake in 1906 they settled perma-nently in the Chicago area. Although she was baptizedas an Episcopalian, Day later actively rejectedreligion. She attended the University of Illinois for 2 years, but dropped out prior to graduation in order tomove to New York City in 1916 to become a writer for a variety of socialist publications. She joined theIndustrial Workers of the World (IWW), participatedin numerous protests, and was jailed while demon-strating in favor of women’s suffrage. Her friends andcompanions included activists, artists, writers, andjournalists who supported radical and socialist causes,including Jack Reed, Malcolm Cowrey, and Eugene

O’Neill. Even during this period of agnosticism, how-ever, she would often follow a night of drinking in aGreenwich Village saloon with friends like O’Neillwith silent participation in mass at St. Joseph’s Parishacross the street, as she reports in her autobiographyThe Long Loneliness.

In 1918, she worked briefly as a nurse’s aide inKings County Hospital. While there, she met anorderly with whom she had a brief affair, resulting ina pregnancy, which she terminated. She drifted afterthis, traveling and working as a journalist. In Chicago,Day worked on a communist newspaper, and whilestaying in an IWW flophouse she was mistakenlyarrested as a prostitute in a raid. She documented thisexperience, as well as other prison stays, in her writ-ing, which to this day remains a vivid account of theindignities experienced daily by the poor in the crim-inal justice system.

Although she did not mention her union in her ownaccounts of her life, recent biographies of Day establishthat this period was followed by a very brief failed mar-riage when she returned to New York. It hardly lasted aslong as her honeymoon trip to Europe. The great loveof Day’s life was Forster Battenham, an anarchist andbiologist whom she would later call her common-lawhusband. In 1924 she published a novel, The EleventhVirgin, which was largely based on her own life, includ-ing her abortion. With the proceeds of this unremark-able book she was able to buy a small cottage on StatenIsland near the ocean, in a colony known as the SpanishCamp. Here she lived a bohemian existence withBattenham, Cowley, Caroline Gordon, and others.

The seeds of Day’s conversion to Catholicism tookroot in her domestic life with Battenham when shediscovered that she was once again pregnant. Deeplyhappy, she determined to have her child baptized aCatholic. She named their daughter Tamar Teresa, theformer name a Hebrew word meaning “tree,” the latterin honor of a great saint and doctor of the RomanCatholic Church. Her own baptism followed shortlyafter, an act that Day knew would result in the dissolu-tion of her relationship with Battenham, who as ananarchist and an atheist would neither marry her noraccept her new devotion. Day herself gives the bestreports of this spiritual journey in two books. The first,

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From Union Square to Rome, was an account of herconversion (from the perspective of a former commu-nist, as Paul Elie has noted) published in 1938. Thesecond is a more candid and spiritual account, her auto-biography The Long Loneliness, published in 1952.

After her split with Tamar’s father, Day and herdaughter survived on a variety of freelance writingjobs that took her to Hollywood, Mexico, and otherplaces, finally returning to New York. In her autobiog-raphy, Day describes how in 1932 she found herself inWashington observing a communist march in supportof the poor. Day credits her disenchantment with theanti-religious stance of communism, her subsequentvisit to the National Shrine of the ImmaculateConception in prayerful search for new, Catholic-inspired work for the poor, and the near miraculousappearance of Peter Maurin when she returned to NewYork with the formation of her life’s work, theCatholic Worker. From that point on Maurin was aseminal influence on her thinking.

Maurin was a French Catholic peasant who believedthat Catholic thought needed to be married to the radi-cal commitment to the poor embodied by some socialmovements of the time. An itinerant preacher andphilosopher, he proclaimed his truths on soapboxes inUnion Square and by all accounts was a compelling ifeccentric figure. He and Day conceived a movementthat eventually would be founded on three pillars: pub-lication of a daily newspaper, the Catholic Worker, soldon street corners for a penny; the creation of houses ofhospitality to provide respite and food for the poor andindigent; and the creation of communal, self-sufficientfarms to support this work.

From these beginnings, the Catholic Worker move-ment evolved under their tutelage to encompass stead-fast advocacy of radical social justice. For Day, thismeant undertaking a voluntary life of poverty with themovement as the center of her life. The movementstood for pacifism, even in the midst of World War II,for equality for all races, and most importantly as avoice for the poor and dispossessed of society. As shehad indicated earlier in her life, Day looked to thesaints not merely to help slaves, but also to end slavery.

To comprehend fully the essence of Dorothy Day,one must take account of her Catholic faith and her

lifelong commitment to what Paul Elie has termed thetraditional piety of devotions such as the rosary, theoffice, and the daily celebration of mass. Prior to herconversion, Day wrote in her autobiography that shedid not know what she believed, though she had triedto serve a cause. With her baptism she embraced thesimple and radical Christianity she found expressed inthe work of another great convert, St. Augustine, in hisImitation of Christ. The connection of the CatholicWorker movement to her Catholic faith did not belieher dissatisfaction with the imperfections she saw inthe institutional Church. But she maintained commit-ted to the sacraments of the Church until her death,despite her permanent dissatisfaction. Only throughthe Church could one receive the sacraments.

Throughout most of the 20th century, Day’s workrealized in a particular way the aspirations and dilem-mas of Catholics in an American Church seeking toremain faithful to the teachings of the Beatitudes. In her later life, Day welcomed and explored the aggior-namento in the Church brought forth by the SecondVatican Council at the urging of Pope John XXIII. Inthe 1960s and 1970s, the Catholic Worker welcomedmany who worked within the Church to promote radi-cal change and to protest the Vietnam War, mostnotably the Catholic priests Philip and Daniel Berrigan.As her fame grew and she became the symbol for gen-erations of young people who came to participate in theCatholic Worker in search of social justice, she wasknown to admonish admirers by saying that she did notwant to be called a saint, because she did not want to bedismissed that easily. Despite her protests, others tookup her cause for sainthood upon her death and a casefor canonization is proceeding. One miracle attributedto her intercession (according to a Washington Postreport) has been described by author and psychiatristRobert Coles, an early devotee whose wife’s cancerwas cured after an encounter with Day.

Another contribution of Day’s that continues togrow in significance is her role as a writer on spiritualas well as secular matters. The author of seven books,including two autobiographies and an account of theCatholic Worker movement, Loaves and Fishes, shewas a frequent contributor to a variety of Catholicpublications, including Commonweal, and a faithful

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correspondent to other writers and public figures ofher day.

Although The Long Loneliness never received thewide popular acclaim of The Seven Storey Mountain,her friend Thomas Merton’s account of conversion, itremains an influential story of a 20th-century unbe-liever’s encounter with the deep spiritual truths ofcontemporary Catholicism. Day and Merton were fre-quent correspondents, and she remained friends withhim until his untimely death in 1968.

Perhaps Day’s most significant journalistic contri-bution is her column “On Pilgrimage,” printed daily inthe Catholic Worker for more than 30 years. In col-lected short pieces from this source and others pub-lished after her death, she emerges as an eloquent aswell as passionate advocate for social justice, as anacute observer of her times, and as a transcendentvoice for the spiritual life enacted day to day. Like herfavorite authors Dickens and Dostoevsky, her writingmade the daily plight of the poor a vivid reality for herreaders. Contemporary assessments of her writing bycritics take her contribution to American Catholicwriting of the 20th century quite seriously, and PaulElie has suggested that together with authors FlanneryO’Connor, Walker Percy, and Thomas Merton she ispart of a literary School of the Holy Ghost.

Dorothy Day died on November 29, 1980. Herfuneral was attended by poor people served inCatholic Worker houses, as well as by the cardinalarchbishop of New York. Buried in a simple woodencoffin in Staten Island, she is survived by her daugh-ter Tamar Hennessey, several grandchildren, and thecontinuing legacy of the Catholic Worker.

—Mary Erina Driscoll

See also Berrigan Brothers; Catholic Worker Movement;Merton, Thomas; Religious Activism

Further Readings

Day, D. (1963). Loaves and fishes. San Francisco:HarperSanFrancisco.

Day, D. (1978). From Union Square to Rome. New York:Arno Press. (Original work published 1938)

Day, D. (1997). The long loneliness. San Francisco:HarperSanFrancisco. (Original work published 1952)

Elie, P. (2003). The life you save may be your own: AnAmerican pilgrimage. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Ellsberg, R. (Ed.). (1992). Dorothy Day: Selected writings.Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.

Ellsberg, R. (2000). All saints: Daily reflections on saints,prophets, and witnesses for our time. New York:Crossroads Press.

Martin, J. (2006). Living in her world: Dorothy Day. My lifewith the saints (pp. 209–228). Chicago: Loyola Press.

Rosin, H. (2000, March 17). Vatican to weigh sainthood forreformer Dorothy Day. Washington Post, p. A03.





Simone de Beauvoir was a French existentialphilosopher, novelist, feminist, and internationally rec-ognized public intellectual. Her ideas on human free-dom, ethics, politics, society, and gender relationsinfluenced European and American women’s move-ments of the 1970s and prefigured contemporary disci-plines of cultural studies, discourse studies, andwomen’s studies. De Beauvoir wrote incessantly, nar-rating her life through personal correspondence withfamily, friends, and lovers, especially with Jean-PaulSartre, her lifelong partner. Their relationship, self-defined as essential rather than contingent, helped, butdid not determine, de Beauvoir’s notoriety. She self-consciously and unapologetically wrote into existencethe conditions for fame and posterity, compiling morethan 40 years of fiction, philosophy, commentary, travellogs, and memoir. Intellectually and politically active tothe very end, de Beauvoir renounced the existence ofGod, never married, loved and slept with numerousmen and women, flaunted her high intelligence, andlived a life that often reflected her existentialism:Human beings are communal, responsible for their ownactions, and free to conform or challenge social limits.

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Born in Paris, de Beauvoir was raised by hermother, a devout bourgeoisie Catholic, and her father,a politically conservative atheist. Her parents’ encour-agement in her childhood to read and write wanedlater on as they judged her life actions. De Beauvoirhad two early companions, her younger sister, Helene,nicknamed Poupette, and her friend, ElizabethMabille, nicknamed Zaza. Poupette often acted as deBeauvoir’s first student, and Zaza’s early death in 1929 influenced de Beauvoir’s existentialism. Herformal education began at an all-girls private Catholicschool. She earned a baccalaureate in mathematicsand philosophy, and later studied mathematics at theInstitut Catholique and literature and languages at the Institut Sainte-Marie. Her studies continued atSorbonne, where she prepared for her agrégation inphilosophy. During this time de Beauvoir met a groupof students from the elite school, École NormaleSupérieure. Jean-Paul Sartre was one of thosestudents. At age 21, de Beauvoir was the youngest stu-dent ever to pass her agrégation. Her exam scoresranked second only to Sartre, and it was his secondattempt. She went on to teach at different secondaryschools until a scandal broke out in 1943—she hadtaken up romantic relations with one of her femalestudents. After an investigation, the school dismissedher and, by choice, she never taught again. DeBeauvoir’s first novel, She Came to Stay, was pub-lished also in 1943, beginning her lifelong authorialcareer. She went on to write numerous novels, oftenusing autobiographical material, especially romanticliaisons, as a source for fiction.

During the early 1940s Nazi occupation of France,de Beauvoir took up politics. She, Sartre, and othersfounded the left-wing politically independent journal,Les Temps Modernes in 1945. Her novel, The Blood of Others, published the same year, investigates per-sonal and social responsibilities, and All Men AreMortal (1946) explores the search for immortality asa denial of the present. Her most famous novel, TheMandarins (1954), explores the political responsibili-ties of the intellectual and won the prestigious Frenchliterary award, the Prix Goncourt. In 1947, deBeauvoir was invited onto the American collegelecture circuit. America Day by Day from 1948

chronicles her reflections on America. She wouldwrite another travel book, The Long March in 1957,about communist China. De Beauvoir’s appreciationfor America did not blind her to American imperial-ism, and while she often and perhaps naivelydefended Russian-style communism, she never joineda communist affiliation. De Beauvoir denounced theU.S. bombing of North Vietnam, supported the May1968 student rebellions, presided over the League ofWoman’s Rights, and symbolized Second WaveFeminism.

The Second Sex (1949), her most famous work,explores Western society’s construction of woman-hood. The text calls into question the long-standingassumption that the male counterpart—man—is themeasure of all things. This social construction, pro-mulgated by science, literature, psychoanalysis, phi-losophy, and others, becomes an unquestioned myth,relegating women to second-class humans. DeBeauvoir argues that institutions, ideas, and every-day people, especially men, have created asymmetri-cal gender relations. However, women too havecreated, and to a degree desire, this situation. Ratherthan blaming the victim, de Beauvoir points to theinauthentic desire to be taken over by another. Whilede Beauvoir calls for serious institutional change,she also calls for women to assume an authentic atti-tude by embracing their freedom to choose and acton their own accord. These ideas, which manypeople considered heresy, encountered both contro-versy and acclaim.

De Beauvoir’s lifelong intellectual reflections con-cerned human freedom and our ethical responsibilitiesto ourselves, each other, and oppressed people. Pyrrhuset Cineas (1944) and Ethics of Ambiguity (1947)argue that human beings inherently influence and areinfluenced by others, forever implicating us in thegreat sociohuman drama. Ignoring and/or denying thisinfluential process prevents our actions from circulat-ing beyond themselves. Such inauthenticity is over-come by consciously choosing life-projects that seekto expand our personal experience and have an impacton the wider world. In her later years, de Beauvoirinvestigated her obsession with aging. The Coming ofa*ge in 1970 critiques social perceptions of the elderly

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and argues that old age must continue to be a time ofproductive and committed work. This book followedThe Woman Destroyed (1968), three novellas thatexplore the older, no longer sexually desirablewoman. Her writings reflected not only her wants andcuriosities but also her fears.

Much of what we know about de Beauvoir comesfrom her own admissions. Memories of a DutifulDaughter (1958), The Prime of Life (1960), Force ofCirc*mstance (1963), and All Said and Done (1972)comprise a four-volume autobiography. Adieux: AFarewell to Sartre (1981) chronicles the final years ofher relationship with Sartre. And her personal corre-spondence, published posthumously, enumerates her life as an independent, free woman. Simone deBeauvoir died on April 14, 1986, of pulmonary edema.

—Jason Del Gandio

See also Camus, Albert; Nietzsche, Friedrich; Sartre, Jean-Paul

Further Readings

Bair, D. (1990). Simone de Beauvoir: A biography. NewYork: Summit Books.

Card, C. (Ed.). (2003). The Cambridge companion to Simonede Beauvoir. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UniversityPress.

Fallaize, E. (Ed.). (1998). Simone de Beauvoir: A criticalreader. London: Routledge.

Simons, M. (Ed.). (1995). Feminist interpretations of Simonede Beauvoir. University Park: Pennsylvania StateUniversity Press.

DEBS, EUGENE V.(1855–1926)

The premier representative of native-born Americansocialism in the late 19th and the early 20th centurieswas Eugene V. Debs. Debs was originally a laborunion leader who made his reputation as an organizerof unskilled railway workers in the 1890s and as achampion of industrial unionism and workers’ control.

As the head and three times presidential candidate ofthe Socialist Party of America, and an exceptionallyeffective and inspiring public speaker, he became thepublic face of the political socialist movement inAmerica in its early decades of heady success andadvance. Through his example, a uniquely Americanamalgam of Marxian, populist, and ethically basedsocial activism came to characterize a significant sec-tion of the U.S. left.

Born as the son of a prosperous grocery shopowner in Terre Haute, Indiana, Debs worked as a rail-road fireman before his father arranged a clerkship forhim at a local department store. In the years immedi-ately following, Debs was involved in local politicsand, through his secretary-treasurership of theBrotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, in labor unionactivities. He fully embraced the conservative politicsof the Firemen’s Brotherhood, claiming that allAmericans were equal worker-producers capable ofrising to affluence through thrift and hard work. ADemocrat by party affiliation, Debs tried to practicewhat he preached through the various local and stateoffices that he held, including his brief stint as anIndiana state assemblyman in 1884.

432———Debs, Eugene V. (1855–1926)

Eugene Debs (1855–1926) is considered to be the publicface of the political socialist movement in America in itsearly decades.

Source: Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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His creation of the American Railway Union (ARU)in 1893 started Debs’s gradual transformation into asocialist. The ARU was an industrial union; that is, itaccepted as members all, whether skilled or unskilled,who worked on the railroads, and it sought not justhigher wages and better working conditions, but also anumber of broader social and political goals. Theseincluded an end to the court injunctions with whichemployers tried to prevent strikes, unionization, andcollective bargaining, and the building of a nationwideorganized labor movement so unified in its classsolidarity that it could not be divided by employers’attempts at buying off sections of it. In both regards,Debs’s union differed dramatically from the AmericanFederation of Labor (AFL) affiliated craft unions thatcatered only to the “labor aristocracy” of the skilled.

Debs’s message proved appealing, and within ayear of its founding, the ALU had some 150,000 mem-bers. In a series of aggressive sympathy strikes in the1890s, Debs proceeded to put the union’s mass powerto the test, and he proved both an effective mobilizer ofhis constituency and an astute strategist in industrialconflict. Victories in the Pacific Union and GreatNorthern strikes were, however, followed by defeat inthe legendary Pullman Strike (each in 1894), in whichDebs fought to improve the conditions of the manufac-turers of Pullman train cars. After some of the strikerstampered with federal mail trains, the railroad employ-ers’ organization procured a federal injunction and hadfederal troops suppress the strike and the ALU. For hisrole, Debs was imprisoned for 6 months.

While in jail, Debs began to convert to socialism. Theextent, exact timing, and agency of his conversionremain open to question, but the end result was Debs’sfinal abandonment of old-style producerism and hisembrace of selected aspects of the Marxian social analy-sis. By no means did Debs become a fully fledgedMarxist, for he never entirely accepted Marxian theoriesabout labor value, immiseration, and coming collapse ofcapitalism, nor the then-popular supposition that corpo-rate concentration was a key agency of socialization.Rather, Debsian socialism revolved around an icono-clastic combination of class-based and semi-evangelicalexhortations to social transformation by a unified work-ing class. To him, the corporate capitalist system failed

on ethical grounds, and the supposedly cooperationistinstincts of the (broadly defined) working class were theonly possible alternative, one that should gradually sup-plant capitalist values, institutions, and modes of opera-tion. The way forward that Debs sketched consisted, onthe one hand, of continual self-education of the workingclass into ever-deeper realization of its ethical superior-ity and, on the other hand, of workers’ control in work-places that acted as laboratories of the coming socialistorder.

For some time, Debs continued to witness for thisvision as a supporter of the Populist Party, but in 1897he joined a number of Western labor activists infounding the Social Democracy of America. A yearlater, Debs switched to the more doctrinaire Marxistgroup, the Social Democratic Party, which called foran eventual socialist revolution and issued a numberof so-called immediate demands, including demandsfor workers’ unemployment and accident insurance;reduction of hours of work; public works projects; theinitiative, referendum, and recall; and the abolition ofwar. These demands were largely carried over into theSocialist Party of America, which emerged in 1900after Debs’s group merged with another, moreMarxian group from the East.

In the Socialist Party, Debs represented the leftwing. He continued to champion the industrial union-ism model and became an early enthusiast for theIndustrial Workers of the World (IWW), a syndicalistgroup originally composed of Western miners thattried to take industries under workers’ control. Whenthis group embraced sabotage and revolutionary vio-lence, Debs disassociated himself from it, but he con-tinued to fight against the craft unionist AFL andagainst the moderate reformist wing of his party.Throughout the 1910s and the early 1920s, he sub-jected to severe criticism all those who de-emphasizedclass war and he hoped to make the Socialist Partyinto a regular parliamentary group seeking supportfrom the progressively minded in all classes. The pas-sion of his argument alienated reformist Socialists likeJohn Spargo, Victor Berger, and Charles EdwardRussell, but endeared Debs to all those whose invest-ment was in the confrontational, ethically chargedstyle of class politics.

Debs, Eugene V. (1855–1926)———433

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Socialist Party presidential candidate for the firsttime in 1900, Debs did not become a major nationalfigure until 1912. In the elections of that year, hereceived an unprecedented 900,000 votes. This did nottranslate into further party growth, however, for in theyears following the election, President WoodrowWilson co-opted many of the Socialists’ reformproposals and drained the party both of popular sup-port and many of its leading intellectuals. The anti-war position that Debs championed and his partyembraced during World War I made things evenworse, although for a brief while in 1917 and 1918anti-war radicals inflated the party’s share of thevotes. When he was imprisoned for treasonousspeech, Debs himself became a martyred symbol ofall those whose anti-war and socialist politics weresuppressed under wartime subversion and seditionlaws. He was in federal prison from April 1919 toDecember 1921, and from there he fought his lastelection campaign.

Pardoned by President Warren G. Harding, Debsreturned to public life, but he never fully regained theplace in the public’s esteem that he had held beforethe war. For those to whom he was the living, almostmythical embodiment of the American social con-science, his wartime ordeals only added to his luster,but others were all too conscious of how his sidingwith anti-war radicals and syndicalist revolutionarieshad hurt the Socialist Party image and cause. The crit-ics had one further cause to count against him when inthe early 1920s Debs became an apologist for theRussian communist dictatorship. Posthumously, how-ever, these grievances tended to be forgotten as Debs’smemory was eagerly appropriated by all sections of the American socialist movement. The rememberedDebs became the symbol that held together most left-of-center groups and his ethical, populist call forcomprehensive change the chief legacy of Debsiansocialism.

—Markku Ruotsila

See also Anarcho-Syndicalism; Democratic Socialism;Gompers, Samuel; Industrial Workers of the World(IWW); Marxist Theory; Social Democracy; SocialGospel Movement; Socialism

Further Readings

Brommel. B. J. (1978). Eugene V. Debs: Spokesman for laborand socialism. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr.

Fitrakis, R. J. (1993). The idea of democratic socialism inAmerica and the decline of the socialist party. New York:Garland.

Ginger, R. (1949). The bending cross: A biography of EugeneVictor Debs. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Karsner, D. F. (1919). Debs: His authorized life and letters.New York: Boni & Liveright.

Salvatori, N. (1982). Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and socialist.Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Tussey, J. Y. (Ed.). (1970). Eugene Debs speaks. New York:Pathfinder Press.


During the last decade of the 20th century, a networkof organizations from several countries formed toaddress the issue of Third World debt. The escalatinglevel of debt owed by the governments of developingnations was so crippling that basic services in many of those countries began to collapse. Countries owedmoney to the governments of developed countries, aswell as to international economic organizations such asthe World Bank and the International Monetary Fund(IMF). The G7, the seven most powerful and wealthynations, financially backed these organizations.

The debt forgiveness movement demanded animmediate and complete abolishment of all debt owedby the poorest countries. The movement expandedglobally in 1996, with the formation of Jubilee 2000.Originally the idea of retired political scientist MartinDent, Jubilee 2000 was based in the biblical conceptof jubilee, or the forgiveness of debts and liberation ofslaves every 50 years. The Jubilee campaign grew in both the North (developed world) and the South(Third World). Much of the international leadership,however, was based in Great Britain. The Debt CrisisNetwork (DCN) formed in the United Kingdom as a coalition of debt campaigning agencies. The cam-paign set the millennium as the deadline. In April1996, Ann Pettifor, from DCN, became the organiza-tion’s lead coordinator, and in 1997, Jubilee 2000 andDCN merged to become the Jubilee 2000 Coalition.

434———Debt Relief Movement

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It was a high-profile campaign, holding huge pub-lic protests and attracting a large celebrity supportbase. The movement drew a lot of celebrity support.Desmond Tutu became Jubilee 2000 president of thecampaign. Pope John Paul supported the movement,as did American evangelical Pat Robertson. Irish rockstar Bono became an international spokesperson. Theretired boxer Muhammad Ali also became a publicsupporter of debt forgiveness.

Jubilee 2000 truly represented a grassroots move-ment. It was both global and citizen-initiated. The orga-nization framed the debt situation in easy-to-understandterms. A central tool of the campaign was a global peti-tion. The Jubilee 2000 coalition’s petition went to 166nations and held a total of 24.2 million signatures. UnderJubilee 2000’s criteria, 52 nations qualified for debt for-giveness. This equaled an estimated $350 billion in debt.

Jubilee 2000 ended on December 31, 2000. It suc-ceeded in establishing a popular international socialmovement and was partially successful in completingits vision. Following the Cologne Summit in 1999, theG8 committed US$100 billion toward relief of multi-lateral debt and another US$10 billion for bilateraldebt. Despite these commitments, by the end of 2000,only two countries had received debt relief. The debtcampaigns continue in many countries, but withoutthe international leadership and focus provided byJubilee 2000 during the late 1990s.

—Kristen E. Gwinn

See also Ali, Muhammad; Bono; Tutu, Desmond

Further Readings

Addison, T., Hansen, H., & Tarp, F. (Eds.). (2004). Debtrelief for poor countries. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Buxton, B. (2004). Debt cancellation and civil society:A case study of Jubilee 2000. In P. Gready (Ed.), Fightingfor human rights (pp. 54–77). London: Routledge.



A historian of religion, Michel de Certeau became one of the most inventive, interdisciplinary, and

collaborative contributors to what we now call culturalstudies. De Certeau was born in Chambéry, southeast-ern France. He was a youth when France capitulatedto Germany in 1940. Vichy collaboration disillusionedand enraged him; the extent of the Church’s compli-ance was particularly disillusioning. De Certeau’sgenius owed much to his ability to feel these passionswithout capitulating to cynicism.

In the wake of the war, in 1950, he joined theSociety of Jesus, and he was ordained in 1956. Hisscholarly work was focused on the origins of theJesuits, and on mysticism in early modern Europe, butdomestic and world events stimulated a critical anddramatic enlargement of his scholarly concerns.

When in May 1968 French students and laborerstook to the streets, de Certeau was editor and contrib-utor to several Catholic journals and magazines. The“Events of May,” he said, exposed a breach betweenwhat needed to be said (by workers, by youth) andwhat could be said (as prescribed or authorized by thereigning conventions). Because what needed to besaid could not be said, the protesters were capturingspeech, by practicing the social conventions, but inways that disrupted their authority.

The May protests faltered. However, the fruitful-ness of de Certeau’s approach would be elaborated inreference to a vast range of themes, including the “dis-covery” of the Americas, urban experience, languageand politics, psychoanalysis and history, and religiousbelief.

In all this work, de Certeau displayed a keen inter-est in the microdynamics of social change. His best-known work in English translation, The Practice ofEveryday Life, discusses the ways of making do thatordinary people fashion out of the dictates of theirsocial position. Always, he attended keenly to theseruses—witting and unwitting—by which those whoare situated as objects of knowledge and of powermanage to use, and slip by, the structures intended toconfine them.

Perhaps most important is the general thrust in deCerteau’s body of work to interrogate the advancetoward knowledge (the story of history, in an unusu-ally general sense of the word). De Certeau conceivedof the writing of history as a recovery of other voices.

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Of necessity, history appropriates the voices on whichit relies in ways that reflect historians’ techniques andinstitutional expectations.

De Certeau demonstrated how these techniques and expectations were often repressed from the record,thereby constituting—along with the voicesappropriated—a veritable hubbub of activity quiteunlike the concentrated self-possession of so many his-torical narratives. In his own histories, he always strivedto enable his voice to be altered by its relations to thesevarious others. In this way, de Certeau provided amodel of openness to otherness that could not be fixedby his own or any system’s tendency to present othersas objects of knowledge and as tokens of power.

—Andrew B. Irvine

See also Postmodernism

Further Readings

Ahearne, J. (1995). Michel de Certeau: Interpretation and itsother. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.

de Certeau, M. (1984). The practice of everyday life(S. Rendell, Trans.). Berkeley: University of California Press.

de Certeau, M. (1988). The writing of history (T. Conley,Trans.). New York: Columbia University Press.

de Certeau, M. (2000). The Certeau reader (G. Ward, Ed.).Oxford, UK: Blackwell.


Deconstruction, the demonstration of multiple, compet-ing, and often contradictory meanings within seeminglystable univocal positions, came to prominence in themid-1960s and continues to exert a powerful influenceacross a broad range of disciplines. Although JacquesDerrida coined the term deconstruction in his earlyworks, a history of deconstructive analysis can be tracedto Friedrich W. Nietzsche and beyond, connecting withMartin Heidegger and Edmund Husserl along the way.Deconstructive analysis, as practiced by Derrida,demonstrates that the substance and coherence of atext—broadly conceived from the traditional notion of awritten text to social practice—is as much related to

assumptions and derivative ideas that are excluded, as itis to those that that are included. In other words, mean-ing is inextricably linked to the constitutive other—silences and exclusions—of the text. Deconstructionaims to render the constitutive other explicit. The expo-sure of silences and exclusions, together with the contra-dictions that may ensue, draws sites for activism intoclear relief.

The term deconstruction, however, has been pejora-tively equated with destruction. EnvironmentalistsGary Lease and Michael Soulé exemplify this view,claiming that deconstruction is as destructive to theenvironment as chainsaws and bulldozers. More gener-ally, however, the charge of destruction is abstract;critics claim that deconstruction shatters unities andleaves it to others to pick up the pieces. As a result,many critics of deconstruction and proponents who areinfluenced by them emphasize the importance of recon-struction. Derrida has repudiated the claim of destruc-tion in numerous interviews and rejected the binaryopposition of deconstruction to reconstruction. Hisrejection of the binary opposition is twofold: first, theopposition invites the misreading that deconstruction isdestructive; and second, while supporting the impor-tance of generative analysis, he argues that reconstruc-tion is inadequate. Derrida argues that reconstructionmaintains the status quo by simply making somethingagain in the same image. In terms of activism and socialjustice, the reconstruction of human rights, for exam-ple, would replicate existing states of affairs. Derridainsists, however, that deconstruction aims to go further,to displace, change, and improve the current state ofaffairs. Deconstruction, then, is a deeply political enter-prise that has an overt ethical agenda.

Derrida’s deconstructive works can be read asposing questions to, eliciting complex responses from, and going beyond the initial formulations of keyWestern thinkers, including Marx, Saussure, Freud,and Heidegger, and Derrida openly acknowledges thatdeconstruction is indebted to each. The term decon-struction owes its name to Derrida’s critical appropri-ation and translation of Heidegger’s terms Destruktionand Abbau, and questioning, responding to, and goingbeyond Marx, Saussure, and Freud illuminated lead-ing and interrelated motifs in deconstructive analysis.


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The first of these motifs, the critique of the “meta-physics of presence,” problematizes the notion of adirect relationship, or immediacy, between speech andwriting, thought and consciousness, or the word andthe world. The critique of the metaphysics of presencedisrupts the purported stability and unity of a text.This argument is, perhaps, best understood throughDerrida’s deconstruction of Ferdinand de Saussure’sstructural linguistics. Saussure identified language asa system of signs, which consist of two indissociableelements: spoken words or their written equivalents(signifiers) and concepts (signifieds). For Saussure,signs are arbitrary; they derive their meaning fromtheir opposition to each other rather than through arelationship with a referent, thus, severing the linkbetween the word and the world. Language, then, is afloating system of differences. Consequently, signi-fieds do not possess meaning in and of themselves.Meaning is continuously differed and deferred, whichchallenges notions of unity, stability, and truth.Derrida, however, demonstrates that Saussure’s argu-ment unavoidably admits the possibility of signifiedswithout signifiers. In other words, Saussure’s argu-ment admits that meaning is not necessarily transactedrelationally through a system of differences, but thatpockets of pure meaning can exist. This surrepti-tiously reinstates the metaphysics of presence. Thus,Derrida replaces Saussure’s signifier-signified com-plex with the signifier-signifier, which ensures theendless play of difference that cannot be resolved intoa positivity. Derrida introduces the term différance torefer to this irrepressible difference.

The second and interrelated motif that emerges inDerrida’s engagements with Marx, Saussure, Freud,and Lévi-Strauss is decentering the text. This repudi-ates the belief that words, writings, ideas, and systemsof thought are validated by a “center” whose truththey convey. The concept of center is clearly devel-oped at the beginning of Derrida’s deconstruction ofClaude Lévi-Strauss. Then, performing an immanentcritique, adhering strictly to the “rules” that configurethe thesis, Derrida demonstrates that Lévi-Straussimplicitly depends on that which he explicitly rejects, thus dismantling the center of the thesis.Demonstrating such contradictoriness, in policy or

law for example, can be of great strategic value tosocial activists. However, decentering necessarilyinstalls an alternative center. Thus, decentering resultsin cascading centers; decentering cannot rest and thereassuring certitude that centers engender cannot bereclaimed. This will not necessarily motivate socialactivists to commit to endless deconstruction asDerrida advocates, but it may serve as a salutary andcautionary reminder their successes repose, in turn,upon systems of privileges, silences and exclusionsrather than a natural order.

Derrida’s famous remark that there is nothingbeyond the text has been widely misread as a denial ofembodied existence in the material world. If this werethe case, Derrida’s ideas and social activism would beincommensurable. However, Derrida insists that thestatement that there is nothing beyond the text doesnot deny the existence of the world. This may appearto be an irreconcilable contradiction, but oppositionsbetween the world (sensibility) and text (intelligibil-ity), and between interiority and exteriority, arerequired for the contradiction to exist. In relation tothe former, Derrida’s broad conception of text prob-lematizes the opposition of the world and text, and inrelation to the latter, his work on the limit problema-tizes any simple opposition of inside and outside. Theapparent contradiction resolves in the view that thereis no recourse to an acontextual world.

The statement that there is nothing beyond the textis germane to social activists beyond the acknowledg-ment that there is no recourse to an acontextual world.Cherished ideals such as social justice, human rights,and freedom do not lie beyond reach of deconstruc-tion. Derrida would exhort activists to interrogatesuch ideals in order to “expose” their constitutiveblindnesses. As a matter of logical consistency, theterm deconstruction also needs to be deconstructed.Deconstruction cannot, and does not try to, escape thisdouble movement. Every deconstructive gesture isindebted to its constitutive other, which makes theterm notoriously elusive.

—Joy Hardy

See also Derrida, Jacques; Nietzsche, Friedrich; Other, the;Postmodernism; Semiotic Warfare


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Further Readings

Caputo, J. D. (2000). For love of the things: Derrida’s hyper-realism. Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory, 1(3),4–18.

Derrida. J. (1976). Of grammatology (G. Hopkins, Trans.).Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. (Originalwork published 1967)

Derrida, J. (1978). Writing and difference (A. Bass, Trans.).Chicago: Chicago University Press. (Original workpublished 1967)

Derrida, J. (1981). Positions (A. Bass, Trans.). London:Althone Press. (Original work published 1972)

Derrida, J. (1982). Margins of philosophy (A. Bass, Trans.).Brighton, UK: Harvester Press. (Original work published1972)

Soulé, M. E., & Lease, G. (1995). Reinventing nature?Responses to postmodern deconstruction. Washington,DC: Island Press.


The first usage of the term deep ecology was in a 1973article written by the Norwegian eco-philosopherArne Naess, who was greatly inspired by RachelCarson’s seminal work Silent Spring. Deep ecologydescribes a divergent, long-term approach to themounting ecological crisis that faces industrializednations, which is distinct from shallow (or reform)ecology. While shallow ecology is often focused onfinding short-term solutions for mitigating pollutionor fighting resource depletion, deep ecology seeks tocombat the approaching ecocatastrophe by establish-ing an entirely new ontological understanding of thehuman relationship to nature and the world.

One of the forces working against deep ecology isthe prevailing rational/economic ideological para-digm, which commodifies the natural world (henceterms like natural resources) and asserts a detached,teleological model of our relationship to nature.Philosophy is particularly well suited to tackle thismisconception, because the human-centered under-standing of the natural world is deeply rooted inCartesian Dualism. The bifurcation of our being intothe two independent modalities of mind and body, anunderstanding that we owe to Descartes’s cogito ergosum (“I think therefore I am”), considers human

consciousness as a transcendent entity that is beyond,and separate from, the natural world.

Thus, deep ecology becomes a philosophical pro-ject of cultivating ecological consciousness, by posit-ing humans as inseparable from their environs, andchampioning intuition instead of logical arguments ordeductive reasoning. It promotes a perspective of bios-pherical egalitarianism, which involves a respect andveneration for all forms of life, and voluntary simplic-ity, which entails a personal self-realization about ourpatterns of consumption and environmental impact.

The rapid adoption of new (typically consumer)technologies is another element of contemporary cul-ture that worries proponents of the deep ecologymovement. Borrowing Heideggerian notions of cau-tion in the face of technological innovation, theyquestion the uncritical passivity with which it is often met, and criticize the notion that the adoption ofa new technology is invariably progressive and/orinevitable.

Despite the theory-laden underpinnings, deep ecol-ogy is not simply a movement of unembodied or inertideas. Direct action is central to the deep ecologyplatform, because, as Naess argues, wisdom withoutunderlying action is useless. For example, in 1970Naess tied himself to the Mardalsfossen waterfall inNorway to protest the building of a dam. He refusedto leave until the plans were dropped and was eventu-ally successful in stopping it from being built.

Arne Naess and George Sessions highlight eightpoints of the deep ecology platform.

1. The flourishing of human and nonhuman life onearth has intrinsic value, independent of the useful-ness they may have for narrow human purposes.

2. Richness and diversity of life forms are values inthemselves and contribute to the flourishing of humanand nonhuman life on earth.

3. Humans have no right to reduce this richness anddiversity except to satisfy vital needs.

4. Present human interference with the nonhuman worldis excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.

5. The flourishing of human life and cultures is compat-ible with a substantial decrease of the human popu-lation. The flourishing of nonhuman life requires it.

438———Deep Ecology Movement

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6. Significant change of life conditions for the betterrequires change in policies. These affect basic eco-nomic, technological, and ideological structures.

7. The ideological change is mainly that of appreciatingthe life quality, rather than adhering to a high qualityof living. There will be a profound awareness of thedifference between big and great.

8. Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have anobligation directly or indirectly to participate in theattempt to implement the necessary changes.

In 1990, inspired by George Session’s book DeepEcology: Living As If Nature Mattered, Doug Tompkinsand Jerry Mander established the Foundation for DeepEcology (FDE) in San Francisco, California. They pro-mote the deep ecology platform through book publish-ing, radio programs, holding events and conferences,and grant-making. Their mission is to support educa-tion, advocacy, and environmental initiatives thatadvance the causes of sustainability, conservation, andthe collective reevaluation of our relationship to nature.

—Thomas Kristian Peri

See also Alternative Movements; Carson, Rachel; ClimateChange and Global Justice; Direct Action; EnvironmentalMovement; Green Party; Rainforest Action Network;Sierra Club; Voluntary Simplicity

Further Readings

Abram, D. (1996). The spell of the sensuous. New York:Vintage Books.

Naess, A. (1989). Ecology, community, and lifestyle.Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Sessions, G. (1985). Deep ecology: Living as if naturemattered. Layton, UT: Peregrine-Smith Books.


(1936– )

Born December 16, 1936, Morris Dees is one of themost significant legal figures to advance civil rights andsocial justice for historically underserved groups.Despite his upbringing in segregationist Alabama, hisparents imparted strong Christian values to Dees that

compelled him to redress criminal and civic wrongsthrough the justice system. Warm interactions withblack families, coupled with troubling class-basedexperiences among whites during his youth, furthernurtured his dedication to eradicating the detrimentalimpact that race and social class exert on individuals’lives. Although Dees was a successful entrepreneur, thereading of Clarence Darrow’s The Story of My Life pro-voked him to sell his mail order business and open alaw practice devoted to civil rights legislation. Theresultant partnership law firm, Levin & Dees, evolvedinto the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in 1971.

Dees’ legal career is marked by a number oflandmark cases and decisions. Examples include inte-grating the Montgomery, Alabama, Young Men’sChristian Association (YMCA) and the Alabama StateTroopers, as well as holding white supremacist orga-nizations financially and criminally responsible forunlawful actions against communities of color andimmigrants. Substantial monetary awards againstgroups such as the United Klans of America andAryan Nations, in fact, have forced some organiza-tions to disband. Despite the critical advances againsthate groups, Dees’ decision to emphasize Klan activ-ity as a SPLC priority prompted some of its personnelto leave the organization over ideological differencesregarding the new legal focus. Additionally, criticsoutside of the SPLC have accused Dees of drawingfew distinctions between white supremacists andother organizations that support limiting immigration,controlling population growth, or upholding the rightto bear arms. Detractors primarily question Dees’ useof legal approaches that suggest guilt by associationrather than evidence of direct involvement.

Beyond the legal arena, Dees gained national promi-nence as a successful fund-raiser for presidential hope-ful George McGovern, former President Jimmy Carter,and Senator Ted Kennedy’s 1980 bid for the Democraticpresidential nomination. Professionally, Dees receivedhis undergraduate and law degrees from the Universityof Alabama. He has authored two books, Hate on Trial:The Case Against America’s Most Dangerous Neo-Naziand Gathering Storm: America’s Militia Threat. Hisautobiography A Season for Justice, later rereleased as A Lawyer’s Journey: The Morris Dees Story, was pub-lished in 1991. He is the recipient of numerous awards,

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including the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial andFriend of Education Awards from the NationalEducation Association, Young Lawyers DistinguishedService Award from the American Bar Association, andthe Roger Baldwin Award from the American CivilLiberties Union, among other distinctions.

—Carla R. Monroe

See also Southern Poverty Law Center

Further Readings

Chalmers, D. M. (2003). Backfire: How the Ku Klux Klanhelped the civil rights movement. Lanham, MD: Rowman &Littlefield.

Klebanow, D. (2003). People’s lawyers: Crusaders for justicein American history. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.



Juana Inés Ramirez de Asbaje was born in San MiguelNepantla, Mexico, in 1648 (although some biogra-phers say 1651). She was a writer, a scholar, and a ser-vant of God in the Baroque period. Sor Juana was alsoan advocate for women’s rights in education becauseshe believed future generations of women needed tohave educators of their own gender. According to SorJuana, a society can benefit when women are educated,and withholding women from pursuing knowledgewent against the tradition of the Catholic Church. Heroutspoken stance on controversial subjects, of course,did not please the Church. In 1690, the bishop ofPuebla, Manuel Fernandez de Santa Cruz, published aletter Sor Juana had written to him. He introduced itwith a letter of his own as “Sor Filotea.” In CartaAtenagorica, he advises Sor Juana to leave her secularstudies and writing and focus on theology. Sor Juanaresponded with a letter of her own, Respuesta a SorFilotea (1691), in which she defends women’s right tohigher education. Eventually, she was forced to give upher books and her studies and she spent the last monthsof her life helping her sisters, until an epidemic tookher life in 1695.

In her autobiography, Sor Juana claims she learnedhow to read and write Latin before the age of 10.From an early age, she had a passion for knowledgeand she was known for her beauty, intelligence, andcharisma. In 1664, Sor Juana became a lady-in-waiting to the viceroy’s wife, marquise of Mancera, inMexico City. However, court life was not fulfilling.Sor Juana decided that the only way to pursue her pas-sion for knowledge was to become a nun. Because shecame from a poor family and was an illegitimatechild, she knew her options were limited. As a singlewoman living in 17th-century Latin America, she didnot have the power to continue her studies.

In 1667, Sor Juana entered the convent of theDiscalced Carmelites of St. Joseph, but she only stayed3 months because the monastic life was too harsh onher health. She did not give up. In 1669, she entered theHieronimite order at the convent of St. Jerome, and shenever left its confines until her death. Her most creativeperiod began in 1680. It was during this period that thenew vicereine’s wife, marquise de la Laguna, countessof Paredes, helped publish three volumes of Sor Juana’swork. Sor Juana spent her time at the convent writingpoetry, comedies, religious dramas, and liturgies; herapartment-like cell became a salon, a gathering place toexchange ideas. Some scholars and biographers arguethat Sor Juana set an example for modern feminism.

—Maria Delis

See also Feminism; Religious Activism

Further Readings

Kirk, P. (1998). Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz: Religion, art, andfeminism. New York: Continuum.

Paz, O. (1988). Sor Juana or, The traps of faith (M. S. Peden,Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Belknap.



Active nonviolence and social protest were central tothe life of David Dellinger, a student in the 1930s andson of an economically and socially prominent family

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who became involved in politics as he was studyingeconomics at Yale University. He was arrested at aprotest where he was supporting the trade union move-ment. Dellinger left Yale for a time during the GreatDepression. He decided to ride the freight trains, sleepat missions, and eat at the soup lines. He then spent ayear working in a factory in Maine, in 1936, afterfinally graduating from Yale.

Dellinger received a fellowship to OxfordUniversity, and became a supporter of the PopularFront government in Spain. When he returned to theUnited States, he enrolled at the Union TheologicalSeminary in New York. In 1940, Dellinger refused toregister for the military draft. He was arrested andsentenced to a year in prison, and, while in prison, heorganized protests against the segregated seatingarrangements. His activism led to solitary confine-ment in the prison. After being released, he wasarrested again for refusing to join the armed forceswhen the United States entered World War II. He wassentenced to another 2 years in prison.

After the war, Dellinger helped create the DirectAction magazine in 1945, and criticized the use ofatomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A shorttime later he became the editor of Liberation, a posi-tion he maintained for more than 20 years.

Dellinger also was a prominent activist in opposi-tion to the Vietnam War. He helped organize the 1967protest march on the Pentagon. In 1968, he was one ofthe activists charged with conspiring to incite riots atthe Democratic Party Convention. His codefendantsincluded Tom Hayden (Students for a DemocraticSociety), Bobby Seale (Black Panther Party), RennieDavis (National Mobilization Committee), and AbbieHoffman and Jerry Rubin (Youth International Party).These activists, part of the famous Chicago Seven,were eventually acquitted. Dellinger was painted as astern, evangelical Christian Socialist, and as the chiefarchitect of the conspiracy because of his position as the chairperson of the National MobilizationCommittee to End the War in Vietnam.

Dellinger wrote a number of books, including Beyond Survival: New Directions for the DisarmamentMovement (1985), Vietnam Revisited: From CovertAction to Invasion to Reconstruction (1986), and From

Yale to Jail: The Life Story of a Moral Dissenter (1993).He continued to be active in politics, and even into

his eighties he continued to take part in protestmarches. He was a primary figure in the demonstra-tion against the North American Free TradeAgreement in Quebec City in 2001. He also held reg-ular fasts in an effort to change the name of ColumbusDay to Native American Day.

The life of Dellinger suggests to activists that wehave more power than we know. Traveling acrossevery state, speaking at gatherings large and small, hewas fond of pointing out that efforts for peace andjustice were larger and more substantive than at theheight of the 1970s. He noted that in the past 30 yearsthat efforts were simply more locally based, andcovered a wider range of issues.

—Pat Lauderdale

See also Chicago Seven; Direct Action; Draft Resistance;Hayden, Tom; Hoffman, Abbie; Nonviolence andActivism; Seale, Bobby

Further Readings

Gara, L., & Gara, L. M. (Eds.). (1999). A few small candles:War resisters of World War II tell their stories. Kent, OH:Kent State Press.

Hunt, A. (2006). David Dellinger: The life and times of anonviolent revolutionary. New York: New York UniversityPress.


(1935– )

Ronald Vernie Dellums was born into a working-classethnic community in west Oakland, California, and ithas been the base from which he has carved out hisreputation as an outspoken critic of oppression both athome and abroad through almost 40 years of publiclife. On leaving high school in 1954, Dellums joinedthe Marines. Turned down for officer training onaccount of his race, he left after the 2 years he neededto qualify for college financial assistance through theGI Bill. He took degrees at Oakland City College and

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San Francisco State University, and a master’s degreein social work at UC Berkeley in 1962. Whileemployed as a psychiatric social worker, Dellums gothis second education, this time in political activism.He served on Berkeley city council from 1967 to 1970,and in 1971, having run on an anti-Vietnam War plat-form, Ron Dellums became the representative forCalifornia’s ninth congressional district.

In early 1971 he called for a full-scale inquiry intoU.S. war crimes in Vietnam and, when none was forth-coming, chaired ad-hoc hearings on the issue himself.Dellums also established positions for himself on arange of other important issues throughout his con-gressional career, from apartheid in South Africa to anational health service, and from support for Israeli-PLO negotiations to the issue of defense spending.

Between 1971 and 1988, Dellums pushed a succes-sion of bills aimed at imposing sanctions on the SouthAfrican government to end apartheid. While his billsmet with conservative opposition in the Senate and the White House, Dellums was at the forefront ofpositioning the United States within the internationalsanctions movement. His efforts in support of anational health service met with no such success, asdeal-making from the left in pursuit of less radical,seemingly more workable proposals gradually emas-culated the legislative efforts of Dellums and like-minded colleagues throughout the 1970s.

In 1973, with the assistance of the CongressionalBlack Caucus—of which he had been a foundingmember—Dellums became a member of the HouseArmed Services Committee (HASC), providing avoice of considered opposition to large defense spend-ing increases throughout his tenure. He was the firstmember of Congress to call for the termination offunding for the MX missile in 1977 and the PershingII in 1979; he also opposed the construction of the B-1 bomber and President Reagan’s SDI or Star Warsprogram. In 1991 Dellums opposed U.S. militaryaction in Iraq, and in 1993, as chairman of HASC, hesought to persuade President Clinton to honor hiscampaign commitment to lift the ban on gay men andlesbians in the military.

In 1998 Dellums retired from Congress and tookon the presidency of Healthcare International

Management Company, a for-profit organization thatfocused on the provision of coordinated health care insouthern Africa. He has also acted as a lobbyist for arange of interests on Capitol Hill. While this seemedto mark the end of his political career, it proved to beonly a hiatus. By late 2005 his career had come fullcircle as he returned to Oakland politics with his can-didacy for mayor.

—Dean Williams

See also Anti-Apartheid Movement; GI Bill; Lobbying;Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

Further Readings

Dellums, R. V., & Halterman, H. L. (2000). Lying down withlions: A public life from the streets of Oakland to the hallsof power. Boston: Beacon Press.

Dellums R. V., Miller, R. H., & Halterman, H. L. (1983).Defense sense: The search for a rational military policy.Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.

DELORIA, VINE, JR. (1933–2005)

Vine Deloria, Jr., an American Indian from theStanding Rock Sioux tribe, was both an advocate forAmerican Indian rights and a scholar of AmericanIndian culture, history, and law. During the mid to late1960s, he acted as Executive Director of the NationalCongress of American Indians (NCAI), a pan-tribalorganization that worked on behalf of tribes andlobbied the U.S. Congress in order to secure Indianrights. Under his leadership, the NCAI becameincreasingly financially sound and became one of themost well-respected American Indian advocacygroups. In 1969 he published Custer Died for YourSins: An Indian Manifesto, a set of essays that cri-tiqued Native Americans’ treatment by non-Indiansand lauded many of the native cultural traditions thatEuropean Americans attempted to eliminate from theAmerican landscape. His work was widely read byIndians and non-Indians alike, many of whom saw itas a refreshing attempt to deromanticize commonly

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held views of Indian people. This book launched hiscareer as one of the most adamant, articulate, andwitty social critics of the era. He went on to a careerin law, writing dozens of books on the topic of federalIndian law and policy.

He was born in 1933 to Barbara Sloat and VineDeloria, Sr., and grew up near both the Pine Ridge and Standing Rock Indian Reservations. His father, aSioux and an Episcopal missionary, was a well-knownfigure among many of the reservation communities.He encouraged his son to pursue higher education,and the younger Deloria received his undergraduatedegree in the sciences from Iowa State University, anda degree in theology from Lutheran School ofTheology in Illinois. His law degree, which he earnedfrom the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1970,provided the basis for much of his legal scholarshipand activism.

Witnessing the grave poverty on the reservationsand the surrounding communities, the Deloria becamea critic of U.S. Indian policy and agencies—particu-larly the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)—which hesaw as being destructive to the people they pretendedto help. He became a spokesperson for Indian sover-eignty and self-determination. For him, sovereigntymeant allowing American Indian people to developtheir own governments, institutions, and policies forimproving their lives and lessening the federal govern-ment’s intrusion. He also promoted a return to thetreaty-making process, which the federal governmentabolished in the 1870s. If the federal government wentback to making government-to-government agree-ments with Indian nations, then this would raise Indiannations to the level of sovereign states and grant a newlevel of respect to Indian tribal governments.

Outside of advocating a revision of U.S.-Indianrelations, Deloria was a great critic of Western sci-ence, particularly the social science of anthropology,which he derided as an attempt to fragment the worldinto its constituent pieces in order to understand them.This method of study, he argued, denigrated theinterconnectedness of people, animals, and the planet.Instead, he supported a study of the world and humanbeings that examined the relatedness of all materialand spiritual things. In pursuing this relatedness, he

believed that the broader U.S. population could learna great deal from Native American culture andthought, which had a long history of examining andlearning from connections, rather than encouragingdisintegration of the bonds between the spiritual andbiological entities in the world.

—Thomas J. Lappas

See also American Indian Movement; Deconstructionism;Ecopaganism; Judicial Activism; Law and Social Movements

Further Readings

Cowger, T. (1999). The National Congress of AmericanIndians: The founding years. Lincoln: University ofNebraska Press.

Deloria, V., Jr. (1969). Custer died for your sins: AnAmerican Indian manifesto. New York: Macmillan.

Deloria, V., Jr. (1999). Spirit and reason: The Vine Deloria,Jr., reader. Golden, CO: Fulcrum.

Johnson, K. (2005, November 14). Vine Deloria, Jr.,champion of Indian rights, dies at 72. New York Times,p. A25.


The term democracy originates from ancient Greekand means rule by the people (demos). Traditionally,political theorists begin their considerations aboutdemocracy with aristocratic philosophers like Platoand Aristotle and deduce from there that ancientGreek philosophers opposed the concept of democ-racy. This is true in one way or another as far as thesephilosophers concerned, but many other philosopherswere critical of Athenian democracy from a humanistperspective—just because it rested upon slavery andexcluded women and foreigners from decision mak-ing. Epicurus’ anti-political position, for example,might be read as a search for a much more compre-hensive concept of democracy to include all subor-dinate classes and sections of society in decisionmaking.

The development of the concept of democracy was not solely due to the ancient Greeks. Democracyas an institution to run general affairs of society is an


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innovation of a much earlier period. What we read inPlato’s and Aristotle’s writings is in fact why in Athensthe implementation of an earlier form of democracybecame problematic. It has to do with the division ofsociety into social classes with contradictory materialinterests, which throws also some light on the modernproblems of democracy. A society with social classeslike ancient Greek societies could no longer assimilatethe earlier form of democracy that allowed all maleand female adults to participate in decision making.

In modern political thought, traditionally the theo-ries of democracy are categorized on how theyconceptualize the people, citizenship, majority, andminority. This approach touches one of the most cru-cial problems of the theory of democracy only on thesurface because it takes the division of society into themajority and minority for granted or it leads to a dis-torted presentation of the problems involved if itaccounts merely for elections and issues in govern-ments. Political manipulation and distorted presenta-tions may result in misperceptions of the issues inquestion; this manipulation may result in electionsthat may reverse what is the majority and the minorityin reality. In Aristotle’s political thought, the majorityreferred to the poor—that is, expropriated sections ofsociety—and the minority is described as propertiednobility. John Stuart Mill’s consideration about thetyranny of the majority has to do with the question ofwhat might be the result if subordinate classes, thevast majority of population, are franchised. Providedthey are conscious of their real interests, they couldeasily vote aside propertied classes and expropriatethe expropriator. This worry motivates Aristotle inantiquity, as well as Mill in modernity, in the con-struction of what might be the best form of govern-ment. It is this worry that also gave rise to the elitisttheory of democracy; for example, the work of JosephSchumpeter. With Mill’s proposal to weight votes infavor of richer and the better educated, the bourgeoisdemocratic thought gives up one of the most essentialconcepts of democracy: the concept of equality, whichis a contribution of Protestant Reformation to moderntheory of democracy. This may also explain whatNorberto Bobbio observed; namely, that liberaldemocracies tend to restrict the rights of the people if

they express their will to participate in decision mak-ing rather than leaving it to the elites in governments.

Unlike the 19th-century bourgeois democraticthought, however, the 18th-century bourgeois democra-tic thought has a comprehensive view of democracy,both contractual (Hobbes, Locke, Kant, Rousseau) andhistorical (Machiavelli, Montesquieu, Hume, A. Smith,J. Millar). It takes into account the problems arising fromthe structural problems of civil society, as well as thoseof the state. In the 19th century, however, it comes moreand more to be confined to the governmental realm. Thisis valid as well as for Ronald Dworkin’s theory of proce-dural democracy and Jürgen Habermas’s theory of delib-erative democracy. Permanently changing structuralpower relations in civil society in favor of monopoliesand monopoly bourgeoisie is no longer problematic.Among contemporary political philosophers, DavidHeld and Peter Singer are perhaps the only ones to referto the growing power of monopolies in civil society andto the dangers arsing from it.

The concepts of both representative and directdemocracy are creations of 18th-century bourgeoisdemocratic thought. In the 19th century it assumedrepresentative democracy. Even contemporary bour-geois thought, despite the fact that modern communi-cations and computers removed many obstacles todirect democracy, accepts Schumpeter’s hardly justifi-able argument that direct democracy is not compatiblewith responsible government. But at least sinceCondorcet’s establishment of Jury Theorem, it isalmost a common sense that a decision of a large num-ber of only moderately competent people may be morereliable than few hundred experts in governments.

Classical Marxist theory of democracy draws pri-marily on the study of the broad history of humanity,more particularly on the analysis of the structures incivil society, as well as institutional development of thecapitalist state and government. But it inherits also allbourgeois and utopian socialist progressive democraticthought and profits from the Paris Commune experi-ments. The Marxist theory of democracy is not aboutestablishment and strengthening of the state againstsociety as opposed to bourgeois democratic thought. On the contrary, it is above all concerned about finding ways to abolish the state and bring back the


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management of general social affairs into society. Itwants to democratize all aspects of social life. It is, inother words, foremost concerned about establishing adirect democracy. The socialist state, which is thought tobe necessary in the transitory society from capitalism tofully developed communism, is thought to be no longera state in its classical sense; namely, to be an instrumentto suppress the majority by a handful minority of prop-erty owners. It is rather envisaged to be a state of themajority to suppress the minority of property owners if(and only if) they act against the establishment of social-ism and eventually communism. This aim leads Marxistdemocratic thought to the historical investigation of theorigins of the state. Like many 18th-century bourgeoissocial and political philosophies, it explains the originsof the state by referring to the establishment of privateproperty and contradictions in civil society. But unlikethese philosophies, Marxism does not want to justifyprivate property but substitute it for a common owner-ship; therefore, it focuses on the question of how privateproperty may be turned into common ownership.

In the light of the experience of the Soviet Union,many contemporary Marxists philosophers suggestthat some aspects of Marx’s democratic thought needsto be reconsidered, because in the Soviet Union theabolishment of private property in the means of pro-duction did not lead to the weakening of the state.They suggest to develop further Marxist democraticthought based on the socialist experiences in the 20thcentury and on the democratic thought of Lenin,Gramsci, and Luxemburg.

The most interesting and new aspect of contempo-rary debates of democracy is about cosmopolitan orworld democracy and ecological democracy. DavidHeld’s theory of cosmopolitan democracy draws on arevision of the Kantian notion of perpetual peace. Butit could perhaps be more appropriately and compre-hensively developed on the basis of what Marxworked out about Paris Commune. The theory of eco-logical democracy is relatively new and still needs tobe worked out in many respects in detail.

—Dogan Göçmen

See also Civil Society; Communism; Gramsci, Antonio;Lenin, V. I.; Marxist Theory; Mill, John Stuart; Plato

Further Readings

Bobbio, N. (2005). Liberalism and democracy. New York:Verso.

Held, D. (1996). Democracy and the global order: From themodern state to cosmopolitan governance. Palo Alto, CA:Stanford University Press.

Held, D. (1997). Models of democracy. Palo Alto, CA:Stanford University Press.

Honderich, T. (1991). Conservatism. London: Penguin.Lenin, V. I. (1992). The state and revolution. London:

Penguin.Wood, E. M. (1995). Democracy against capitalism:

Renewing historical materialism. Cambridge, UK:Cambridge University Press.


The relationship between democracy and socialism isa curious one. Both traditions are rooted philosophi-cally in the concept of equality, but different aspectsof equality are emphasized. Democracy appeals topolitical equality, the right of all individuals to partic-ipate in setting the rules to which all will be subject.Socialism emphasizes material equality—not strictequality, but an end to the vast disparities of incomeand wealth traceable to the inequalities of ownershipof means of production.

Of course there can be material equality withoutdemocracy, as well as democracy without materialequality. Plato advocated a material equality for the“guardians” of his ideal state. (Those entrusted withruling would live modestly, take their meals in com-mon, and, to forestall the temptation to enrich them-selves, keep their storehouses open for inspection andnever handle gold or silver.) Many religious ordershave practiced a material egalitarianism while empha-sizing strict obedience to one’s superiors. Conversely,in most contemporary democratic societies, materialinequalities are vast and growing. (The upper 1% ofU.S. households now own nearly 40% of all the pri-vately held wealth of the nation.)

From the beginning it has been recognized thatpolitical equality is likely to produce demands formaterial equality. If people are truly equal, why

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should a few be so rich and so many so poor? If themajority can make the laws, what is to prevent themfrom redistributing the wealth? Political theoristsfrom Plato through the Founding Fathers of theUnited States, from John Stuart Mill to the present,have warned of this tendency.

Plato saw democracy as inevitably degeneratinginto tyranny, for the demos would try to redistributewealth, the wealthy would rebel, and the peoplewould call on a strongman to aid their cause, but hewould not relinquish power once installed. AlexanderHamilton urged that first-class people, the rich andwell born, be given a permanent share of the govern-ment, so as to check the imprudence of democracy.Mill worried that the majority would compel thewealthy to bear the burden of taxation, so he proposedthat the more intelligent and knowledgeable beallowed multiple votes and that mode of employmentserve as a marker for intelligence. He took it to beself-evident that the employer of labor is on averagemore intelligent than a laborer.

More recently, the Trilateral Commission, a gather-ing of elites from the United States, Western Europe,and Japan (the brainchild of David Rockefeller andforerunner of the World Economic Forum) issued awidely read report warning that the democratic dis-temper of the 1960s and early 1970s threatened to ren-der capitalist countries ungovernable.

Unlike the pre-eminent political theorists fromantiquity, until quite recently, virtually all the earlyself-described socialists (a term that seems to havebeen first used as a self-ascription by Robert Owen in1827) were ardent democrats. Marx and Engels intheir Communist Manifesto proclaimed that the firststep in replacing capitalism with a new and better eco-nomic system is to raise the proletariat to the positionof ruling class. Marx and Engels and virtually all oftheir socialist contemporaries saw the politicalempowerment of society’s disenfranchised as a neces-sary step in the transformation of capitalism into amore humane social order.

Few socialists prior to the 1920s would have imag-ined a “contradiction” between socialism and demo-cracy. Prior to the Russian Revolution, there were nosocialist countries anywhere, nor any fully democratic

ones. (In no country did women have the right to vote.Racial minorities were often excluded from the polit-ical process. Dominant capitalist countries presidedmost undemocratically over their colonial empires.) Itseemed obvious to socialists everywhere that democ-racy was a stepping stone to socialism.

The Russian Revolution changed the equationdramatically. Many socialists began to question thelink between socialism and democracy. On the onehand, existing democracies showed themselves to bedeeply hostile to socialism. On the other hand,existing socialism turned out to be anything butdemocratic.

The United States, for example, having gone to warto “make the world safe for democracy,” reactedswiftly to the events in Russia (well before theBolshevik Revolution had become Stalinist), imprison-ing the nation’s leading socialist, Eugene Debs, alongwith dozens of other socialist leaders. (Debs had gar-nered 6% of the vote in the 1912 presidential election,and hundreds of socialists were elected to publicoffice.) Socialist legislators were expelled from office,and the socialist press was banned from the mails.

Moreover, there was virtually no resistance on thepart of democratic capitalist countries to the spread offascism throughout Europe. Indeed, the United States,France, and Britain remained resolutely neutral whilethe forces of General Franco, aided by fascist Italy andNazi Germany, waged a successful civil war against thedemocratically elected government of Spain. So long asanti-democratic forces were anti-socialist or anti-communist, they could count on the support of the demo-cratic governments of the West. Meanwhile, the onecountry in the world calling itself socialist turned out notto be democratic in any recognizable sense of the term.

Some socialists tried to reconcile these deeply dis-appointing developments by distinguishing between“bourgeois democracy” and “proletarian democracy,”the former viewed as fraudulent. Some went on toargue that, given the implacable hostility of powerfulcapitalist countries to socialism, a dictatorial phasewas necessary in order to make the transition toauthentic (proletarian) democracy.

Others felt that Stalin had betrayed the revolu-tion. The Soviet Union was declared to be neither

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democratic nor socialist. Still others, nonsocialists as well as socialists, argued that democracy was apolitical category, whereas socialism designated an economic system. Hence any of four categories is pos-sible: democratic capitalism, nondemocratic capital-ism, democratic socialism, and nondemocraticsocialism. There is no necessary connection betweendemocracy and either form of economic organization.

Following World War II, the discourse took anotherturn. The Soviet Union was no longer the sole repre-sentative of actually existing socialism. The RedArmy had defeated Hitler’s army on the Eastern Frontand driven it out of Eastern Europe. As it retreated,pro-Soviet regimes were installed in its wake, none ofthem democratic. Moreover, a socialist revolutionoccurred in China, and many were brewing elsewherein the Third World. In almost all instances thesemovements, inspired by the successes of Russia andChina, had little sympathy for bourgeois democracy.

As the cleavage between socialism and democracyappeared to widen, the connection between capitalismand democracy seemed to grow stronger. Having lostthe war, Japan and Germany lost their colonies. Sotoo, soon enough, did most of the other Europeannations (reluctantly and often only after fierce strug-gle). The United States, for its part, granted (quasi-)independence to the Philippines. With capitalist fas-cism and overt colonialism mostly gone (Portugalwould retain its African colonies into the 1970s), anew pair of equations gained prominence: capitalism =democracy, socialism = totalitarianism.

Of course the first equation could not be defendedintellectually, however much it was embedded inpopular consciousness. (In the United States, the ColdWar was typically seen to be a battle between democ-racy and communism.) After all, there had been andstill were nondemocratic capitalist countries.Moreover, capitalist democracies continued to supportnondemocratic regimes abroad, however brutal, solong as they were anti-communist. On occasion, capi-talist democracies would even instigate the replace-ment of democratically elected governments withviciously authoritarian ones.

The second equation, however, had its intellectualsupporters. Milton Friedman (later to be awarded a

Nobel Prize in Economics) argued that capitalism wasa necessary, although admittedly not sufficient, condi-tion for democracy. He argued that socialism involvesreplacing decentralized market mechanisms with con-scious central planning, and that such central planningis not only inherently inefficient, but it necessarilyconcentrates power in the hands of the small class of planners. With economic power so concentrated,the concentration of political power is inevitable.Moreover, this concentration virtually rules out dis-sent, because all media, indeed all jobs of any sort, arecontrolled by these planners. The inevitable outcomeis totalitarianism.

Friedrich von Hayek (also awarded a Nobel Prizein Economics) went still further, arguing that evensocial democratic reforms intended not to overthrowcapitalism, but only to curb the excesses of the mar-ket, would have the same result, being nothing lessthan the road to serfdom.

Hayek’s argument was in part a response to a newdivision that had emerged among socialists, the divi-sion between social democrats and democratic social-ists. The former had made peace with capitalism and concentrated on humanizing the system. Socialdemocrats supported and tried to strengthen the basicinstitutions of the welfare state—pensions for all,public health care, public education, unemploymentinsurance. They supported and tried to strengthen thelabor movement. The latter, as socialists, argued thatcapitalism could never be sufficiently humanized andthat trying to suppress the economic contradictions inone area would only see them emerge in a differentguise elsewhere (e.g., if you push unemployment toolow, you’ll get inflation; if job security is too strong,labor discipline breaks down.)

This division has become ever more pronouncedsince the demise of the Soviet Union. Today the major“socialist” parties of Europe, as well as the LabourParty of Great Britain and many former communistparties, have explicitly distanced themselves fromsocialism as traditionally understood and are nowsocial democratic parties. There remain smaller par-ties in almost all countries, often split-offs from themajor parties, that retain their allegiance to socialism.In the United States those small parties still bearing

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the name socialist (e.g., Socialist Party USA, SocialistWorkers Party) are still committed to socialism, as is the largest socialist organization, the DemocraticSocialists of America, an organization that does notconsider itself a political party.

Today there are few socialist organizations or self-identified socialist thinkers or activists who do notconsider themselves democratic socialists. Indeed, theargument is now often made, more forcefully thanever before, that a true democrat, a radical democrat,must be a socialist. This argument—a mirror-image ofthe Friedman argument—purports to show that it iscapitalism, not socialism, that is incompatible withgenuine democracy.

It is argued that capitalism inevitably gives rise to vast disparities of wealth, and that this economicpower inevitably translates into political power. In support of the first clause of the argument, onepoints to the ever-increasing concentration of wealthin capitalist countries following the collapse of cap-italism’s ideological rival, the existence of which hadchecked somewhat capitalism’s rapacious tenden-cies. In support of the second, one points to theenormous role that money plays in contemporaryelections, and the fact that virtually all the majormedia are owned by corporations, which are, in turn,controlled by the wealthy. To these considerations isadded a theoretical argument. If an elected govern-ment should make a serious attempt to rein in thepower of capital, an “investment strike” wouldensue, bringing on a severe economic downturn thatwill have a negative impact on everybody. The offend-ing government will be quickly voted out of office.So long as a small class has such power, real democ-racy is impossible.

This argument raises a deep question about themeaning of the term democracy. Are capitalist democ-racies truly democratic? The term socialist is alsomuch contested. Virtually all socialists have distancedthemselves from the economic model long synony-mous with socialism (i.e., the Soviet model of anonmarket, centrally planned economy). The validityof the Friedmanite critique of this specific form ofsocialism has been (at least implicitly) acknowledged. Some have endorsed the concept of market socialism,

a postcapitalist economy that retains market competi-tion but socializes the means of production and, insome versions, extends democracy to the workplace.Some hold out for a nonmarket, participatory economy.All democratic socialists agree on the need for a demo-cratic alternative to capitalism. There is no consensus asyet as to what that alternative should look like.

—David Schweickart

See also Communist Manifesto; Debs, Eugene V.;Democracy; Engels, Friedrich; Fascism; Harrington,Michael; Marx, Karl; Mill, John Stuart; Owen, Robert;Participatory Economics; Social Democracy; Socialism

Further Readings

Bobbio, N. (1987). Which socialism? Marxism, socialism,and democracy. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Busky, D. (2000). Democratic socialism: A global survey.New York: Praeger.

Callinicos, A. (1993). Socialism and democracy. In D. Held(Ed.), Prospects for democracy (pp. 200–212). Palo Alto,CA: Stanford University Press.

Cunningham, F. (1987). Democratic theory and socialism.Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Cunningham, F. (1994). The real world of democracyrevisited and other essays on democracy and socialism.Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press.

Dahl, R. A. (1985). A preface to economic democracy.Berkeley: University of California Press.

Dahl, R. A. (1989). Democracy and its critics. New Haven,CT: Yale University Press.

Gould, C. (1987). Rethinking democracy: Freedom andsocial cooperation in politics, economy, and society.Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Harrington, M. (1972). Socialism. New York: Bantam.Howard, M. (Ed.). (2001). Socialism. Amherst, NY:

Humanities Press.Schumpeter, J. (1942). Capitalism, socialism, and democracy.

New York: Harper & Row.Schweickart, D. (2002). After capitalism. Lanham, MD:

Rowman & Littlefield.




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Jacques Derrida is one of the most important intellec-tual figures associated with poststructural and post-modern theory—although he never used the latterterm—and is credited with creating the notion ofdeconstruction. His reassessments of classical meta-physics have posed a substantial challenge to philoso-phy, his readings of structuralist anthropology haveforced serious reconsiderations of thinking in that area,and his discussions of language and literature have hada great impact on these and related fields. In his laterlife, Derrida increasingly turned his investigations toissues of ethics, justice, and the law, analyzing thelegacy of Marxist thought in the wake of the Cold War.

His voluminous writings and broad considerationof questions of being in a secular world make him oneof the most important thinkers of the 20th century, onewhose influence is still in the process of beingassessed and whose work is difficult to summarizeaccurately. He has proven controversial for thoseengaging in questions of activism and social justice,as his assertion that there are no absolute or transcen-dental cultural values has challenged people attempt-ing to assert the value of universal human rights. Atthe same time, his goal of creating an inclusive soci-ety to come, one that remains open to change in thefuture, presents his readers with ways of conceptual-izing a world beyond the dichotomies of inside andoutside, or inclusion and exclusion.

In 1930 Jacques Derrida was born to a family ofJewish descent in the French colony of Algeria. Hegrew up in El-Biar and was expelled from his lycée bya government eager to please the Vichy regime’s anti-Semitic policies in France. His family later moved toFrance in order to help him pursue his education.Derrida succeeded in the French system, becoming astudent and then lecturer at the elite École NormaleSupérieure in 1952, where he studied under MichelFoucault and Louis Althusser. He met his future wifeMarguerite, a psychoanalyst, in 1953, and in 1957they married in the United States and eventually hadtwo sons. During the Algerian War of Independence,

Derrida avoided military service by teaching soldiers’children French and English. After this period,Derrida became associated with the leftist avant-gardeliterary group Tel Quel while teaching at the Sorbonneand the École Normale Supérieure. He later dissoci-ated himself from this group, maintaining a compli-cated position with their political leanings, as he didwith most political movements. He finished his d’état(roughly equivalent to a doctoral thesis) in 1980, andbecame the director of studies at the École des HautesÉtudes en Sciences Sociales. He was a founder of theInternational College of Philosophy and held a num-ber of visiting and permanent positions at universitiesin the United States, though he made his home inParis. He received a number of honorary doctoraldegrees and traveled widely prior to his death frompancreatic cancer in 2004.

Derrida emerged into the intellectual spotlight inthe late 1960s with his publications “Structure, Sign,and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences” andOf Grammatology. “Structure, Sign, and Play” wasfirst delivered as a lecture at Johns Hopkins Universityand then published in the volume Writing andDifference. The paper’s initial purpose was to critiquethe vogue of structuralist theory, which was then dom-inant in much intellectual thought, and which soughtthe underlying structures that govern all social rela-tions. In it, Derrida proposes a radical rupture againstthis thinking, asserting that no such underlying struc-tures exist. These early works suggest the project of deconstruction, a notion derived from MartinHeidegger’s use of the term destruction. Derrida usesthe concept of deconstruction to dismantle theassumptions that are present in any text or discourse.He works from the premise that any center or meta-physically grounding notion—such as God, truth, ortranscendence—can be demonstrated to be a false orincomplete explanation of how meaning functions.Deconstruction proposes to unsettle sedimentedthought patterns. As such, it has the potential to liber-ate thought from its static or fixed forms and to allownew thinking to occur. Deconstruction is motivated byattempts to disrupt the hierarchical and dualisticmodes of thought on which much of Western philoso-phy, as derived from Plato, is based. The supposed

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differences or oppositions between, for example, cul-ture and nature can be shown to be artificial throughthis process, and the valuing of one over the otherbecomes an arbitrary judgment rather than a transcen-dent truth. Of Grammatology pursues such an investi-gation by deconstructing the opposition betweenwriting and speech. Once a text relying on such anopposition is destabilized, its meaning opens up andbecome fluid, enabling alternative interpretations. Asa result, deconstruction proposes a challenge to thenotions of limits developed in analytic philosophy.

A euphoric explosion of poststructural thought fol-lowed Derrida’s early works, even as skeptics queriedthe ethics of this decentered system. Alongside thedevelopment of deconstruction and poststructuralism,Jean-François Lyotard and others began to articulatethe mind-set of postmodernism, which became inex-tricably linked to Derrida. Lyotard’s statement that the postmodern is evidenced by what he calls anincredulity toward metanarratives—or underlying pat-terns of thought, such as the ideology of progress—parallels Derrida’s disavowal of metaphysics. Criticsfrom Jonathan Culler to Fredric Jameson and TerryEagleton seized on Derridean and postmodern think-ing in their assessments of culture, making post-modernity a dominant mind-set in the last quarter ofthe 20th century. Processes of deconstruction allowedthinkers like Judith Butler to demonstrate that thedominant sex and gender systems of Western societyare social constructs based in what she calls performa-tivity, rather than natural modes of being, just asDerrida’s thought has enabled the writings of the criticGayatri Spivak, who has sought to empower subalternwomen in the Third World.

Derrida’s thinking has proven to be highly contro-versial. He is sometimes dismissed as too obscure oresoteric in his writing, and many segments of the fieldof philosophy in particular, have been hostile toDerrida’s propositions. In 1992, a group of professorsat Cambridge University came to prominence overtheir objections about plans to award Derrida an hon-orary degree, while a New York Times obituary decriedDerrida as obscure, leading to a protest petition fromsupporters. Critics have charged that Derrida is not only difficult to read, but that his notion of the

deconstruction of values leads society into a culturalrelativism in which it may no longer be possible toassert that any one thing is better than any other.

Partly in response to his critics and the questionssurrounding Martin Heidegger’s debated affinitieswith Nazism, Derrida increasingly turned towarddirect investigations of ethics and politics, whileinsisting that his initial project of deconstruction wasfounded on these very considerations. His later workssought to demonstrate how deconstruction might freeus to construct new, open-ended societies that canbecome welcoming of difference and remain flexibleinto the future. His later analyses delved intoMarxism, death, the law, and the politics of friend-ship. He engaged in political advocacy, although hehad kept himself distant from conventional politicssince his disappointments after the May 1968 studentuprisings in France. He contested the American war inVietnam, was active in cultural activities linked to the anti-apartheid movement against the SouthAfrican government, and was arrested in 1981 inCzechoslovakia after attending a conference. He metwith Palestinian authorities in 1988, protested againstthe death penalty, supported the release of MumiaAbu-Jamal, and supported Lionel Jospin’s socialistcandidacy for president of France in 1995. At the timeof his death, he was actively opposing the American-led invasion of Iraq in the aftermath of the attacks ofSeptember 11, 2001.

Throughout his later writings, Jacques Derridasought to contrast, for example, justice and the law,discussing the gap between the two and creating avision of a future justice to come. This vision is inpart derived from a Marxist leaning, but one that isbased on recognition of the impossibility of makingany political or social decision. Once the arbitrarinessof the choice is recognized, argues Derrida, its alter-natives become visible and might be enacted. Theexclusions of the world and its dichotomies can beundone, leading to a deconstructed world of unassim-ilated differences.

—Kit Dobson

See also Abu-Jamal, Mumia; Anti-Apartheid Movement;Anti–Death Penalty Movement; Deconstruction; Identity

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Politics; Intifada (1987–1992, 2000–2003); MarxistTheory; May Revolution, France; Performativity; Plato;Postcolonial Theory; Postmodernism; Rousseau, Jean-Jacques; Spivak, Gayatri

Further Readings

Beardsworth, R. (1996). Derrida & the political. London:Routledge.

Derrida, J. (1976). Of grammatology (G. Spivak, Trans.).Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. (Originalwork published 1967)

Derrida, J. (1978). Writing and difference. (A. Bass, Trans.).London: Routledge. (Original work published 1967)

Derrida, J. (1994). Specters of Marx: The state of the debt,the work of mourning, and the new international(P. Kamuf, Trans.). New York: Routledge.

Lyotard, J. (1984). The postmodern condition: A report onknowledge (G. Bennington & B. Massumi, Trans.).Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. (Originalwork published 1979)



John Dewey was an educator, pragmatic and recon-structive philosopher, psychologist, and founder of theprogressive education movement. His educational the-ories and practices in particular were groundbreaking,including support of teacher-student interaction,reflection and experience, and integration with com-munity and democracy.

After obtaining a teacher of philosophy degree atthe University of Vermont, Dewey began his educa-tional career by working as a school teacher for sev-eral years and then enrolled in the graduate program in philosophy at Johns Hopkins University. There,Dewey studied with George Sylvester Morris, aHegelian philosopher who became his mentor. Healso worked with Stanley Hall, an important experi-mental psychologist who stressed application of sci-entific methodology to the human sciences.

After graduation, Dewey was hired into theUniversity of Michigan department of philosophy.There he became increasingly interested in social,political, and economic issues, diverging from idealist

philosophy and moving toward pragmatism, strug-gling with religious issues, and philosophizing aboutthe social nature of the mind and self. In 1886, Deweymarried Alice Chipman and gradually began a shift ofinterests toward public affairs, social justice, and edu-cation, focusing on unity of theory and practice.

Dewey moved to the University of Chicago in1894, as head of the department of philosophy, psy-chology, and pedagogy, becoming ever more involvedin the philosophy of education. He defined the mostsignificant problem of education as the harmonizingof individual traits with the social and moral, under-scoring the need for improved theory of schooling andpractice to address this problem. Emphasis on theconnection of subject matter to the needs, interests,and cognitive development level of students was oneof the most novel and enduring of Dewey’s ideas.Dewey emphasized attention to both the cognitive andthe moral and was strongly opposed to rote learning offacts. Dewey was one of the first educators to activelyintegrate experience with education.

Dewey founded the experimental UniversityLaboratory School, known as the Dewey School, withthe purpose of conducting educational experiments todevelop and test educational theories; a platform forreform of pedagogical methods. The Laboratory Schoolwas all theory based and flexible in organization, struc-ture, and opportunities. Students were grouped by inter-ests and abilities and exposed to broad and variedcurricula and methods. As one example, children learnedscience by investigating scientific processes as theytook place during normal, participatory daily activitiesthat they performed in their classes as experiments, trueexamples of learning by doing. Unfortunately, adminis-trative difficulties resulted in the closure of the schoolafter 7 years, well before Dewey was able to completehis experimentation.

Educational experimentalism was an underlyingtheme for much of Dewey’s work from this time on.He viewed education as an endless and never fullygeneralizable experiment. Dewey preferred an educa-tional approach that broadened intellect and devel-oped problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, indirect contradiction to the traditional, back-to-the-basics, memorization-oriented educational programs.

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In Chicago, Dewey also had the opportunity to workwith many of the top American philosophers of thetime and became involved with the political and socialissues of the day, including immigration, urbaniza-tion, the labor movement, and technology.

Later, Dewey moved from Chicago to the Teacher’sCollege at Columbia, continuing to work on edu-cational issues, publishing, and becoming knownworldwide for his work. He was a true public figure,considered by many to be the most public academicphilosopher of the 20th century. The public knew himfor his involvement in social causes, such as women’ssuffrage and unionization of teachers, and for his manyarticles on current social issues in popular magazines.Dewey toured and spoke internationally, visitedschools, and continued educational research and thecritical study of other educational movements of hisday. He was politically active, involved in the Americansocialist party during the 1930s, committed to fully par-ticipatory democracy, and very much opposed to com-munism. Democracy is a recurring theme in his works,as he believed that only through a democratic societycould education for all be improved and a better qualityof life provided.

In general, Dewey focused his philosophical inter-ests on theories of knowledge, considering educationto be the process of forming fundamental dispositions,intellectual and emotional, necessarily engaged withexperience, thinking, and reflection. Dewey believedthat a general theory of education is theory of what isvaluable enough to be taught to the next generation inorder to promote effective adaptation of individuals totheir physical and moral environment and prepare theyoung for future responsibility and success in life. Heopposed imposition of education from above andsupported educational experiences that utilized oppor-tunities of present life. He felt that educational proce-dures should not start with facts and truths fromoutside the ordinary life experiences of the studentsand that educational experience should be organizedand structured to fit the developmental stages ofstudents. In this view Dewey was strongly influencedby Darwinian philosophy, from the standpoint of fit with environment and community, a philosophicalperspective that Dewey referred to as instrumentalism.

Dewey was a proponent of diversity in education, rec-ognizing that the potential of any given individual isunique, and believing that the goal of the educationalsystem should be to help each individual achieve hisor her full individual potential.

In many of his works during this period, Deweystressed the social dimensions of inquiry. This was aphilosophically productive time, during which Deweyand his colleagues were eventually responsible fordeveloping biologically based functional philosophy.Emphasizing action, need, desire, and interest, it wasa philosophy dependent on an understanding of the functional unity of individual and environment.Within this framework, Dewey now saw education asa social function, with pluralistic democracy being thebest society to foster and sustain freedom, creativity,and growth. He believed democracy was necessary tosupport education in favor of an improved, sharedcommon life. He argued that education on democratichabits should begin very early in a child’s education,and that schools should encourage students to beactive members of a community.

The educational ideas that Dewey publicized werevery popular, and there is no doubt that he influencedthe development of many new educational proce-dures, although his ideas were never integrated intoAmerican public school curricula to the extent he hadhoped for. His ideas are viewed as inspirational bymany educators (especially informal educators), butthe implementation of progressive educationalprograms has been historically problematic. Dewey’swritings are deep, complex, and often misinterpreted.The expansion of progressive education to includemany other, often contradictory theories and practiceshas further complicated popular interpretation ofmuch of Dewey’s work. Progressive education wasless dominant during the Cold War era, as analytic andphenomenological educational philosophies spread,but resurged in later years. Dewey’s ideas are still animportant educational philosophy, with ties to manymodern curriculum reform efforts. There is great dis-agreement among adherents of progressive educationwith respect to Dewey’s philosophical principles andschool practices, making it very difficult to trace theextent of his influence on public school systems.

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Dewey’s ideas have often been severely criticizedand are still open topics of debate. Critics point to atendency for application of progressive methods thatresult in chaotic curriculum and excessive individual-ism, sometimes even blaming Dewey for what theyperceived as the downfall of the American publiceducation system. Dewey countered these critics bypointing out the tendency of some educators to respondto the need for improved education by seizing any-thing new and different without attention to the under-lying theories. He stressed that progressive educationis a departure from the old ways, which creates a new set of problems, requiring careful, plannedimplementation as a philosophy, not just a system.Everything depends on the quality of the educationalexperiences, with progressive organization of subjectmatter leading to an understanding of both contentand meaning.

Dewey was both a very influential and prolificphilosopher and author. Several of his most popularworks for educators have been How We Think, Logic:The Theory of Inquiry, and Democracy and Education.In addition to writing on education, philosophy, psy-chology, logic, and democracy, Dewey also wrote onthe subjects of human behavior, politics, aesthetics,ethics, the nature of a satisfied life, and religion. Today,Dewey’s philosophies continue to be studied, contin-ued, and expanded on worldwide, with the Center forDewey Studies at Southern Illinois a key internationalfocal point for research on Dewey’s life and works.

—Susan L. Rothwell

See also Critical Pedagogy; Democracy; Hull-House;Progressive Movement, Education

Further Readings

Baker, M. (1966). Foundations of John Dewey’s educationaltheory. New York: Atherton.

Boydston, J. (Ed.). (1967–1991). The collected works of JohnDewey (Vols. 1–37). Carbondale: Southern IllinoisUniversity Press.

Bullert, G. (1983). The politics of John Dewey. Buffalo, NY:Prometheus Books.

Dykhuizen, G. (1973). The life and mind of John Dewey.Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Hickman, L. (1990). John Dewey’s pragmatic technology.Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Hook, S. (1939). John Dewey: An intellectual portrait.Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Mayhew, K., & Edwards, A. (1966). The Dewey school. New York: Atherton.



Charles Dickens was a 19th-century British novelist,journalist, and social critic. Dickens was born in 1812in Portsmouth, England, the son of a clerk in the navypay office. When his father was imprisoned for debt,the young Charles, at the age of 12, was forced towork in a blacking warehouse in order to support therest of the family. This youthful experience of povertydeeply affected Dickens. Its impact can be felt mostpoignantly in his novels, in his stories of poor boyslike Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and Pip in GreatExpectations, who struggle to rise out of the impover-ished circ*mstances of their childhoods to achievesuccess and respectability. Dickens’s own strugglesagainst poverty produced the central contradiction ofhis adult life and career. His experiences imbued hiswriting with an ever-present social conscience whileat the same time they fostered his own material ambi-tions. Dickens the grown-up would always suffer froma profound fear of financial insecurity despite hisever-increasing wealth and celebrity.

After working as an office boy, Dickens became aParliamentary reporter for the London MorningChronicle and embarked on a career in journalism thatwould set the stage for his future success as a popularnovelist and influential editor. The role of journalismin Dickens’s career is frequently underestimated.Throughout his life, Dickens was a leading figure inthe Victorian periodical press. All the novels that weknow so well today saw their first publication in serialform in magazines or newspapers. From 1833 to 1835,Dickens published a series of articles on London streetlife, which were collected and published togetherunder the title Sketches by Boz in 1836. These shortpieces chronicled the lives of both the poor and the

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wealthy in Victorian London, the first industrializedcity in the world’s history. For example, in a descrip-tion of a typical London pawn shop, Dickens portraysthe representatives of various social classes, each withtheir individual motives and life stories, gatheredtogether at the pawn brokers to engage in the dailycommerce enacted there. The huge success of Sketchesby Boz led to Dickens’s securing of a contract for hisfirst novel, The Pickwick Papers of 1837, and launchedhis literary career. With the publication of the Sketchesand of Pickwick, Dickens found himself a celebrity atthe age of 25.

In 1837, Dickens published Oliver Twist, the storyof an orphan who escapes through equal measures ofluck and virtue first from life in a workhouse and thenfrom his apprenticeship to an undertaker and makeshis way to the metropolis of London, only to fall inwith a gang of thieves, pickpockets, and prostitutes.While chronicling the misfortunes of young Oliver,Dickens simultaneously presented Victorian readerswith a compelling portrait of the life of the poor andcriminal classes, the left-behinds of British progressand prosperity in the early half of the 19th century.The publication of Oliver Twist and other successivenovels secured Dickens’s status as the most widelyread author of his time. In 1842, Dickens visitedAmerica for the first time for a series of public appear-ances that underscored his popularity on both sides ofthe Atlantic. Dickens expressed his disillusionmentwith the United States in American Notes (1842), aseries of travel sketches and dispatches, and in thenovel Martin Chuzzlewit. His stereotyped portrayal ofAmerican life deeply offended his American audi-ence. At the same time, Dickens became an impas-sioned advocate for the abolition of slavery in theUnited States.

Alongside his success as a novelist, Dickens alsofounded and edited a series of widely circulated andhighly influential magazines and journals. These pub-lications aimed to satisfy the Victorians’ almost insa-tiable desire for the printed word. Among these werethe radical paper Daily News, founded in 1846, whichDickens briefly edited; Household Words, establishedin 1850; and its successor, All the Year Round, which

Dickens edited from 1859 until his death. Beginningwith the semiautobiographical novel DavidCopperfield in 1850, Dickens’s various journals andmagazines provided an outlet for the serialization ofsome of his best-known novels, including Hard Times(1854), a tale of life in one of the new factory townsof Victorian England; A Tale of Two Cities (1859), atreatment of the Reign of Terror in RevolutionaryFrance; and Great Expectations (1861), the story ofPip, another poor orphan boy who realizes his dreamsof wealth and social status, only to find that all hissuccess is the result of an early, nearly forgottenencounter with an escaped criminal. In addition to hisnovelistic output, Dickens also involved himself in anumber of theatrical productions, including adapta-tions for the stage of his own novels. He also gave aseries of public readings, including a second tour of America in 1868 and 1869. These appearancesproved immensely popular and profitable, andDickens often played to stadium-sized crowds. Theywere also exhausting, both physically and emotionally,and the pace of Dickens’s work and tours contributedto his sudden death in 1870. Dickens left his lastnovel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished at thetime of his death.

Although he has often been criticized for his inabil-ity to portray women realistically and for his constantcraving after success and status, Charles Dickens through-out his novels and other writings remained a steadyand constant voice for social reform in the midst ofVictorian England’s reckless embrace of industrialcapitalism and technological progress.

—Tony Rafalowski

See also Abolitionist Movements; Literature and Activism

Further Readings

Ackroyd, P. (1991). Introduction to Dickens. New York:Ballantine.

Dickens, C. (1997). Selected journalism, 1850–1870(D. Pascoe, Ed.). London: Penguin.

Drew, J. M. L. (2003). Dickens the journalist. London:Palgrave.

Smiley, J. (2002). Charles Dickens. New York: Viking.

454———Dickens, Charles (1812–1870)

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The concept of difference has long existed in philoso-phy and social sciences, but it is only in recentdecades, with the increased interest in multiculturaland gender studies, that it has become a central part ofdebates in academic, social, and political circles. It ispossible to identify two distinct definitions of differ-ence: The first was developed in the modern era,beginning in the Enlightenment, and the second arosein the 20th century, from the 1960s onwards.

During the modern era, democracy appeared withthe intention of establishing a universal concept of thehuman being. This required the elimination of specialcharacteristics and differences and the promotion of equality and equal rights for all. This concept ofequality attempted to remove the right to differencethat aristocratic and religious elites had established fortheir own benefit in the form of privileges. However,in reality the new universal project concealed whatwas in fact the identification the subject’s right withthose of a white, Western, heterosexual male.

From this point of view, being different meant notbeing considered part of the human race and, conse-quently, exclusion from universal rights. Being differ-ent was always associated with being the “other,”the “exotic,” or the “inferior.” As a result, much of theoppressed groups’ struggle for emancipation wasbased on assimilation, on showing that those labelledas “different” were not in fact inferior and could carryout generic human tasks if they were given an ade-quate education and enjoyed equal opportunities. Inthis sense, cultural difference acted as an ideology thatlegitimated social inequality.

The positive affirmation of difference began in thesocial movements of the 1960s with what has beencalled the struggle for recognition of stigmatized and devalued identities. New groups and theoriesappeared within the feminist movement and begancriticizing equalitarian feminism because it wasbelieved that this approach victimized women.Instead, the affirmation of female difference wasadvocated. At the same time, other groups adopted

similar policies, taking the negative concepts of differ-ence previously applied to them and redefining them in terms of pride and empowerment. This wasexpressed in slogans such as Black Is Beautiful andGay Pride.

At the present time, the understanding that differ-ence and diversity are intrinsically good seems to havetriumphed, and current debates center on how differ-ence and social equality can fit together satisfactorily.Proof of the acceptance of diversity can be seen in thepolicies of organizations such as the United Nations.However, the debate about the intrinsic worth of allcultural difference is not over because one importantquestion needs to be addressed. This question iswhether racist, sexist, and hom*ophobic elements pre-sent in cultural diversity should be respected. Manynations accept that respect for human rights is a nec-essary requirement for respect of all cultural differ-ence. However, some argue that human rights are infact a cultural creation of particular societies.

—Ana de Miguel

See also Citizenship; Identity Politics; Postmodernism

Further Readings

Taylor, C. (1992). Multiculturalism and “the politics ofrecognition.” Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Touraine, A. (2000). Pourrons-nous vivre ensemble? Égaux et différents [Will we be able to live together? Equal anddifferent]. Paris: Fayard.

Young, I. M. (1990). Justice and the politics of difference.Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


Digital activism is a form of activism that uses digitalmedia, mainly the Internet, as a key platform for massmobilization and political action. From the earlyexperiments of the 1980s to the current smart mobsand blogs, activists and computer specialists haveapproached digital networks as a channel for militantaction. Initially, online activists used the Internet as a

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medium for information distribution, given its capac-ity to reach massive audiences across borders instan-taneously. A more developed undertaking of digitalactivism or cyberactivism approaches the World WideWeb as a site of protest, turning virtual space into aground that mirrors and amplifies street (or offline)demonstrations.

This use of the Web as a valid terrain for socialantagonism comes from an understanding of thenomadic nature of the current configuration of hege-monic power. In this scenario, transnational labor andcapital flow are indicators of how power is not tied to particular physical spaces but circulates smoothlythrough the information highway. Digital activistsclaim that, in order to disrupt the capitalist structuresthat are favored by the process of globalization, aneffective activist action must confront power in itsnomadic being by, among other tactics, blocking itsfree circulation across nation-state borders.

One of the fundamental goals of online activism isto make the body digitally active and not just the pas-sive receptor of power’s ubiquitous interpellation thatconfines individuals to different kinds of data banks.E-mail campaigning is one of the simplest ways inwhich activists use the Internet as a complement tostreet action. On the other extreme, hacktivism (a formof digital activism that comes out of the hacker cultureof the 1980s) aims at breaking in and disrupting web-sites by altering the patterns of code arrangement.Hacktivists, such as the group Cult of the Dead Cow(cDc), operate based on the philosophy of freedom ofinformation and the rights of people to have unre-stricted access to digital resources.

Different digital tactics entail diverse uses of theelectronic networks. Text-based practices include e-mail campaigns, text messaging, Web postings, andonline petitions to advocate for a determined causeand to generate massive support. Web defacing orcybergraffiti, a more complex text-based online prac-tice, is an action in which a specialized group ofcyberactivists or hacktivists alters the home page of an organization by posting information that holds itaccountable for its role in a given conflict. Anotherway of generating text to create awareness of a politi-cal matter is known as HTML conceptualism. It

consists of an action in which a group’s request ofnonexistent pages within an organization’s websitemakes the server return error pages with a messagereading, for example, “human rights not found on thisserver.” More performative actions, like “virtual sit-ins” and “e-mail bombs,” push the possibilities ofonline activism a little further, provoking a concretedisruption of the servers’ functionality through theconcerted action of participants around the world.

Although online political participation always bringsup the issue of the digital divide, that is, of the unequalaccess that different social actors have to technologicaldevices, in many cases online activists narrow the dis-tance between both ends of this division by collaborat-ing with disenfranchised groups in a networked manner.Ricardo Dominguez and his group the ElectronicDisturbance Theatre (EDT) take traditional civil disobe-dience tactics to the Net in support of social movementslike the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico; the immigrantssubjected to border patrol brutality on the borderbetween Mexico and the United States; or the familiesof the murdered young women of Ciudad Juárez. In1998, EDT automated the virtual sit-in, a form of onlinedemonstration in which a networked community gatherson one or several sites to carry out an act of digital dis-sent. The action is undertaken through a Web-basedprogram, FloodNet, that sends repetitive requests to thetargeted Web pages. The protestors’ automated “click-ings,” simultaneously enacted from multiple computersaround the world, provoke such an excess of traffic thatthe targeted site’s server is unable to handle it. Byclogging the bandwidth, the action affects the site’stechnological efficiency, slowing down its capacity toretrieve information and eventually provoking its shut-ting down. In this way, the action combines the activists’appearance in virtual space with their intervention intime, because, as a result of this massive presence, theaction disrupts the server’s pace. In contrast with hack-tivism, which achieves technological efficiency by oper-ating at a syntactical level; that is, at the level of codeprogramming, Dominguez locates the efficiencyreached by EDT’s virtual actions on a semantic level. InEDT’s actions, myriad symbolic gestures—tied more tothe politics of the question and utopia than to a revo-lutionary overthrowing of power—create disturbance

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through a poetic reformulation of the link between thereal and the virtual. EDT’s activism takes much of its symbolic force from the Zapatistas, the Mexicanindigenous insurrectionary movement who, through the communiqués delivered by their leader, the Sub-comandante Marcos, unfolded a creative use of lan-guage and technology as powerful weapons againsthegemonic power. EDT’s actions fall into the categoryof electronic civil disobedience, and, to dissociate themfrom acts of cyberterrorism or regular hacking, activistsask that these online political gestures comply to certainrules: The actions should always represent a communalinterest and not an individual agenda, their motifs andagents should be publicly exposed, they should alsoinclude a “live” element linking them to some sort ofstreet action, and they should be easily appropriated andreplicated by groups with little or no technologicalknowledge.

Concepts like virtual sit-in or electronic civil dis-obedience show the way in which cyberactivists referto the rhetoric of the street and to traditional activismin order to make their actions intelligible and mean-ingful beyond techno-jargon. Similarly, onlineactivism renames street actions as “offline” or “no-fi”;that is, involving no technology, to show the continu-ity between both online and “live” practices and theirvalue as tactics that can be juxtaposed or alternateddepending on the context.

One of the main debates in the field of onlineactivism revolves around the issue of digital correct-ness bringing hacktivists like Cult of the Dead Cowagainst other digital activists such as the ElectronicDisturbance Theater or The Electrohippies Collective,who carry out virtual sit-ins. The cDc claims that, byblocking access to certain web pages, virtual sit-insprovoke what is called a denial of service (DoS), an actthat they deem unethical and illegal because it violatesthe rights secured by the First Amendment of the U.S.Constitution. Similarly, Dominguez from EDT regardscDc’s actions as elitist and paramilitary in that they arehighly technological and their efficacy does not rely oncollective convergence, like EDT’s populist campaignsdo, but on the level of expertise of a single individual.

As a relatively new field of political action, digitalactivism invites the question of the concrete efficacy

of these gestures that are played out in the virtualrealm, a space to which people have different degreesof proximity and engagement. The importance of thiskind of activism should not be evaluated in terms ofthe number of servers that crash as a consequence ofthese actions. Born in the era of global capital, onlineactivism strives for the generation of a “swarm effect”across borders, a gathering of bodies that is not pred-icated on corporeal physical presence but on body-machine associations and networked behavior. Digitalactivist actions always play in tandem with mass-media coverage; that is, a big part of their successdepends on generating media attention, another wayfor the issues at stake to trespass borders.

Online actions can prove of importance in coun-tries where public spaces are highly regulated or mil-itarized. In these cases, online actions signify a betteroption than “live” actions, putting the electronic bodyon the front-line when the biological one is at risk.Online protest also plays a vital role when there is aneed to assert collective agency against the transna-tional institutions whose decisions affect the future oflocal economies and natural resources.

Despite the efforts of online activists to link theiractions to traditional protest culture, old-school activistsare skeptical about digital activism’s real capacity toeffect social change. However, scholars in the field pointout the importance of cyberactivism in that it generatesa radical shift in the use of the Internet and digital tech-nology as an instrument of hegemonic power to the dig-ital as a valid infrastructure for grassroots politicalmobilization. Digital activism provides new ways forthe body to inhabit this realm in an ideally transforma-tive fashion, turning from consumer to agent. This is theprinciple that contemporary activists and artists followto account for the power of bodily presence in both itsonline and offline manifestations. The establishment ofgovernmental secret agencies and laws in an attempt toregulate not only cyberspace but also digital actions hasalready proved the efficacy of the online body as theradical administrator of its own code.

—Marcela A. Fuentes

See also Blogging; Civil Disobedience; Digital Equity;Electronic Democracy; Virtual Sit-Ins

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Further Readings

Critical Art Ensemble. (1994). The electronic disturbance.New York: Autonomedia.

Critical Art Ensemble. (1996). Electronic civil disobedience.New York: Autonomedia.

Critical Art Ensemble. (2001). Digital resistance:Explorations in tactical media. New York: Autonomedia.

Fusco, C. (2003). On-line simulations/real-life politics:A discussion with Ricardo Domínguez on staging virtualtheatre. The Drama Review, 47(2), 151–162.

McCaughey, M., & Ayers, M. D. (Eds.). (2003).Cyberactivism: Online activism in theory and practice.New York: Routledge.

Rheingold, H. (2002). Smart mobs: The next socialrevolution. Cambridge, MA: Perseus.


The term digital divide was coined in the 1980s todescribe gaps in access to computers and the Internetamong individuals and groups based on race, gender,socioeconomic status, first language, disability, andother social or cultural identities. Early conceptualiza-tions of the digital divide tended to conceive accessonly in terms of physical access to or ownership ofthese technologies. In other words, if somebody livedin a household in which the Internet or a computerwas available, or if she or he attended a school with acomputer lab, that individual was perceived as havingInternet or computer access.

But in the 1990s, as critical cultural theorists, socialjustice educators, and other scholar-activists began to situate and analyze the digital divide within largeranalyses of racism, sexism, classism, linguicism, andimperialism, they found these early conceptualizationsof the digital divide to be lacking complexity as well associohistical and sociopolitical context. For example,by 2000 U.S. women had surpassed U.S. men tobecome a majority of the U.S. online population. Thisled many information technology scholars to hail theend of the gender digital divide. But girls and womencontinued to trail boys and men in educational andcareer pursuits related to computers and technology,due largely to a lack of encouragement, or blatant dis-couragement, from educators, peers, the media, and the

wider society. And women remained virtually lockedout of the increasingly techno-driven global economywhile men were more likely to recognize computersand the Internet as tools for economic and professionalgain. The equalizing of Internet access rates betweengirls and boys and between women and men was asignificant step toward the elimination of the genderdigital divide—a step toward equality. But when morecritical scholars with a deeper understanding of equityand social justice looked through a different lens, onepainted with the full historical scope of sexism at local,national, and global levels, a much more complex con-ceptualization for “access” began to emerge. If we areto understand authentically the cross-group gaps incomputer and Internet access, these scholars insisted,we first must understand these gaps as symptoms ofexisting systemic inequities. They began reshaping thedigital divide dialogue, broadening its scope, and ask-ing deeper questions about the role of cybertechnolo-gies in education and the larger society.

Emerging from these efforts was the digital equitymovement. This movement was, and continues to be,dedicated to (a) challenging the notion that computersand the Internet are inherently the “great equalizers”of society and the world, (b) uncovering ways inwhich an uncritical endorsem*nt of technological“progress” in the form of educational computertechnology is actually contributing to the cycle ofinequities, and (c) expanding the digital divide con-cept of “access” beyond mere physical access toinclude social, cultural, and political access to thesetechnologies and the social and economic benefits of that access. The base concern of the digital equitymovement is that most conceptions of the digitaldivide, and as a result, most programs designed toclose it, are too simplistic and thus replicate the veryprivilege and oppression continuum they ostensiblyaim to dismantle. The base goal of the digital equitymovement is to contribute to the larger social justicemovement by eliminating digital inequities—racism,sexism, heterosexism, classism, linguicism, ableism,imperialism, and other forms of oppression—as repli-cated through these electronic media.

The leaders of the digital equity movementinclude a wide variety of individuals and organizations

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spanning the world. As in any movement, thoseinvolved bring diverse lenses and priorities, somefocusing on one dimension of equity (such as sexism),some specializing in a particular form of activism(such as organizing and lobbying government offi-cials), some working in a particular sphere (such aseducation), and some leading grassroots efforts in aparticular region or community. One of the centralorganizations that bridges these roles is the DigitalDivide Network, providing information and points ofconnection for educators, activists, and policymakerscommitted to the digital equity movement. TheSociety for Information Technology and TeacherEducation, a branch of the Association for theAdvancement of Computers in Education, has alsoplayed a leading role in educating and organizingpeople to battle the digital divide. Digital Sisters, Inc.,a nonprofit organization providing technology educa-tion for women and children who are traditionallyunderserved, has emerged as a model for anti-digital-sexism activism. The Center for Democracy &Technology provides several outlets for activism, pro-moting democratic values in a digital age. Meanwhile,many other organizations including some, like theAmerican Association of University Women and theNational Association for Multicultural Education, thatare not focused centrally on technology, have becomeimportant advocates for the digital equity movement.

Among the many individual pioneers of the digitalequity movement, several have made particularlyunique and guiding contributions. Andy Carvin, coor-dinator of the Digital Divide Network, was an earlyleader of the movement and one of the first scholars tochallenge narrowly defined conceptions of computerand Internet access. Cynthia D. Waddell led the fight to apply the Americans with Disabilities Act tothe Internet, particularly advocating for accessibleInternet content for people with disabilities and theelderly. Susan Herring, professor of InformationSciences at Indiana University, has pushed a broadervision for the gender digital divide since the early1990s, especially with her studies of the genderizationof electronic discourse. Bonnie Bracey, a GeorgeLucas Education Foundation fellow, works as an edu-cator, activist, and lobbyist for digital equity.

In order to highlight and address the complexitiesof digital inequity and to challenge prevailing shallowunderstandings of the digital divide, these and otherscholars and activists have identified several guidingprinciples that drive the digital equity movement. Onesuch principle is that we must broaden the meaning of access beyond that of physical access to, or usagerates of, computers and the Internet to include accessto equitable support and encouragement to pursue andvalue technology-related fields, educationally andprofessionally. So, for example, while the digital equitymovement supports the idea of having computers inevery school classroom, it also insists that gender rolestereotypes that discourage many girls from pursuingpossible interests in technology must be eliminated inorder to achieve digital equity.

Another principle of the digital equity movement isthat all people must have equitably convenient accessto computer technology resources (including hard-ware, software, wired infrastructure, and assistivetechnology when necessary). This principle pushesagainst the notion that wealthy people inherentlydeserve quicker and more convenient access to newtechnologies such as high-speed Internet access sim-ply because they can afford them. It also challengesthe idea that public computer and Internet access,such as that available in libraries and other publicspaces, is comparable to computer and Internet accessin the comfort of one’s own home.

A third digital equity principle is grounded inresearch that shows that sexist, racist, heterosexist,and other oppressive dynamics observable offline areequally observable online. These dynamics, as mani-fested online, include the proliferation of Internet-based p*rnography, the abundance of white supremacistand other hate-based websites, the replication ofmale-dominated discussion patterns in online forums,and the prevalence of software, including computergames and educational programs, that draw on genderand racial stereotypes. According to this principle,digital equity can be realized only when all peoplehave equitable access to inclusive, nonhostile softwareand Internet content.

The digital equity movement also is dedicated tothe principle that all children must be exposed to new

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technologies in progressive, pedagogically soundways. Like the third principle, this one is grounded inresearch showing that educational uses of computersand the Internet mirror the inequitable practices preva-lent when these technologies are not in play. It is notenough, this principle states, to have computers andthe Internet in every classroom when some teachers(predominantly those at mostly white and mostlywealthy schools) use them to encourage critical andcreative thinking while others (predominantly atschools with large percentages of students of colorand students in poverty) use them to replicate theskills-and-drills and lower-level-thinking activities.This means that all teachers, regardless of the schoolsin which they teach, must have equitable access tocontinuous professional development on incorporat-ing advanced technologies into their teaching in pro-gressive, pedagogically sound ways.

A fifth principle stipulates that all people musthave access to culturally relevant, meaningful, andconsumable computer and Internet content. Digitalequity scholars whose work digs most deeply intothis principle argue, in essence, that simply providingaccess to software and Internet content is inadequatewhen little or no relevant content exists for a givengroup or individual. Research has shown, for exam-ple, that online content most relevant to poor or work-ing-class families all over the world—informationabout jobs, affordable shelter, and assistanceprograms—is largely nonexistent. Moreover, despitethe fact that most Internet users are not first languageEnglish speakers, less than one third of all websitesare available in languages other than English.According to the global digital equity movement,conceptions of the digital divide concerned only withwhether or not individuals or groups have physicalaccess to computers and the Internet fail to capturethese crucial intricacies.

Finally, a sixth principle asserts that the inequitiesthat exist among these and other dimensions of access,and the fact that these inequities most negativelyaffect people already disempowered by racism, sex-ism, classism, imperialism, and other forms of oppres-sion, necessitate a collective reconsideration of thegrowing global importance assigned to computers and

the Internet. The digital equity movement in this sensecalls for a deep and complex reconsideration of thelarger sociopolitical and socioeconomic ramificationsof the corporation-led push for globalization and thesetechnologies’ roles in the globalization process. Thisprinciple is based on a central question: How does thegrowing merger of cyberculture with wider U.S. cul-ture privilege those who already enjoy social, politi-cal, and economic access in the broadest sense?

Underlying all of these principles is an insistencethat the digital divide be understood as a symptom oflarger structures of inequity and injustice. By exten-sion, any plan or program for eliminating the digitaldivide and achieving digital equity must be connectedto and contextualized within larger movements forequity and social justice.

As the digital age spans into the 2000s and towardthe 2010s, the digital equity movement continues toapply these principles, critiquing insufficient effortsto close the digital divide and constructing new ini-tiatives to dismantle digital inequities. Meanwhile,the movement grows larger and more global eachyear as UNESCO and other international organiza-tions begin to highlight, educate about, and fight dig-ital inequities.

—Paul C. Gorski

See also Anti-Racist Teaching; Critical Literacy; CriticalPedagogy; Cyber Rights; Gender Equity Movement inSchools

Further Readings

American Association of University Women (AAUW).(2000). Tech-savvy: Educating girls in the new computerage. Washington, DC: AAUW Educational FoundationResearch.

Blair, K., & Takayoshi, P. (Eds.). (1999). Feministcyberscapes: Mapping gendered academic spaces.Stamford, CT: Ablex.

Children’s Partnership. (2003). Online content for low-income and underserved Americans. Washington, DC:Author.

Lenhart, A. (2003). The ever-shifting internet population:A new look at internet access and the digital divide.Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American LifeProject.

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Norris, P. (2001). Digital divide: Civic engagement,information poverty, and the internet worldwide.Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Solomon, G., Allen, N. J., & Resta, P. (Eds.). (2003). Towarddigital equity: Bridging the divide in education. Boston:Allyn & Bacon.

Warschauer, M. (2004). Technology and social inclusion:Rethinking the digital divide. Cambridge: MIT Press.


A political method in which persons, without the use of power holders, representatives, professionals, orindirect institutional means, engage practically insocial life and realize stated goals. With direct actionyou realize the intention of the action directly withoutasking for permission. Direct action might be secret orpublic, nonviolent or violent, legal or illegal, as well asagainst or for something. In its most unique variation ittransforms the goal into its means. For example, if youwant free speech in a dictatorship, you practice freespeech and ignore the rules, mind-set, and culture ofcensorship by publicly making your oppositionknown—as Charta 77 and other freedom groups didunder dictatorship in Eastern Europe before 1989. Or amovement, such as the Plowshares, which wishes fordisarmament of nuclear weapons but live in the UnitedStates, the most nuclear armed country in the world,put into practice their own disarmament actions at mil-itary factories and bases. With hammers, bolt cutters,and other household tools they disarm (or “destroy”)weapons equipment and thus enact the biblicalprophecy of beating their swords into plowshares.

Thus, direct action attempts to achieve the aspiredchange through autonomous means, bypassing powerholders. It is a kind of do-it-yourself (DIY) culture ofpolitics in which you make wished-for changes yourself.Direct action is the direct intervention into something insociety according to activists’ own values, ideas, orneeds, where perceived problems are directly redeemedor possibilities realized. A popular slogan among directactionists is “If not now, when? If not you, who?”

Its opposite is indirect action; that is, conventionalrepresentative politics. It would be indirect to ask

leaders, authorities, parents, experts, corporations, orcivil servants to solve a problem for you. Direct actionvaries and might be practical work to create fair trade,ecological villages, direct democracy, cooperatives, orto make your own clothes. It might also be a matter ofdramatic actions that confront power structures andstate laws.

This tradition was developed in labor struggles andby anarchism since the 19th century (e.g., in Russiaand Spain), 20th-century nonviolent movements (e.g.,in India), and the anti-authoritarian movements of1960s (e.g., the situationists in France). The concept ispopular today within various radical movements (e.g., militant environmentalists in the United States,Australia, and Norway).

Both academic and activist literature often mistakenlyequates the concept with civil disobedience, protest, ordemonstration. Some even understand it as necessarilyviolent and secret. Such confusion increases by the fre-quent reference to, for example, anarchist assassinationsof ruling elites in 19th-century Russia as a propaganda ofthe deed. Still, the U.S. civil rights leader Martin LutherKing, Jr., used the concept regularly but preferred to addthe word nonviolent. Nonviolent direct action is a com-mon term today within various movements in the UnitedStates and United Kingdom, often simply as NVDA. Anillegal and secret (and sometimes violence-prepared)direct action tradition is cultivated in diverse groups butsimilar DIY cultures, like the Animal Liberation Front inEngland, the Autonomen in Germany, and the BlackBloc in the United States.

At times direct action is treated as the opposite ofsymbolic action. In fact, all human actions that havemeaning and are communicated are symbolic. Andpolitical actions are clearly meaningful; that is, theyhave a message beyond what is practically achieved.Instead, it makes more sense to speak about a strongeror weaker symbolism of certain direct actions. Thenan action that really achieves its goal, here and now,becomes symbolically strong. If nothing real happensat all, political symbols become quite empty. Thenthey are only gestures or signs, like political badges ortraffic signs. Yet, a new generation of mass-mediausers, such as the Ruckus Society, one of the organiz-ers of the Battle of Seattle in 1999, transcends this old

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and assumed dichotomy and use, direct action toincrease the political strength of their symbols.

A relevant distinction is that between protest anddirect action. The protest is an appeal to authorities tochange their mind, policy, or decision, similar to thecomplaint subjects could present at the mercy of thesovereign in old times. A protest is not a direct changeof matters, decisively benefiting those concerned. Toshut off the light to save electricity is a legal directaction against nuclear power, while a blockade of aconstruction site for a power plant would be an illegalone. On the other hand we would have an illegalprotest action when a vigil is done on the constructionsite without directly affecting the work, while a legaldemonstration against nuclear power marching to thecapital, would be the typical kind of protest.

Gandhi maintained that nonviolence is a form ofdirect action. In his view, nonviolence is both an effec-tive tool and a value in itself. One’s actions should notbe guided by short-sighted results but by the strategyof making the means of struggle as much in accor-dance with the goals as possible. Thus, means are notseparated from goals but are goals in-the-making,small seeds of the tree we hope for. Goals need to beexpressed through the means if they are ever to mate-rialize. So, to Gandhi, the more our way of strugglingis formed by democracy, human rights, and solidarity,the more certain it is that we will reach that goal.

If you are against a motorway, then you can close it—like Reclaim the Streets in the UnitedKingdom—by organizing a street-party in the middleof the road. Then you have, instantly and without anyintermediary authorities, defined the road as a partysite. On Saturday the 13th of July, 1996, the motorwayM41 in London was turned into a gigantic electronicdance-street. Among 10,000 wild dancing participantsand under huge carnival figures walking on stilts with massive skirts, some activists with jack hammersbroke up the concrete and planted trees in the middleof the motorway, trees saved from the construction ofthe M11. The goal was realized, autonomously, thereand then. Because of direct action, an environmentalproblem and commercial culture were turned into afree and public space of desire and became a prefigu-ration of a new society.

Direct action does not necessarily create sustainedsocial change. Its immediate effects or activity mightbe ignored, reversed, or manipulated, if the activistsare too few and vague.

Groups sometimes compensate their small num-bers with higher commitment or physical techniques.The “tree hut” people in the United Kingdom climbup in log-threatened trees, build small huts in thebranches and connect them to a village with rope-bridges—and stay for months. Other activists mightdelay construction of a road by chaining themselves tomachines or by blocking the road with “tri-pods,”(i.e., high platforms on which they sit, making it moredifficult to remove them).

Still, the uniqueness of direct action is when theaction is a goal in itself—directly goal-revealing—orrather when the action embodies, materializes, and real-izes directly a value that is valuable in and by itself(what Max Weber described as value rationality). Theaction is oriented toward values that are intrinsicallyvaluable, not distant goals in a classic understanding ofmeans only valuable to reach an end (goal rationality).A house occupation has a value in itself for homeless—despite other potential consequences, positive as wellas negative—which doesn’t need external involvementto be fulfilled. Direct action is, therefore, primarily amatter of the self-realization of actors’ internally legiti-mated values. However, the action might be usedbefore, after, or parallel to dialogue, and as a tool tobring an issue to the political agenda and to createincreased communication and understanding betweenparties. For example, when fair-trade activists createprojects of actual fair trade, they also make their politi-cal demands more visible and attractive for others. Thisis more difficult for a direct action that stops somethingin society, is illegal, secret and encompasses a valuethat is not widely shared by others.

In a direct action you basically act as if you have theright to solve a common problem by yourself, as iflegitimate decision makers or equal opponents did not exist. Direct action can thus be anti-democratic ifactivists avoid communication with others, such as by the use of secrecy and violence. The democraticproblem with activists’ secret identities is not that they avoid identification by the police (that is a legal

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problem) but that they undermine democracy byblocking open and critical dialogue. Still, direct actiongroups are seldom that strong but have to, in the end,also rely on the indirect tool of deliberative democracy.

—Stellan Vinthagen

See also Anarchism; Earth First; Libertarians; Performativity;Praxis; Strategies and Tactics in Social Movements; VirtualSit-Ins

Further Readings

Epstein, B. (2002). The politics of prefigurative community:The non-violent direct action movement. In S. Duncombe(Ed.), Cultural resistance reader (pp. 333–346). NewYork: W. W. Norton.

Knabb, K. (Ed.) (1995). Situationist international: Anthology.Berkeley, CA: Bureau of Public Secrets.

Wall, D. (1999). Earth first! and the anti-roads movement—Radical environmentalism and comparative socialmovements. London: Routledge.


For many people, the disability movement began in the 1990s, due mostly to the Americans withDisabilities Act (ADA). They are wrong. For others,mostly those who are disabled, the disability move-ment began in the 1970s. They, too, are wrong. Thedisability movement began around the middle of the19th century, gaining impetus after the American CivilWar, from which many people returned with disabili-ties. The effects of rampant industrialization, though,first brought the disabled into the public arena. Sincethen, society has tried to keep the disabled out of thelimelight and in their place. What is their place?


There are many different definitions depending onwhat one is looking at. Over the years, especiallysince the 1960s, organizations have made adjustmentsto what they would consider disability. But thesedefinitions have little to do with why there has beenactivism by people with disabilities. The disabled

have, throughout history, fought against exclusion andprejudice.

Most every nondisabled person will eventuallybecome disabled, probably due to illness or disease,though accident cannot be ignored. At this writing, it isestimated that, at around 54 million, the disabled makeup the largest single minority in America. But thisnumber—approximately 20% of the population—ismisleading; 54 million is only the number of disabledwho are capable of working but are disallowed. Manypeople with disabilities are working. There are somewho don’t work and others who can’t, mostly children.Many are retired; others have a disability but don’tconsider themselves disabled. So the number of dis-abled is somewhat greater than this figure. Yet, in theend, what is normal raises a big question.

SSoocciiaall SSttiiggmmaa

The definition of disability within society goes fardeeper than numbers or looks, behavior or physicalability. The definition of disability includes socialperceptions—bias and prejudice. These ideas stemfrom ignorance and fear, according to the literature.Within the public sector, a disabled person is someonewho can’t function like—and looks different from—the norm. The majority considers itself normal.Because people with disabilities can’t do what normalpeople can in the same way, they are considered infe-rior or deficient.

People with disabilities are beggars and indigents.The disabled are objects of shame, pity, and ridicule.As such, they should be kept out of sight. Incarcerated,institutionalized, euthanized, prevented from beingborn, forbidden to marry, sterilized; some of thesehistorical solutions are still practiced. Some childrenwith disabilities are still forbidden schooling. Thegeneral population sees disability as a deficit in theindividual that is in need of fixing; that is, thesepeople need to be normalized. Many of these imageshold even when society has caused the disability, suchas due to war or workplace accident. Many of theseimages are medieval.

More than the physical barriers that keep peoplewith disabilities from living a normal, full life, it is

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these social attitudinal barriers that are the greatesthurdle to enjoying a good life and that need to beovercome, while the nondisabled enjoy a better ormore productive life because of accommodations forthe disabled: automatic doors, telephones, typewrit-ers, American football’s huddle, the umpires’ handsignals in baseball.

History: 19th Century

In 1817 the first permanent school for children withdisabilities in the West was cofounded by ThomasHopkins Gallaudet: the American School for the Deaf.Despite the American Civil War, not much more wasaccomplished in the way of help for the disabled ortheir integration into society at large. Yet, the periodfrom 1880 to 1930 was a time of major redefinitionvia policies and laws and medicine; however, isolatinginstitutions remained the accepted way of dealingwith disabilities. While offering more support andtraining than before, these institutions still tookpeople with disabilities out of the public eye.

Early 20th Century

In 1920 the American Foundation for the Blind wasorganized and was subsequently supported by HelenKeller. Then, it was a clearinghouse for informationand advocacy; now it is a publishing house. In theyears leading up to 1920, Keller protested againstlabor practices and, as a result of her work and thework of others, child labor laws were enacted. It washoped that, in doing so, disabilities could be pre-vented. Other laws sought to hold companies respon-sible for accidents that disabled workers.

The first vocational rehabilitation acts were passedin the 1920s to provide services for the many WorldWar I veterans who were disabled. But the passage ofthese laws was the result of years of protesting andfighting for both recognition and rights within society.The League of the Physically Handicapped wasformed during the Depression in response to the gov-ernment’s anti-disability policies. In 1940 the singlemost politically powerful organization for the dis-abled was founded: The National Federation of the

Blind. It was staffed by blind people. In the 1950s,concerned parents began to organize around develop-mental disability, leading to the founding of theNational Association for Retarded Children (now,ARC, Association for Retarded Children) and theUnited Cerebral Palsy Association.

Late 20th Century

Although the spinal cord injured, those with polio,and psychiatrically disabled began to assert theirrights in the 1960s, it was not until the 1970s that thedisabled burst their bubble of marginalization andappeared ready for action on the public stage—andwould not go away. Perhaps the most importantpeople were Ed Roberts, who founded the first inde-pendent living organization in Berkeley, California, in1972, a movement that has spread over the UnitedStates with more than 400 such centers today; andJudy Neumann, who organized Disabled in Action inNew York City. Both began with protests over educa-tion, Judy winning the first disability-based employ-ment discrimination case in New York City. Both wenton to found the World Institute on Disability in 1983.By this time, Justin Dart had entered the fray, eventu-ally becoming known as the “Father of the ADA.”

This more recent and far-reaching disability move-ment took its inspiration from the civil rights move-ment of the 1960s. Perhaps the most aggressive andeffective organization for social change is theAmerican Disabled for Attendant Programs Today(ADAPT), originally organized as the AmericanDisabled for Accessible Public Transit in Denver. Itsfirst action was a demonstration against the Denvertransit system in 1978, disabling the running of busesfor 24 hours. This action led to further such demon-strations that resulted in national legislation makingbuses accessible to those people with mobility impair-ments, including wheelchair users. ADAPT remainsan aggressive civil disobedience organization, oftenrelying on the bad press associated with police over-zealousness and arrests of people who cannot walk oruse their upper extremities.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973—especiallySection 504 that prohibits discrimination in federal

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programs and services, as well as entities that receivefederal funding, mandating removal of architecturalbarriers—was an important advancement for themovement. Coupled with the 1975 Education of AllHandicapped Children Act (now IDEA: Individualswith Disabilities Education Act) and ADAPT’s suc-cess, these were the most significant legal stridesmade in the 1970s for inclusion.

In 1985, the Mental Illness Bill of Rights Act,which required protection and advocacy for peoplewith mental illness, was passed after a nearly decade-long battle by parents and families to override andcontrol the abuse that passed for treatment. The FairHousing Amendments of 1988 forbade discriminationby landlords against the disabled population and theirservice or companion animals. This was significant inthe fight for deinstitutionalization and integration.

All of these piecemeal victories, gained after con-siderable grassroots activism, led to the signing of theADA in 1990. Although this act provided broad legalprotection everywhere in society, in public or privateplaces, businesses and states have sometimes fought tolimit and undermine the various entitlements for a vari-ety of reasons, especially as relates to any kind or com-pensation for discrimination in employment (asmandated in Title I of the ADA). It is paradoxical thatthese entities admit the discrimination but claim thereis no legal basis for compensation. For the most part,to date they have won the day. Grassroots activismmay be effective, especially within the community, butgovernment regulations are not. It is solely by grass-roots activism that the government has seen to passlaws. But government regulations—laws—are foughttooth-and-nail as an imposition on the status quo.

Throughout this movement to inclusion, there hadbeen many others who, both in and out of government,have worked assiduously for change, though some-times not gaining public notice. These people includeFrederick A. Fay, who pioneered use of assistancetechnology and convinced Hertz to provide hand con-trols in its cars—the first car company to do so. TimNugent was the founder of the first disabled studentorganization in 1947 and the National WheelchairBasketball Association, while developing self-caretechniques for the spinal cord injured and the first

hydraulic lift for buses. Mary Elizabeth Switzerexerted more influence on the upgrading of life for thedisabled than anyone else between 1950 and 1969, ashead of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (now Office of Vocational Rehabilitation). In 1967,she moved to the administration of Social andRehabilitation Services at Health Education andWelfare.

Thus, despite advancements, the disability move-ment is still fighting for recognition and civil citizen-ship status for millions of stigmatized people withdisabilities. Legal barriers have been overcome inmany instances; attitudinal barriers—prejudice—arenot so easily abridged.

—James L. Secor

See also Civil Rights Acts; Civil Rights Movement;Disability Studies; Keller, Helen

Further Readings

Charlton, J. I. (1998). Nothing about us without us: Disabilityoppression and empowerment. Berkeley: University ofCalifornia Press.

Johnson, M. (2000). Make them go away: Clint Eastwood,Christopher Reeve and the case against disability rights.Louisville, KY: Avocado Press.

Longmore, P., & Umansky, L. (Eds.). (2001). The newdisability history: American perspectives. New York:New York University Press.

Pelka, F. (1997). ABC-CLIO companion to the disabilityrights movement. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Shapiro, J. P. (1994). No pity: People with disabilitiesforging a new civil rights movement. New York: ThreeRivers Press.


Disability studies is an interdisciplinary area of study,based in the humanities and social sciences, that viewsdisability in cultural, social, and political terms, ratherthan through the lens of biology or psychology. Inthese latter disciplines, the primary way of conceptu-alizing “disability” is typically connected to someform of deficit or measuring distance from the “norm”

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for purposes of intervention, remediation, and bring-ing one closer to the established norm. Disabilitystudies challenges this singular view of the constructof disability and aims to present a variety of perspec-tives on disability, both in contemporary society aswell as those from a range of cultures and histories.One goal of disability studies is to challenge the ideaof the normal/abnormal binary and to suggest andshow that a range of human variation is “normal.”

Like African American studies, women’s studies, andLatino/a studies in the universities, which were out-growths of the civil rights and women’s movements,disability studies has roots in the disability rights move-ment (DRM). In the United States, the DRM helpedpass legislation relating to the civil rights of individualswith regard to employment (Rehabilitation Act of 1973;Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990), education(Education for All Handicapped Children Act, PL94–142, 1975), and accessible transportation. TheSociety for Disability Studies (SDS) was started in 1982by a group of academics led by Irving Zola. The origi-nal name was Section for the Study of Chronic Illness,Impairment, and Disability (SSCIID), part of theWestern Social Science Association.

In the United Kingdom, the Union of thePhysically Impaired Against Segregation (UPIAS),formed in 1972, was instrumental in politicizing dis-ability. Mike Oliver, a disabled sociologist, wrote thePolitics of Disablement in 1990, in which he analyzedhow a social issue such as disability gets cast as anindividual medicalized phenomenon.

While the political movements led social scientiststo explorations of disability, the arts and humanitieshave also taken up the study of disability. The interdis-ciplinarity that characterizes disability studies allowsfor a variety of methodologies and approaches to beapplied to the study of disability. Some of theseinclude narratives of disability; analysis of representa-tions of disability (in literature, the arts, the law, media);challenging the absence of disabled researchers in theacademy; writing or rewriting histories of disability;creating visual art, performance, and poetry that high-lights the experiences of disabled people in a worldbuilt for the nondisabled; analysis of the socialorganization of space that excludes people with

disabilities; philosophies of justice that speak directlyto the interests of the disabled; and narratives andanalyses of the experience of living with a disabilityand how this intersects with race, class, and genderstatus markers.

More recently, in 2000, Disability Studies inEducation has been organized as a Special InterestGroup (SIG) of The American Educational ResearchAssociation (AERA) as a critique of the segregation,low expectations, poor outcomes, disproportionate clas-sification of students of color, and positivist epistemol-ogy that characterizes special education in the UnitedStates. The goal of disability studies in any arena is tobroaden the understanding of disability, to better under-stand the experience of disability in society, and to con-tribute to social change for people with disabilities.

—Nancy E. Rice

See also Disability Rights Movement

Further Readings

Albrecht, G., Seelman, K., & Bury, M. (Eds.). (2001).Handbook of disability studies. Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage.

Davis, L. (Ed.). (1997). Disability studies reader. New York:Routledge.

Gabel, S. (Ed.). (2005). Disability studies in education:Readings in theory and method. New York: Peter Lang.

Oliver, M. (1990). The politics of disablement: A sociologicalapproach. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan.


Dissent came into English in the late 16th century asboth a general term meaning disagreement in outlookor sentiment and as a specific term meaning differenceof opinion in regard to religious doctrine or worship.With both meanings, dissent signified the opposite ofconsent or assent. Important correlatives threadingthrough the centuries astride dissent include protest,nonconformity, and collectivity.

Dissent is contentious, adversarial, nonconformistpolitical thought and activity that contests, opposes, or


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transgresses entrenched, commonly expressed ideas,rules, topics, and norms of public interaction anddeliberation. Dissent by definition is conflictual.Amid the throes of conflict, dissident citizens andgroups often present significant challenges to thesocial order. Yet for dissident citizens, conflict is notan end; rather, it is a means toward public learning andpossibly even the creation of newfound consensus.

Dissident citizens and groups meet the followingthree criteria: (1) They publicly contest prevailing struc-tures of power and/or the underlying logic of publicpolicy, (2) they engage in some extra-institutional, oppo-sitional tactics, though they may be flexible actors thatemploy forms of action both inside and outside the insti-tutional pathways of political power, and (3) on at leastsome issues, they have marginal stances that are not con-sistently entering the dominant political discourse.

While in its most general sense, the term dissentindicates the rejection of commonly held views or dis-agreement with the ideas, opinions, and views of themajority (e.g., a dissenting opinion in the judicial con-text: when at least one judge disagrees with the major-ity decision), dissent goes beyond disagreement or withholding assent. Dissent is a calibration moreactive than disagreement. Dissident citizens there-fore not only disagree with predominant—or evenhegemonic—political ideas of their time, but also takeaction to change their sociopolitical environment. Inother words, dissent is the collective mechanism forinitiating social change.

As such, dissent involves both a dedication toautonomous thinking as well as a willingness to act onbehalf of nonconformist principles, ideas, and ideals.Dissident citizens disregard the resilient, pervasivesocial pressures to conform not only their thinking,but also their behavior. They often work for causesbigger than themselves, actively pushing to meet thegoals and aims of these causes. Practitioners of dis-sent disagree with and actively oppose official, domi-nant, or hegemonic doctrines and explicitly expresspolitical difference with received ideas in an attemptto widen the path of freedom and improve thevibrancy of civil society.

Dissenting citizens remain outside of much demo-cratic theory that focuses on deliberative democracy

and discourse. Dissidents move beyond the activity ofdeliberative citizens who participate in contained pol-itics within the institutional structures of democracy.Dissident citizens—who see the deliberative role,regardless of how critical it may be, as merely a start-ing point, rather than an end in itself—engage intransgressive contention using innovative politicalaction that is either unprecedented or prohibited. Theytake direct action against what they see as problematicpolitical policies, practices, and procedures. They movevigorously against taken-for-granted hegemonicideas, ideals, and institutions.

Rather than rely on voting, petitioning, and letter writing, dissident citizens create a variety ofunconventional public spaces and events—such asprotest marches, picket lines, worker strikes, con-sumer boycotts, and street theater—on the marginsand in the fractures of the polity. Dissident citizenscan come from anywhere on the political spectrum,but they share a propensity to engage in alternativeforms of political engagement that are democratic,innovative, and oppositional.

Dissident citizens do not move beyond the realm ofthe deliberative, sanctioned public sphere merely forfun. In fact, they view the public sphere as problem-atic in that the seemingly benign call for cool-headeddeliberation can actually be used as an instrument todictate the terms of discourse that tend to dismisssubordinate, dissident groups. In stratified societieswhere social inequality exists, it can be very difficultto carve out distinct discursive spaces that allow dissi-dents to extricate themselves from the repercussionsof these social inequalities, because deliberative pro-cedures and processes in the public sphere tend totranspire to the advantage of dominant groups and tothe disadvantage of subordinate or subaltern groups.Dissent places checks on the exclusionary nature ofconsensus-building procedures that are central indeliberative democracy in the public sphere.

In reality, the public sphere is animated by abedrock contradiction. In order to forge policies thatcan enhance the freedom, liberty, and autonomy of allcitizens, the general public relies on deliberativeprocedures and practices that exclude many individu-als and groups as well as their ideas, interests, and


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grievances. This chasm between democratic principleand on-the-ground democratic practice leads dissidentcitizens to forge alternative modes of participation.Rather than relenting to the illusory consensus-basedconception of a monolithic, unitary “we,” members ofhistorically subordinated groups—like women, racialminorities, gays and lesbians, and workers—formalternative spaces of dissent where they are able toprocess, adapt, and reformulate their ideas, strategies,and tactics. These zones of dissent provide safe intel-lectual arenas from which alternative discourses canbe catapulted into the mainstream public sphere,thereby widening democracy.

While there are renegade dissident citizens whopractice dissent alone (the Unabomber, for example),most work within social movements: concerted, sus-tained collectivities with common goals and purposesthat are buoyed by solidarity and camaraderie as theyengage in fractious relations with adversaries, elites,and people in positions of authority.

When faced with vigorous, organized dissident socialmovements, the state has four options for its response:(1) suppression, (2) mollification, (3) co-optation, or (4) ignoring these movements for change. The state’sefforts to suppress dissent, which are meant to discour-age such organized contention and prevent it fromwidening, are a common reaction. Going back centuries,the state’s suppression of dissent has occurred in coun-tries across the globe. In fact, the state’s propensity toresort to the suppression of dissent has been establishedboth qualitatively and quantitatively by social scientistsacross time and place. During this time, a variety of dis-sident citizens and movements from numerous countrieshave experienced significant and sustained suppression,from Soviet dissidents like writer Andrey Sinyavsky toChinese dissidents in Tiananmen Square, from Africandissidents such as Congolese political leader PatriceLumumba to U.S. dissidents such as Fred Hampton ofthe Black Panther Party.

Despite the state’s consistent—and sometimesvicious—efforts to suppress the endeavors of dissi-dent citizens, political dissent functions as society’ssafety valve, a pressure release. If dissidents are notallowed to publicly register their ideas and opinions,they are more likely to resort to violent forms ofexpression. In fact, by effectively plugging this safety

valve, thereby preventing the release of pent-up polit-ical pressure, the state may well encourage violentdissent. Such an equation harkens U.S. President JohnF. Kennedy’s admonition that those who stultifypeaceful change make violent revolution more of apossibility. In extant democracy, countries are morelikely to thrive socially and economically if theyembrace dissent and support transparency. By defini-tion, dissident citizens widen the social dialogue, andwell-functioning societies benefit from thickened dis-course writhing with variegated ideas and opinions.

Dissenting citizens not only speak to perceived dan-gers and problems in society, but they also speak to theopportunities and possibilities of vigorous political life.Dissidents challenge the axiomatic, taken-for-granted“realities” of prevailing societal discourse(s), as theyquestion the silences, omissions, and limitations ofthese dominant social constructions. In historical hind-sight, dissident citizens are often held up as nationalheroes. Certainly this is the case in the United States,from Sam Adams and his revolutionary comrades toFrederick Douglass and the slavery abolitionists, fromSusan B. Anthony to Martin Luther King, Jr. It is diffi-cult to deny the importance of these dissidents in U.S.history; they are held up as model U.S. Americans pre-cisely because their dissident philosophies stronglychallenged the prevailing social discourse of the time,as well as because of their persistent commitment in theface of risk, fear, and sometimes even danger.

As previously mentioned, the term dissent has reli-gious roots. Dissent with a capital D designates thosewho actively opposed the hegemony of the Church of England in the 17th century. These Dissenters weremembers of Protestant denominations—primarily theBaptists, Presbyterians, Quakers, and the Independents(who later were dubbed Congregationalists)—whoeventually combined to overthrow King Charles I beforesetting up the English Commonwealth.

With the rise of U.S. President George W. Bush,one of the most explicitly religious presidents in U.S.history (he has claimed he believes God wants him tobe president), who has enjoyed the fervent support of the Christian Right, this more specific definition of dissent—disagreement with the form of religiousworship that prevails or is authoritatively established—may be in line for a comeback. Bush’s prayer for the


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vim and vigor to do the Lord’s will in Iraq mayengender a new wave of politico-religious dissent tomatch the fervor of the English Dissidents of previ-ous times.

More commonly acknowledged practitioners ofdissent from the contemporary era include VandanaShiva, Edward Said, Njoki Njoroge Njehu, OscarOlivera, Leslie Cagan, Nelson Mandela, Cornel West,Noam Chomsky, Robin Hahnel, Amy Goodman, JoséBové, Aung San Suu Kyi, Arundhati Roy, Angela Y.Davis, Juan Gonzalez, and Wangari Maathai.

—Jules Boykoff

See also Activism, Social and Political; Battle of Seattle;Bové, José; Campus Antiwar Network; ChicanoMovement; Christian Right; Civil Rights Movement;Davis, Angela; Direct Action; Earth First!; EnvironmentalMovement; Government Suppression of Social Activism;Living Wage Movement; Maathai, Wangari; Mandela,Nelson; Nonviolence and Activism; Poor People’sCampaign; Resistance; Roy, Arundhati; Said, Edward;Social Movements, Sociology of; Soviet Dissidents;Strategies and Tactics in Social Movements; Suu Kyi,Aung San; Tiananmen Square; Union Movements; Voicesin the Wilderness; Welfare Rights Movement; West,Cornel; Women’s International League for Peace andFreedom; Women’s Suffrage Movement; YouthOrganizing and Activism

Further Readings

Benhabib, S. (Ed.). (1996). Democracy and difference:Contesting the boundaries of the political. Princeton, NJ:Princeton University Press.

Boykoff, J. (2006). The suppression of dissent: How the stateand mass media squelch USAmerican social movements.New York: Routledge.

Elster, J. (Ed.). (1998). Deliberative democracy. New York:Cambridge University Press.

Fraser, N. (1992). Rethinking the public sphere:A contribution to the critique of actually existingdemocracy. In C. Calhoun (Ed.), Habermas and the publicsphere (pp. 109–142). Cambridge: MIT Press.

Sparks, H. (1997). Dissident citizenship: Democratic theory,political courage, and activist women. Hypatia, 12,74–110.

Sunstein, C. (2003). Why societies need dissent. Cambridge,MA: Harvard University Press.

Tarrow, S. (1998). Power in movement: Social movementsand contentious politics (2nd ed.). New York: CambridgeUniversity Press.


Perhaps the most important voice of social democraticthought in the United States, Dissent was the brainchildof Irving Howe, Stanley Plastrik, and Manny Geltman.First published in 1954, Dissent sought to provide anoption between conventional liberal journals and themore doctrinaire, and outdated, organs of the old intel-lectual Left. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Dissentcombined a steadfast anti-communist foreign policywith a commitment to domestic social and economicjustice. Dissent was a passionate voice of opposition tothe increased conservatism in American government inthe latter 20th century, especially during the years ofthe Ronald Reagan presidency.

Howe was the primary force behind Dissent fromits birth until his death in 1993. Howe wanted Dissentto provide a voice for genuine third-path democraticsocialism. Virtually alone among the organs of ex-independent leftists, like The Partisan Review,Encounter, and Commentary, Dissent continued toconcentrate on issues of labor and work. Throughoutthe late 1950s and 1960s, Dissent published articleson work and unions by such writers as Paul Jacobs,Frank Marquart, Harvey Swados, and BrendanSexton. In the 1980s and 1990s Dissent continued tocover organized labor’s declining fortunes. Dissentresponded to and supported the mainstream civilrights movement from its beginnings.

Dissent was generally supportive of the studentactivism of the 1960s, but the attempts of Howe andothers in the Dissent circle to engage many NewLeftists often proved disastrous. Howe was leery ofwhat he thought was a tolerance for authoritarianismamong groups like the Students for a DemocraticSociety and his, at times, biting criticism hurt effortsto fuse a positive working relationship with theincreasingly radical New Left as the decade wore on.

Howe and Dissent were criticized at times for notadvocating unilateral withdrawal from Vietnam duringthe 1960s, but Dissent was still fiercely critical ofAmerican policy in Southeast Asia during the 1960sand early 1970s. Dissent remained sharply critical ofAmerican foreign policy in general throughout the1970s and 1980s. The journal eventually moved from

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a more pointed democratic socialist perspective to aposition of representing the left-liberal wing of theDemocratic Party. Dissent was modestly optimisticfollowing the election of Bill Clinton to the presidencyin 1992. Academics and former New Leftists like MichaelKazin and Todd Gitlin became contributors.

Key to Howe’s vision of Dissent was the preserva-tion of intellectual and political freedom. Dissent hasremained to the left of the Democratic Party, but hasnever strayed from its anti-communist and anti-totalitarian roots.

—Gregory Geddes

See also Democratic Socialism; Harrington, Michael; Rustin,Bayard; Trotskyism

Further Readings

Howe, I. (Ed.). (1967). The radical imagination: Ananthology from Dissent magazine. New York: NewAmerican Library.

Howe, I. (1982). A margin of hope. New York: HarcourtBrace Jovanovich.

Sorin, G. (2002). Irving Howe: A life of passionate dissent.New York: New York University Press.

Wald, A. (1987). The New York intellectuals: The rise anddecline of the anti-Stalinist left from the 1930s to the1980s. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Walzer, M., & Mills, N. (2004). 50 years of dissent. NewHaven, CT: Yale University Press.





Milovan Djilas was a Yugoslav politician, activist, anddissident writer. He became known for his daringcritique of Tito’s communism and for his innovativeanalysis of the communist bureaucracy. Djilas was bornin Podbišce (Montenegro) to a peasant family. He

studied law and literature in Belgrade, though he nevercompleted his studies due to his engagement in the communist movement and his imprisonment for anti-royalist activities. Acquainted with Josip Broz Tito, who from 1937 headed the YugoslavianCommunist Party, Djilas joined the Central Committeein 1937 and the Politburo in 1940. He was activelyinvolved in the resistance movement against the Nazioccupation and in the War of National Liberation. Heheaded the diplomatic mission to the Soviet Union andpersonally met Stalin, which he later detailed in hisbook Conversations with Stalin. In 1945 he became theMinister for Montenegro in the Yugoslav Governmentof National Unity; in 1948 he became the head of thePropaganda Department (Agitprop), and in 1953, hebecame vice president of the Yugoslav Republic. In1950, together with Edvard Kardelj and Boris Kidric, heformulated the doctrine of “worker’s self-management”and advocated policies of economic decentralization.

Djilas expressed his views about Yugoslav commu-nism in the newspapers Borba, Nova Jugoslavija,and Nova Misao. His democratic-socialist criticism of the undemocratic and centralizing reforms, as well asthe authoritarian leadership style of the party, broughthim in direct conflict with Tito. As a result, Djilas was denigrated at the Third Party Plenum in 1954 andremoved from the government. Djilas subsequentlyresigned his party membership.

After an interview with the New York Times in 1955,Djilas was tried for spreading anti-state propaganda.He was imprisoned in 1956 for his support of theHungarian Uprising and remained in prison for the next decade because of the publications abroad ofthe New Class: An Analysis of the Communist Systemof 1957 and Conversations with Stalin of 1962. In theNew Class, Djilas argued that Soviet-style commu-nism failed to realize the egalitarian claim of Marxismand instead facilitated the emergence of a privilegedsocial stratum of party bureaucrats. As a result, thecommunist societies were devoid of the bonds of soli-darity and comradeship. Commentators on the NewClass have also emphasized that while it was writtenfrom the perspective of revisionist Marxism, it alsosignified Djilas’s initial doubts regarding the accuracyof Marx’s dogma of historical materialism.

470———Djilas, Milovan (1911–1995)

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During his imprisonment Djilas continued his liter-ary activities; writing novels, political essays,a memoir titled Land Without Justice (1958), and a translation of Milton’s Paradise Lost into Serbo-Croatian. When he was released from prison, Djilascontinued his dissident writings while being subject tostate persecution in the form of a travel and publica-tion ban. In 1980, Djilas wrote Tito’s biography, Tito:The Story from Inside, which was published abroad.

Djilas was officially rehabilitated in 1989. Inpostcommunist Yugoslavia, he opposed the Serbiannationalist politics of Miloševic’s era. He died inBelgrade on April 20, 1995.

—Magdalena Zolkos

See also Communism; Democratic Socialism; Dissent; Lenin,V. I.; Literature and Activism; Marxist Theory; Socialism

Further Readings

Clissold, S. (1983). Djilas: The progress of a revolutionary.Middlesex, UK: Maurice Temple Smith.

Reinhartz, D. (1981). Milovan Djilas. Boulder, CO: EastEuropean Monographs.


Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières)is an international medical and non-governmentalorganization that provides emergency assistance toindividuals in more than 70 countries. Founded inFrance in 1971 by a group of doctors and journaliststo address the famine in Biafra, Nigeria, this humani-tarian organization continues to deliver emergency aidto areas of the world torn apart by armed violence,epidemic illness, inadequate health care systems, anddisasters (natural and human-made). The health careworkers in this organization include physicians,nurses, strategic planners, experts in water and sanita-tion, administrators, and other nonmedical staff.When intervening after an emergency, the DoctorsWithout Borders teams work closely with staff thatthey hire locally to provide the medical relief that ismost effective and necessary.

This organization has provided relief in numerousarmed conflicts, including the civil wars in Sri Lanka,Liberia, Somalia, Burundi, the Republic of Congo, andSierra Leone. Doctors Without Borders has also inter-vened in war situations in Cambodia, Lebanon, theSoviet invasion of Afghanistan, Central America, theKurdish refugees in northern Iraq, Bosnia, the genocidein Rwanda, the Srebenica massacre, the second war in Chechnya, the U.S.-led coalition invasion ofAfghanistan, the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and fighting in the Liberian capital. Their work addressing famine reliefincludes countries such as Ethiopia, Somalia, NorthKorea, Southern Sudan, and Angola. In addition, theorganization addresses widespread illness in countries,treating infectious diseases such as the epidemics ofHIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, meningitis, and malaria inAfrica. Regardless of the sociopolitical context of the cri-sis in a country, the organization methodically assessesthe needs of the people in the country that requiresassistance. Doctors Without Borders clearly communi-cates that their mission does not involve partisan politics.Rather, the decision they make about whether to

Doctors Without Borders———471

Throughout Sierra Leone, amputee communities exist andare in urgent need of help since the government does notprovide assistance. Amputee communities depend onrelief efforts from numerous international organizations.Doctors Without Borders works closely with NGOs suchas Global Action Foundation to provide medical services.

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intervene in a country is based on their assessment of thespecific needs of the individuals in that country.

Doctors Without Borders is internationally recog-nized for its rapid response to emergency situationsaround the globe. The medical teams arrive in countriesrequiring medical aid fully provisioned with themedical protocols and supplies needed to immediatelybegin saving lives. Supporting their efforts is theirstrategic organization of needed medical supplies. Forinstance, Doctors Without Borders have medical equip-ment and kits that are specially prepared and prepack-aged to treat cholera. Therefore, when a choleraoutbreak occurs, they can immediately provide the nec-essary medical assistance. Due to their effectiveness,the tools and organizing skills that the organization usesas a model of intervention have been replicated bynumerous other international relief organizations.

The Doctors Without Borders teams typically work 6 to 12 months when responding to a crisis situation. Theexpenses that are incurred during assignments are cov-ered by the organization, and sometimes a small stipendis provided as well. Recently, the organization has takenon an advocacy role based on the knowledge garneredfrom their interventions. For instance, Doctors WithoutBorders is highlighting the cost-prohibitive challengesof drug prices, the need for research of alternative treat-ments of illness, and the trade barriers that exist inaccessing effective and necessary medical treatment.

—Anneliese Singh

See also Genocide Watch; Human Rights Watch; Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

Further Readings

Leyton, E., & Locke, G. (1998). Touched by fire: Doctorswithout borders in a third world crisis. Toronto:McClelland & Stewart.

Suen, A. (2002). Doctors without borders. New York: Rosen.


(1942– )

Ariel Dorfman is a playwright, essayist, fiction writer,and human rights activist. Born to a Jewish family in

Argentina, his family moved from the United States toChile in 1954, where he would eventually both attendand teach at the University of Chile in Santiago. From1970 to 1973, Dorfman was a member of the admin-istration of President Salvador Allende, a socialistphysician whom the American government hadactively opposed. On September 11, 1973, Allende’sdemocratically elected government was violentlyoverthrown in a military coup that put the infamousdictator General Augusto Pinochet in power. Dorfmanwas forced into exile, living and writing in the UnitedStates until the restoration of Chilean democracybegan in 1990. Since 1985, he has taught at DukeUniversity in Durham, North Carolina, where he iscurrently Walter Hines Page Research Professor ofLiterature and Professor of Latin American Studies.

His play Death and the Maiden, perhaps his best-known work, was completed in Chile in the early1990s as he observed his country’s painful transitionfrom authoritarianism to democracy. The politicallycharged play follows Paulina Salas, a former politicalprisoner in an unnamed Latin American country,whose husband unknowingly brings home the manshe believes to have tortured and raped her more than20 years before. It is a drama rooted in Chile’s par-ticular human rights crisis, yet the lyrical power ofDorfman’s writing has made the play a touchstone forexploring similar issues around the world. It has beenstaged in more than 30 countries; Germany alone had50 productions running simultaneously in 1993. In1994 the play was adapted for film, starring SigourneyWeaver and Ben Kingsley, directed by RomanPolanski; one part of Dorfman’s “Resistance Trilogy”with Reader and the novel Widows. Author of the nov-els Blake’s Remedy, The Nanny and the Iceberg, andKonfidenz, Dorfman can be counted as part of thevibrant politically engaged Latin American literarytradition of Pablo Neruda and Gabriel GarcíaMárquez.

Dorfman has been a dedicated public intellectualand prolific commentator on issues related to LatinAmerican politics, American cultural hegemony, war,and human rights, for the Los Angeles Times,Washington Post, El País, Granta, and Le Monde. Hehas also worked with organizations such as AmnestyInternational, Index on Censorship, and Human

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Rights Watch. He used his firsthand experience of pre-Pinochet Chile, a functioning democracy with anindependent press and judiciary and a military undercivilian control, and its sudden end, as a platform forimpassioned response to the attacks of September 11,2001, in essays such as “Americans Must Now FeelWhat the Rest of Us Have Known” and “Chile: TheOther September 11.” Dorfman now divides his timebetween the United States and Santiago.

—Brook Willensky-Lanford

See also Allende, Salvador; CIA Repression of SocialMovements; Human Rights Watch; Literature andActivism; Neruda, Pablo; Socialism

Further Readings

Dorfman, A. (1998). Heading south, looking north:A bilingual journey. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Dorfman, A. (2002). Exorcising terror: The incredible on-going trial of General Augusto Pinochet. New York:Seven Stories Press.



Marjory Stoneman Douglas dedicated decades of her108-year life to various social and environmentalcauses. She is most often remembered as the Protectorof the Everglades. As a columnist, a short story writer,a novelist, and a social and environmentalist activist,Douglas was a force to be reckoned with in Floridabecause of her ability to garner attention and supportfrom the public and the media.

Douglas was born in Minneapolis on April 7, 1890.She graduated from Wellesley College in 1912 andmoved to Miami in 1915 to join her father, FrankBryant Stoneman, a founder of the Miami Herald.Douglas soon became a member of the Florida EqualSuffrage Association and joined a group of womenwho failed to convince Florida’s legislature to ratifythe Nineteenth Amendment. Desiring an altruisticway to assist the war effort in Europe during WorldWar I, Douglas volunteered with the Red Cross. Shewas assigned to the civilian relief department in Paris.

Douglas stayed on after the Armistice in order to helpcoordinate and publicize refugee relief efforts in theBalkans and other war-torn regions.

Following her return from Europe, Douglas beganwriting a column for the Miami Herald. She promotedwomen’s rights and criticized Miami’s housing boom.Two of her greatest achievements as a columnistincluded establishing the first charity not run by achurch in Miami, which was a baby milk fund for thecity’s impoverished, and generating enough publicoutcry about the death of a young prisoner that thestate legislature abolished the leasing and corporalpunishment of convicts. Foreshadowing her work asan environmentalist, some of her columns includedartful poems about the Everglades’ subtle beauty inresponse to the descriptions of rapacious developerswho characterized it as useless muck.

Douglas’s championing of the Everglades contin-ued when she became a professional short storywriter. Between 1920 and 1943 she published morethan 75 stories, mostly for the Saturday Evening Post.Douglas craftily used her enjoyable stories to exploreprogressive issues such as the New Woman, and todiscuss the exploitation of nature by developers, aswell as the role of duplicitous real estate agents inFlorida’s land boom. The unmistakable strength andindependence of her often single female protagonistswere as strong a model for female readers as any ofWilla Cather’s pioneering women.

Douglas was instrumental in the establishment ofthe Everglades National Park. A few weeks before the park’s establishment in 1947, Douglas publishedEverglades: River of Grass, which was the first aes-thetically pleasing text to describe how the Evergladesare a complex and fragile ecosystem. The bestsellingbook catapulted her to fame, particularly in Florida,where she became the go-to person for queries aboutthe Everglades. Following this success, Douglas usedher fame for such issues as persuading Miami’s watercompany to extend services to impoverished, mostlyblack neighborhoods and founding the first AmericanCivil Liberties Union chapter south of the Mason-Dixon line, in 1955.

Decades later, as Douglas approached her 80s; shebecame the bonafide leader of the area’s environmen-tal movement when she founded the Friends of the

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Everglades in 1969. Even as a centegenerian,Douglas’s public persona as the tiny but wily andenergetic woman who wore the wide-brim hat,positioned her as a Davidesque figure who oftentriumphed over Goliath-like Big Sugar and other pol-luting industries in Florida. Douglas was awarded thePresidential Medal of Freedom in 1993. She died onMay 14, 1998.

—Horacio Sierra

See also Ecofeminism; Environmental Movement; Women’sSuffrage Movement

Further Readings

Davis, J. (Ed.). (2002). The wide brim: Early poems andponderings of Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Gainesville:University Press of Florida.

Douglas, M. (1947). The everglades: A river of grass.St. Simons Island, GA: Mockingbird Books.

Douglas, M. (with Rothchild, J.). (1987). Voice of the river.Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press.

McCarthy, K. (Ed.). (1990). Nine Florida stories by MarjoryStoneman Douglas. Gainesville: University Press ofFlorida.

McCarthy, K. (Ed.). (1998). A river in flood and otherFlorida stories by Marjory Stoneman Douglas.Gainesville: University Press of Florida.



African American writer, autobiographer, abolitionist,and diplomat, Frederick Douglass, born FrederickBailey, is truly one of the most inspiring individuals in American history. Born into slavery in 1818 onMaryland’s eastern shore, Douglass grew up withoutknowing the identities of either his mother or father.In his autobiography, The Narrative of the Life ofFrederick Douglass, an American Slave, he recountshow he heard rumors that his father was actually themaster of the plantation. His mother, as he asserts,was deliberately separated from him when he was an infant to prevent familial bonds from formingbetween slaves; however, she sometimes visited him

surreptitiously at night, after curfew hours, riskingpunishment to spend some time with young Frederick.Despite her efforts, when she died, Douglass did notfeel any connection to her. He laments this as a typi-cal situation, in which slavery destroyed the naturalbonds that should develop between parents and theirchildren.

As a child, he did not experience physical violence,though he witnessed other slaves, including an aunt,being savagely beaten for minor offenses. In 1826,when he was a small child, Douglass was transferredto the household of Hugh Auld in Baltimore, Maryland.The brother-in-law of Douglass’ master, Auld hadrequested a slave to employ as a household servant.Life in Baltimore differed tremendously from that onthe plantation on the eastern shore, because manyblacks in Baltimore were free—there were more freeblacks, in fact, than slaves. Furthermore, while he hadbeen either ignored or mistreated on the plantation, inthe Auld household, Douglass received kinder treat-ment from his new mistress, Sophia Auld.

A woman who had previously earned her own liv-ing before marrying, Sophia Auld initially treatedyoung Douglass with the same gentleness she showedher own son, Tommy. When Douglass asked her toteach him how to read, she embarked on the task with enthusiasm. Douglass rapidly made progress andcould soon read simple words and string togethershort sentences. However, when Hugh Auld soon dis-covered that his wife was teaching a slave child howto read, he immediately stopped the lessons. Douglassrecounts the experience as one of the most profoundin his life.

The experience disappointed Douglass, who hadbeen making rapid progress, but it also taught himsomething important—that slavery and oppressionwere maintained by deliberately denying slaves edu-cation and an opportunity for self-improvement; thatis, by keeping them ignorant. When he discovered thissecret of how whites continued to enslave Africans,Douglass became determined to continue his educa-tion, though he would have to rely on his wits.

One of the greatest scenes in American literature isundoubtedly that, recounted in his autobiography, inwhich Douglass bribes poor white children in his

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Baltimore neighborhood with stolen loaves of breadto teach him unfamiliar words and pronunciations. Inthis steady, wily manner, Douglass cobbled togetheran education. He read as many books as he couldobtain, teaching himself history and other subjects.

After 7 years in Baltimore, Douglass was trans-ferred back to the plantation on which he was raised.He was hired out as a field hand under the supervisionof Edward Covey, reputedly a vicious overseer.Having endured several violent beatings, a demoral-ized Douglass became determined to escape. After anunsuccessful attempt in 1836, he finally succeeded inSeptember of 1838 with the help of abolitionists.Disguised as a sailor, he went to the North, where hebegan a new life. He married Anna Murray, an AfricanAmerican abolitionist who had helped finance hisescape.

The couple lived in Massachusetts and in NewYork, where Anna turned their home into a station onthe Underground Railroad to help other runawayslaves. Douglass became a close associate of WilliamLloyd Garrison, the era’s leading abolitionist and pub-lisher of the abolitionist newspaper, the Liberator.With the help of Garrison and his colleagues,Douglass was commissioned by the American Anti-Slavery Society to embark on a lecture circuit,addressing audiences in the Northeast on the evils ofslavery, recounting his experiences in bondage.

In 1845, he published his autobiography, TheNarrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, anAmerican Slave, in which he revealed his identity.This put him in danger of being discovered, meaningthat his former masters could legally reclaim him andrecapture him. He spent nearly 2 years in Europe untilthe danger of his exposure had largely passed.

On his return in 1847, Douglass immersed himselfeven more deeply in the abolitionist cause, as well aswomen’s rights issues. He founded a newspaper, TheNorth Star, in 1847. In July of 1848, he attended theSeneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention. Aroundthis time, he began having ideological differenceswith William Lloyd Garrison; essentially, they dif-fered in their opinions over the U.S. Constitution.Garrison believed it supported and upheld slavery,while Douglass believed it could be used to overturn

and nullify the practice of slavery. They never couldreconcile their ideological differences over the issue.

In 1853, Douglass published a short work of fiction, The Heroic Slave, which depicted a slaveuprising based on a real historic event. His secondautobiography, My Bondage and My Freedom,appeared in print in 1855.

During the Civil War, Douglass met privately withPresident Abraham Lincoln three times. He tried topersuade the president that African American soldiersshould be allowed to fight in the Union army againstthe Confederate forces. After the war’s end, Douglasseventually moved to Washington, D.C., where hebegan editing a weekly publication, New National Era,advocating civil rights. He also became more politi-cally active and was recruited by government officialsfor public service, such as serving as the U.S. Marshallfor Washington, D.C., and later as the ambassador to Haiti.

In 1882, his wife Anna Murray died, the same yearthat Douglass published The Life and Times ofFrederick Douglass, another volume of his autobiog-raphy. Two years later he married Helen Pitts, a youngwhite woman who was employed as his secretary. The daughter of fellow abolitionist, Gideon Pitts, Jr.,Helen Pitts was almost 20 years younger thanDouglass. Their interracial marriage caused a publicuproar. In 1886, they took a honeymoon in Europe andthe Middle East, touring the region for a year.

On February 20, 1895, Douglass died at his homein Washington, D.C. His legacy stands unparalleled interms of his influence on later African Americanactivities. He died a man respected by presidents,world leaders, and fellow activists and colleagues.Prominent people, including women’s rights leaderElizabeth Cady Stanton, Booker T. Washington, andW. E. B. Du Bois, eulogized him. Douglass had madehis mark not just as an abolitionist and black rights leader, but as an advocate for the rights of alloppressed people.

Historians note that his legacy was, undoubtedly,shaped by Frederick Douglass himself. While his lifestory is a remarkable one, Douglass carefully crafted its presentation through the various volumes of his auto-biography and his many speaking engagements and

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political appointments, always painting himself as aself-made man. Nonetheless, his success helped improvethe situation and create opportunities for countlessAfrican Americans before and after the Civil War.

—Susan Muaddi Darraj

See also Abolitionist Movements; Du Bois, W. E. B.;Lincoln, Abraham

Further Readings

Andrews, W. (Ed.). (1996). The Oxford Frederick Douglassreader. New York: Oxford University Press.

Douglass, F. (1845). Narrative of the life of FrederickDouglass, an American slave. Boston: Anti-SlaveryOffice.

Gates, H. L. (Ed.). (1996). Frederick Douglass:Critical perspectives past and present. New York:Amistad Press.

McFeely, W. (1991). Frederick Douglass. New York:W. W. Norton.


(1959– )

Unity Dow, Botswana lawyer and human rightsactivist, was appointed as the first woman judge on theHigh Court in 1998. She established a women’s rightscenter in her home village, was a cofounder of theBotswana women’s rights organization EmangBasadi! (Stand Up, Women!) and of the Women andLaw in Southern African research project (WLSA).She is a member of International Women’s RightsWatch, and became well-known in Botswana for theCitizenship Case in 1991.

Dow grew up in Mochudi, a large village north ofthe capital, Gaborone. She received law degrees fromthe University of Botswana and from the University of Edinburgh. She worked in the Botswana AttorneyGeneral’s office before going into private practicewith a woman partner. In 1986 she joined with otherwomen lawyers, academics, journalists, and politicalactivists, including Athaliah Molokomme, to foundEmang Basadi! as an advocacy group for women’s

rights, and with women lawyers and researchers from the region to form WLSA. She founded theMethaetsile Women’s Information Center to providelegal information and counseling for women whocould not afford to pay for legal services.

Emang Basadi! launched a campaign to educatewomen about their rights and to advocate for reformof laws regarding child support, rape, and marriedwomen’s property and citizenship rights. From the nation’s independence in 1966, citizenship inBotswana’s multiparty democracy had been based onbirth in the territory. The new law passed in 1984based citizenship on descent in terms that discrimi-nated against women. Men who married noncitizenscould pass on their citizenship to their children,but women who married noncitizens could not.Citizenship carries many educational and economicentitlements in Botswana as well as legal rights. Infrontline Botswana in the 1980s, children of womenwho married exiles from apartheid South Africawould be left stateless.

Advocacy to change the law failed and women’srights groups shifted to a judicial strategy. They sup-ported Dow in filing suit against the law in 1990,based on her marriage to a U.S. citizen and the denialof a passport to their younger daughter, born after pas-sage of the new law. The suit argued that the citizen-ship law violated the Botswana constitution. The casewas decided in her favor in 1991, a victory that was acatalyst for the women’s rights movement and led toextensive further reforms of discriminatory laws andto greater inclusion of women in political activismand in public office.

In 1998 Dow was appointed as the first womanjudge on the High Court. In addition to her legal work,Dow has written four novels strongly expressing thestruggles of girls and women in Botswana for equalityand justice, Far and Beyon’, The Screaming of theInnocent, Juggling Truths, and The Heavens May Fall.

—Judith Imel Van Allen

See also African Women and Social Justice; Anti-ApartheidMovement; Anti-Colonial Movements, Sub-SaharanAfrica; Feminism; Non-Governmental Organizations(NGOs); Socialist Feminism

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Further Readings

Holm, J., & Molutsi, P. (Eds.). (1989). Democracy inBotswana. Athens: Ohio University Press.

Van Allen, J. (2000). “Bad future things” and liberatorymoments: Capitalism, gender and the state in Botswana.Radical History Review, 76, 136–168.


Since America’s inception, the debate over the federalgovernment’s right to compel Americans into militaryservice (i.e., the right to draft) has evoked passion and dissidence. Some resisters questioned whether thefederal government had the authority to compel mili-tary service while others disagreed with the premiseof the war they were being drafted to fight in. Still agreat many others resisted purely on the grounds thatthey wanted no part of military life, especially if theymight have to make the ultimate sacrifice and die fortheir country. Nonetheless, the debate over the draftpredates the Constitution. Americans have been resist-ing the federal authority to draft American citizenssince before Congress was established.

During the constitutional conventions, thefounders debated the conditions and authority thatcould precipitate a draft. Federalists believed afederal draft violated core American values of libertyand republicanism. They compared the prospects offederal authority to compel military service to therecent memory of tyrannical British occupyingforces. On the issue of the federal authority to draft,anti-federalists effectively concurred. Their opposi-tion stemmed from a fear of the consequences ofjuxtaposing the power of the purse and sword. Nomember or organ of government ought to have thepower to fund and raise an army. This consensus onthe draft manifested in the resultant language of theConstitution; there was no explicit mention of thepower to draft—it is neither condoned nor forbidden.The founders left the question to future generationsof politicians. Given the federalists’ concern aboutinalienable rights and the anti-federalists’ concernabout aggrandized federal power, the final languageof the Constitution only mentions militias: state-based

organizations with the understood purpose ofnational (local) defense.

Despite this understanding of the draft and theseemingly universal opposition thereto, 3 years intothe War of 1812 and having just witnessed the burningof the White House, President James Madison calledfor a draft. However, Congress rejected his request cit-ing the founders’ concern that they did not have the right to conscript an army. Representative DanielWebster led the congressional resistance, arguing adraft would infringe on civil and personal liberties andembrace despotism of the worst form.

Thirty-nine years later, President Abraham Lincolnalso faced a war and a manpower deficit; however, hisdraft request met with greater success. On March 3,1863, the first federal draft in American history took effect. As with every draft since, some potentialinductees resisted service by legal means while othersemployed illegal tactics. Legally a man could avoidservice by providing a substitute or paying a $300commutation fee. For all the resistance efforts to theCivil War draft, none were more infamous than theJuly 1863 New York City draft riots.

Many New Yorkers resented “Lincoln’s War,”lamenting that the Civil War had become a rich man’swar but a poor man’s fight. These tensions culminatedon July 13, 1863, when the first draft calls com-menced. A fire brigade actually started the riots, set-ting a draft office ablaze when one of their own wasdenied exemption as a public servant. Five days ofmayhem ensued, engulfing lower Manhattan in a riot-ing flurry of draft resistance. Though some scholarsargue that the riots were more a manifestation of raceand class tension than draft protest, the catalyst for theriots is indisputable. The riots began as a direct resultof the implementation of the Draft Act and the execu-tion of the first draft calls in New York City.

After the Civil War and in light of the New YorkCity riots, a moratorium on drafts ensued, lastingmore than 50 years until World War I when the needfor troops trumped fears of a repeat of July 1863.Passed hastily in 1917 as America entered the fight,the Selective Service Act elicited opposition and resis-tance from numerous Americans. Commutations andsubstitutions were outlawed; however, a system of

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deferments replaced them, providing new means tolegally avoid service. Though there was no repeat ofthe New York City riots, there were some prominentepisodes of draft resistance. Among them, the twomost publicized incidents played out not in the streetsor in Congress, but in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court ruled in 1918 on the constitutionality ofthe draft itself in Arver v. United States, the litmuscase for a series of decisions collectively known as theSelective Draft Law Cases. Chief Justice EdwardWhite, writing for the court, ruled for the government,endorsing the constitutional legitimacy of the SelectiveService Act and dismissing Arver’s argument that adraft violated the Thirteenth Amendment. White ruleda draft was a duty to serve one’s country—not a con-dition of servitude. Scholars debate the accuracy ofthe historical precedents White cited in his decision;nonetheless, the decision represented a major legalblow to draft resistance. The highest court in Americaconcluded that the framers of the Constitutionendorsed compulsory military service.

The second major Supreme Court decision regardingdraft resistance during World War I regarded thewartime limits of protected speech. In 1919 in the caseof Schenck v. United States, the court defined the consti-tutional limits of speech acts, delineating between pro-tected speech and condemnable actions against the state.Charles T. Schenck distributed pamphlets that encour-aged people to talk to their members of Congress inopposition to the Selective Service Act. Writing for themajority, Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes con-tended speech was not protected when it creates a clearand present danger to an evil Congress is combating.Thus, the court ruled that Schenck was guilty ascharged. His encouragement of draft resistance wasdeemed illegal and unconstitutional.

Though the strain on the draft during World War IIand the Korean War was relatively minor (in fact thedraft was briefly abandoned in 1947 and 1948), therewas a large debate in Congress in 1940 as to whetherthe United States should return to a policy of draftedmanpower, especially in light of the riots during theCivil War and the fallout from the World War I draft.To preserve American readiness, a draft was passed(the Burke-Wadsworth Act) and a selective service

system was implemented before American troopsentered World War II and before America declaredwar on any country. Thus, the 1940 draft representedthe first peacetime draft in American history, setting aprecedent for the next 33 years.

Ultimately, every draft in the 20th century beforethe Vietnam War met predominant support and com-pliance. The preponderance of resistance changed,however, during the Vietnam War. Arguably the mostpronounced period of draft resistance in Americanhistory, it certainly was and remains the most popu-larized. Nevertheless, many of the means and meth-ods that are now the subject of countless books and movies were tactics already perfected by pock-ets of resistance during previous wars. Oppositionstemmed from the politics behind the war as well asthe semantics of the selective service’s prosecutionof the draft. Some resisters did not support themotivations behind American participation in thewar while others were guided simply by self-preservation and a desire not to join the growingdeath toll. Still others were enraged at the racial andclass disparity in the selection process.

Much like during the Civil War, loopholes allowedsome men to legally avoid service. The selective ser-vice system for draft classification provided variouscategories for individuals who were not fit or availableto serve. The most controversial loophole corre-sponded to category IV-F, reserved for those physi-cally, morally, or psychiatrically unfit to serve. Theseconditions ranged from flat feet to hom*osexuality.While many Americas were legitimately unfit toserve, many more cheated their way into this status.Many men found or paid a friendly doctor to vouchthat they had a condition that precluded them fromservice. Others successfully feigned such conditionswhen called for induction.

Regardless of one’s status, once classified thegovernment issued each young man a draft card. Thispiece of government identification was to be carriedon person at all times and could not be marred ordefaced in any way. Thus, when many draft resisterschose to burn their draft cards, they were not onlymaking a political statement, they were overtly defy-ing the law and the selective service system.

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Resistance also frequently manifested in terms ofevasion. If men could not be found, they could notserve. This logic led between 60,000 and 100,000 mento flee into exile in Canada. Having not implementeda draft in Canada since World War I, and givenCanadian political opposition to American participa-tion in the Vietnam War, draft evaders found a havennorth of the border. Even after the war ended andPresident Jimmy Carter pardoned draft evaders in1977, many exiles chose to remain in Canada.

Draft reforms in the late 1960s remedied some ofthe larger inequities in the selective service system.Some of the more disparate exemptions were removed,and a lottery system based on birthdays established a colorblind and class-blind determinant of service.Nonetheless, draft resistance continued through 1973when American ground troop participation in the warceased and the all-volunteer force replaced the draft.Even then, without a draft to resist, the movementcontinued to fight for reconciliation and amnesty for draft evaders. Their efforts were rewarded whenJimmy Carter issued his aforementioned pardon in1977. However, despite early placation of draftresisters, in 1980 Carter reinstituted draft registration.This did not resume active calls to duty but did rein-stitute the selective service registry, minimizing thestart-up time for the draft machinery should Congressever decide to resume draft calls. However, since 1973American military personnel needs have been satis-fied without resorting to compulsory service.

This is technically the current status of the draft.Yet, in light of recent political events and militaryengagements in Afghanistan and Iraq, a new debateover the draft has emerged. As the American militarypresence abroad increases, the personnel burden hasbecome increasingly strained. This has resulted inwhat pundits have dubbed a backdoor draft. Stop-lossprograms and extensive call-ups of reserve troops haveoffset increased personnel needs without officiallyreturning to a drafted army. However, this strategy hasnot duped opponents who ardently oppose any policyand action that constitutes the spirit, even if not the let-ter, of a draft. While some activists object to this strat-egy, Congress preferred the status quo to reinstitutinga draft. Proof of this political reality was most recently

provided on January 7, 2003, when RepresentativeCharles Rangel proposed the Universal NationalService Act of 2003. Whether it was a serious sugges-tion or a political stunt is still debated by scholars;however, despite the efforts of Rangel and his cospon-sors, the bill failed in the House by an overwhelmingvote of 2 to 402, proving there does not appear to beanother draft on the horizon. It also proved that con-gressional resistance to the draft remains strong.

Ultimately, no draft has ever been enacted withoutsignificant debate and subsequent resistance. Thequantity and fervor of each have varied in Americanhistory based on the popularity of the war and thefeelings of the public at the time. Some resisted onphilosophic grounds, purporting the government hadno right to make the decision to serve for them. Othershad more political objections, refusing to support—and in fact fight—for a cause they did not believe in.Still, the largest group remains those who were simplynot inclined to risk their life in the army. The debateover the draft in America has always existed and willalways exist so long as America has military commit-ments abroad.

—Jason Friedman

See also Carter, James Earl; Counter-Recruitment; Lincoln,Abraham; Roosevelt, Franklin D.

Further Readings

Bernstein, I. (1990). The New York City draft riots: Theirsignificance for American society and politics in the ageof the Civil War. New York: Oxford University Press.

Fallows, J. (1975). What did you do in the class war, daddy?Washington Monthly, 7(8), 5–20.

Freedman, L. (1969). Conscription and the constitution:The original understanding. Michigan Law Review, 67,1493–1552.

Kusch, F. (2001). All American boys: Draft dodgers inCanada from the Vietnam War. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Levine, P. (1981). Draft evasion in the north during the CivilWar, 1863–1865. Journal of American History, 67(4),816–834.

Lofgren, C. (1976). Compulsory military service under theconstitution: The original understanding. William andMary Quarterly, 33(1), 61–88.

Surrey, D. (1982). Choice of conscience: Vietnam eramilitary and draft resisters in Canada. New York: Praeger.

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The origins of U.S. drug prohibition lie in the early20th century. Prior to 1906, there was no drug regula-tion in the United States and crimes such as drugdealing and drug possession did not exist. The firstregulation came with the 1906 Pure Food and DrugAct, which required labeling of ingredients. Passed inthe wake of public disgust over Upton Sinclair’sslaughterhouse exposé The Jungle, the law alsorequired patent medicine and similar nostrums to dis-close their ingredients, which often included a healthydose of morphine or cocaine. The Harrison Act in1914 banned the distribution of opiates and cocaineand began the prohibition of drugs as a national pol-icy. Although the act had a clause allowing doctors’use in their practices, in 1917 this was interpreted tonot allow heroin maintenance to patients.

The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed withlittle fanfare. Many legislators were unsure exactlywhat marijuana was, and there was minimal debateleading up to the floor vote. Sociologist HowardBecker attributed this law to the moral entrepreneur-ship of Harry Anslinger, the long-standing head of theFederal Bureau of Narcotics, who promoted mari-juana as a threat to public safety and luridly linked thedrug with Mexican immigration into the Southwest.(The Federal Bureau of Narcotics was the precursor tothe Drug Enforcement Administration.)

Early drug laws did not have a major impact on thecriminal justice system because of the limited use ofsome drugs (marijuana) and the medical acceptabilityof others (cocaine, morphine). The significance ofearly drug laws lies in the vast expansion of incarcer-ation and the criminal justice system during the1990s, driven in part by the addition of mandatoryminimum sentencing for drug offenses. Resistance todrug laws now focuses mainly on the criminal justicesystem and the cost and scope of the war on drugs.

During the 1960s and 1970s, marijuana use diffusedthrough the population, greatly increasing the numberof people who had tried the drug. As well-educated,middle-class people used marijuana, sentiments towarddecriminalization became increasingly favorable.

Jerome Himmelstein’s analysis of news reports foundthat descriptions of the physical effects of marijuanachanged as the reference group of users changed—marijuana was no longer associated with violence andaddiction, but passivity and dependence instead. Asdrug law affected more middle-class young people,support for drug law reform grew among civil society and politicians concerned about a seeminglyunrealistic legal regime of prohibition. The AmericanBar Association and the American Nurses Associationpassed resolutions in favor of decriminalization. TheNew York State Congress of Parents and TeachersAssociations passed a similar resolution in 1976.

The possibility of reform seemed to be at its peakin 1977 when President Jimmy Carter spoke toCongress with the message that penalties against druguse should not be more damaging to an individualthan the use of the drug itself; he tied this explicitly tothe laws against the possession of marijuana in privatefor personal use. Carter’s statement had precedent in earlier reports and official statements. PresidentNixon commissioned a study of marijuana law andpolicy in the United States, headed by RaymondShafer, Republican ex-governor of Pennsylvania.Published in 1972 with the title Marihuana: Signal ofMisunderstanding, the Shafer commission concludedthe criminalization of possession of marijuana for per-sonal use was socially self-defeating and, in the over-all scheme of things, did not rank high in ranking ofsocial concerns in the United States. The study recom-mended de-emphasizing marijuana as a problem.

This conclusion greatly displeased Nixon but sug-gested the depth of opposition to the nascent drug war. In1975, the Ford administration released the White Paperon Drug Abuse, which also de-emphasized marijuana inrelation to other drug problems. It concluded that in lightof its widespread recreational use—and the relativelylow social cost associated with this type of use—thefederal government has been de-emphasizing simplepossession and use of marijuana in its law enforcementeffort for several years. The Senate also held a number ofhearings on relaxation of drug law during the 1970s, withtitles such as “Considerations For and Against theReduction of Federal Penalties for Possession of SmallAmounts of Marihuana for Personal Use.”

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Public opinion measures from the General SocialSurvey (GSS) saw increasing support for decriminal-ization in the 1970s, with a peak of more than 30% in1977. After a long decline in support during the late1970s and 1980s, the GSS and the data from theBureau of Justice Statistics find that support formarijuana decriminalization is as high now as it was30 years ago, with slightly less than a third of thepopulation supporting decriminalization. Among col-lege freshmen, support rises to around 50%, though itis important to note there has always been a gender gapwith men more likely to support decriminalization.

The National Organization to Reform MarijuanaLaws (NORML) was founded in 1970 and has beenthe pre-eminent organization advocating against mari-juana prohibition. During much of the 1970s, NORMLwas successful in advancing the agenda of decriminal-ization of marijuana, with 11 states adopting laws by1976. However, the emergence of the parental anti-drug movement that framed drug use a threat to youth,combined with an increasing governmental focus onthe potential health effects of marijuana, stopped federal-level decriminalization from ever being instituted.

NORML has long attracted celebrity support, espe-cially from musicians, filmmakers, and writers.Hunter S. Thompson, Willie Nelson, and RobertAltman have all been members of the board of direc-tors. NORML funds extensive public relations cam-paigns and recently presented billboards in New YorkCity with Mayor Michael Bloomberg quoted as enjoy-ing his youthful marijuana use.

In 1994, financier George Soros helped found the Lindesmith Institute as part of the Open SocietyInstitute. Public policy professor Ethan Nadelmannleft his job at Princeton to become director of theLindesmith Center in 1994. In 2000, the LindesmithCenter merged with the Drug Policy Foundation to form the Drug Policy Alliance. Like NORML, theDrug Policy Alliance has found common ground withlimited-government conservatives; Ethan Nadelmann,founder and executive director of the Drug PolicyAlliance, wrote a 2004 cover story for National Reviewopposing marijuana prohibition.

Opposition to the American drug war has taken newforms in recent years. First, Law Enforcement Against

Prohibition, founded in 2002 by mostly retired policeand police chiefs, has become increasingly active andvocal in criticizing current drug policy. Because of the credibility of these officials, their opposition todrug law is often well documented in the news media.

Also, student organizations have organized againstthe war on drugs, especially its educational provi-sions. Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)was founded in 1998 as a response to a federal educa-tion spending bill, the Higher Education Act, thatdenies grants and student loans to anyone convicted of a drug crime. At the time of this writing, SSDP hadmore than 100 chapters in the United States.

Finally, there is limited development of an interna-tional drug users’ movement. Activists in Vancouverhave had some success with the Vancouver AreaNetwork of Drug Users, which is involved in shapingthe city drug policy and negotiating the constructionof a safe injection site in downtown Vancouver. Similarnetworks exist in England, Australia, Belgium, andThailand, often centered on sexually transmitted dis-ease mitigation. Activist organizations have also beeninvolved in harm-reduction techniques surroundingdrug use at public venues. Most notable is DanceSafe,an organization that tests ecstasy pills at raves andpublishes the results online.

Many countries also have marijuana-centeredpolitical parties. Canada, New Zealand, the UnitedKingdom, Spain, and Israel all have parties participat-ing in parliamentary elections. The U.S. Marijuanaparty has chapters in 29 states.

The increasing medicalization of drug use has alteredthe landscape in reform. The movement for medical mar-ijuana in the 1990s produced several victories, the mostfar-reaching of which was the passage of California’sProposition 215. Also known as the Compassionate UseAct, the California Proposition passed with 55.6% of thevote and allowed doctors to recommend marijuana to patients. As of this writing, Rhode Island had mostrecently instituted a medical marijuana law, bringing thenumber of states with medical marijuana laws to 11.Many municipalities, especially large university towns,also have decriminalization ordinances.

The medical marijuana bills created a conflictbetween federal prohibitionist drug policy and the

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ability of states to experiment in a federalist system.The test case was Gonzales v. Raich (originallyAshcroft v. Raich before John Ashcroft’s resignationas attorney general). Angel Raich was a Californiacancer patient who consumed marijuana under theCompassionate Use Act; along with Diane Monson,a patient whose home was raided by the DrugEnforcement Administration, she brought suit againstthe government. Their lawsuit questioned the consti-tutionality of the Controlled Substances Act, whichclassifies marijuana as having no currently acceptedmedical use. The root constitutional question was therange of the Commerce Clause, which allows the fed-eral government to regulate both interstate commerceand intrastate commerce that may affect nationalmarkets. Raich and Monson argued that becausethere was no commercial element (all of the mari-juana was produced at home or given as gifts) andbecause the operation was wholly contained toCalifornia, the federal government lacked the juris-diction to regulate this behavior.

In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 againstRaich, concluding that the Commerce Clause wasapplicable and that the federal government had theright to pre-empt state law. This overturned the 2003Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that found infavor of the plaintiffs.

Public opinion polls indicate majority support formedical marijuana nationwide, with little difference byage or gender. Although medical marijuana has been asuccessful referendum issue at the local and sometimesthe state level, the model has for the most part not beenextended to other drugs. One exception is the case ofBaltimore, with the largest intravenous drug problem inthe United States. Mayor Kurt Schmoke created a furorin the 1980s by calling for decriminalization of heroin.However, this reform was never implemented as policyand Schmoke has since retired from office.

Mandatory minimum sentences, which removejudicial discretion in sentencing, have increasinglybeen applied to drug crimes and have contributed to the growth in incarceration in the United States.Several organizations oppose mandatory minimumsentencing, often with a particular focus on drugoffenses. A 1986 Omnibus Crime Bill introduced

mandatory minimum for many drug crimes, based on the weight of drugs involved. Although mandatoryminimums have been used since the colonial era as adeterrent tool, these laws increased the number ofoffenses subject to mandatory minimums and mademany drug crimes felonies that required a 5- to 10-yearprison sentence.

The Sentencing Project was incorporated in 1986 andhas become the major source of research and advocacyopposing mandatory minimum sentencing. A relatedorganization, Families Against Mandatory Minimums,was founded in 1991 to advocate for flexibility in sen-tencing and is active in 24 states and the District ofColumbia. The Sentencing Project has released severalreports highlighting the racial disparities in criminal jus-tice that stem from mandatory minimum sentencing.Other research by sociologists found that for certain agegroups of black men, prison was a more likely lifeexperience than completion of higher education, in partbecause of mandatory minimum sentencing. Somecritical scholars have argued that the greatly expandedcriminal justice system and the war on drugs funnelminorities directly from ghettoes to prisons.

Activists have developed several sites dedicated todisseminating information in the drug law reform effort.In addition to the organizations mentioned above suchas NORML and Drug Policy Alliance, other notableorganizations include the Drug Reform CoordinationNetwork (DRCNet), and DrugSense. The MediaAwareness Project, the largest project of DrugSense,focuses on media coverage of drugs and drug law.“Newshawking” volunteers compile drug-related edito-rials and stories from local, national, and internationalnews sources for dissemination via websites and list-serves. DRCNet runs a large newsletter and hosts theSchaffer library of drug policy, with archives of majorstudies of drug policy and drug law in the United Statesand abroad. Resistance to drug laws has taken manyorganizational forms, largely focusing on changingcriminal law surrounding drugs and highlighting andcombating the inequities of the war on drugs.

—Adam Jacobs

See also Judicial Activism; Law and Social Movements;Moral Panic; Prison-Industrial Complex

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Further Readings

Baum, D. (1996). Smoke and mirrors: The war on drugs andthe politics of failure. Boston: Little, Brown.

Becker, H. (1963). Outsiders: Studies in the sociology ofdeviance. New York: Free Press.

Bonnie, R., & Whitebread, C. (1999). The marijuanaconviction: A history of marijuana prohibition in theUnited States. New York: Lindesmith Center.

Himmelstein, J. (1983). The strange career of marihuana:Politics and ideology of drug control in America.Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Massing, M. (1998). The fix. New York: Simon & Schuster.Musto, D. (1999). The American disease: Origins of

narcotics law. New York: Oxford University Press.Simon, D., & Burns, E. (1998). The corner: A year in the life

of an inner-city neighborhood. New York: BroadwayBooks.



Alexander Dubcek was the leader of Prague Springfrom 1991 to 1992, an effort by reformists within theCzechoslovakia Communist Party to open the politi-cal system and introduce economic changes, personi-fied in his slogan “Socialism with a human face.”Born in the small Slovak village of Uhrovec, Dubcekspent much of childhood in the Soviet Union and laterparticipated in the Slovak Uprising against Nazi occu-pation during World War II.

Dubcek was recruited to become a party adminis-trator in 1949, rising rapidly to become a provincialsecretary in 1953, national party secretary for industryin 1960, and Slovak first secretary in 1963. In the early 1960s, Dubcek was a member of the KolderCommission, a party investigation of the Stalinistpurges of a decade earlier. His participation on thiscommission, along with his oversight of industry,solidified his belief in structural reform. Reaching thetop ranks of the party in the early 1960s, Dubcekcautiously worked to create the necessary conditions to implement his reforms, gathering together like-minded reformists. A cautious approach was neces-sary because entrenched Stalinists opposed all but themost tepid reforms, and the Stalinist party head and

president, Antonin Novotny, repeatedly tried to oust ordemote Dubcek, at one point launching a police inves-tigation of Dubcek that failed. The attacks on Dubcek,led by Novotny, centered on false accusations of“bourgeois nationalism”—for which some seniorparty officials were jailed during the 1950s—weremanufactured over Dubcek’s continuing advocationof more industrial investment in the Slovak Republic,which lagged behind the Czech lands.

Economic stagnation, rising tensions betweenCzechs and Slovaks, and pressure for reforms frombelow created the conditions for changes in the partyleadership by late 1967, and in January 1968 the partyleadership elected Dubcek first secretary, the highestoffice. Although his reformist credentials and wideranti-Novotny sentiment were important factors in his elevation, another factor was that Dubcek was aSlovak; all previous party heads were Czechs and mosthigh party positions had been held by Czechs. A key goal for Dubcek was the party renewing its pop-ular support, which was to be done in part by endingthe party’s pervasive close management of all aspectsof government. Through 1968, a majority in the partyleadership solidified behind Dubcek, but he continuedto have to maneuver around internal oppositionists and repeated demonstrations of disapproval from theSoviet Union. In August 1968, Czechoslovakia wasinvaded by the Soviet Union and four other WarsawPact nations, and Dubcek was kidnapped from hisoffice by Soviet intelligence agents. Dubcek refused todenounce his program but was allowed to remain asfirst secretary when the Soviets failed to install thecoup leaders in power. Although his followers wereremoved from their offices, he remained in his office inan attempt to stave off reversals of his reforms.

Dubcek was forced from office in 1969, stripped ofhis party membership, and harassed by the secretpolice for the next 20 years. He worked as a mechanicbefore retiring, but when the communist regime col-lapsed in late 1989, Dubcek became the head of thenational parliament. He energetically opposed thesplit of Czechoslovakia into two nations. But althougha lifelong, unwavering believer in socialism, Dubcekwas deeply saddened by the betrayal of his ideals andbecame the leader of the Social Democrats. His return

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to public life ended prematurely when he was severelyinjured in an automobile crash in September 1992; hedied 9 weeks later.

—Pete Dolack

See also Communism; Prague Spring

Further Readings

Williams, K. (1997). The Prague spring and its aftermath:Czechoslovak politics, 1968–1970. London: CambridgeUniversity Press.

DU BOIS, W. E. B. (1868–1963)

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was a central fig-ure in the initiation of the Negro protest movement inAmerica, a founder of the National Association forthe Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), anadvocate for equal rights, a persistent critic of colo-nialism, the architect of Pan-Africanism, and a pre-eminent scholar of the black race. Du Bois was born on February 23, 1868, in Great Barrington,Massachusetts. He studied at Fisk and HarvardUniversities in the United States and the Universityof Berlin in Germany. In 1895, he became the firstAfrican American to obtain a Ph.D. from Harvard.His “The Suppression of the African Slave Trade” of1869 opened the authoritative Harvard HistoricalStudies series. In 1894 to 1896, he served as profes-sor of Greek and Latin at Wilberforce University, andin 1896 and 1897, he taught at the University ofPennsylvania.

His academic career was primarily associated withAtlanta University. Du Bois was first there between1897 and 1910 as professor of history and economics.Alongside teaching, he completed The PhiladelphiaNegro in 1899—an exemplary empirical research inurban sociology with anthropological and demo-graphic dimensions. It is considered the first attemptby an American social scientist to develop a method-ology for the discipline of sociology.

In Atlanta, Du Bois organized a series of confer-ences on urban black people and authored a number ofworks that defined the situation of blacks in Americain striking and insightful ways. Central among themwas the much acclaimed The Souls of Black Folk of1903, which has now gone through some 30 editions.

With these works, Du Bois had already assertedhimself as a distinguished scholar. But he strongly feltthat his academic pursuits would only be meaningful ifthey were practically linked to the historic demands ofthe epoch. For him, the greatest challenge of the 20thcentury was, in his memorable words, the “problem ofthe color line.” To deal with it meant to transformAmerica into a racially integrated society and toachieve the unity and liberation of the whole of Africa.This new turn toward action was stimulated by thedeterioration of the racial situation in America, espe-cially in Atlanta, where Du Bois himself was subjectedto all manner of restrictions and humiliation off-campus, and where he witnessed lynching every week.

Du Bois created a platform for his work that openlychallenged the program and policies of Booker T.Washington. Instead of Washington’s insistence onaccommodation and submission by black people, DuBois proposed a demand for equality through all pos-sible means. In opposition to the philosophy of indi-vidual education, Du Bois outlined the prospect of theTalented Tenth, an intellectual elite that would leadthe black masses to freedom and progress.

As a first step, in 1905, Du Bois founded theNiagara Movement, which sought full citizenshiprights for African Americans. He was its general sec-retary until 1909. In the same year, he was among thefounders of NAACP, and from 1910 up to his resigna-tion in 1934, he worked as its director of publicity andresearch. He was also the editor of its influentialorgan, The Crisis. Through this magazine, Du Boiseffectively shaped the character of the organization,set the agenda for black protest, and made Africa animportant theme and concern for black Americans.

A pragmatic leader, he had early on emphasizedthe need for what he called economic democracy. Thisconcern acquired added urgency with the coming ofthe Great Depression. Du Bois reexamined the wholeprogram of NAACP and proclaimed that it required

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fundamental revision. In the new situation of furthereconomic marginalization of black people, it wasfutile to stick to the old liberalism and appeal merelyfor broad justice and legal reforms. What was essen-tial was to provide opportunities for these people to earn a living, protect and raise their income, andexpand their employment. He, therefore, proposedsuch concrete steps as the establishment of a coopera-tive commonwealth in the black ghetto, the formationof producer and consumer cooperatives, and thesocialization of such crucial black professional ser-vices as those of medical doctors and lawyers. But farfrom being solely a pragmatist, Du Bois also insistedon what he saw as the black people’s special missionin the world and envisioned the creation of, in hiswords, a new and great Negro ethos.

World War I, which Du Bois saw not only as long, cruel, bloody, and unnecessary, but also asunashamedly racist, became that watershed in his life,which made him regard the cause of black Americansas part of the larger cause of colored people every-where. He concluded that the freedom of Africa is acondition for the emancipation of the descendants ofAfrica the world over.

In 1919, the Second Pan-African Congress tookplace in Paris and Du Bois rose as the world leader ofthat movement. These congresses called for—at thelevel of internationally formalized opinion—the liber-ation of the African colonies. They served to highlightthe predicament of Africans throughout the world andto create awareness about the indignity of racial dis-crimination, the wrong of the very existence of thecolonial system, and the urgent need of emancipatingAfrica. Inspired by Du Bois’s Pan-Africanism, as apolitical theory and practical strategy, upon returningto their respective countries, African leaders engagedin the creation of movements for their liberation. Themost famous was the Fifth Pan-African Congress,which Du Bois chaired in Manchester in 1945.Among those who attended was Jomo Kenyatta ofKenya and Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah. It is said thatthis was the event that fired their imagination and ledto the decolonization of Africa.

Despite his intense activist involvement, Du Boiscontinued with his scholarly work. The Gift of Black

Folk came out in 1924. The year 1933 marked hisreturn to Atlanta University as professor and chair ofsociology. He founded and became the editor ofPhylon, the Atlanta University Review of Race andCulture and initiated the project Encyclopedia of theNegro. Another major book of the second Atlanta stintwas Black Folk: Then and Now from 1939.

Immediately on retirement from Atlanta in 1944,Du Bois returned to the NAACP as director of spe-cial research. Later he served, successively, as con-sultant of the United Nations Organization at SanFrancisco, chairman of the Council of AfricanAffairs, and chairman of the Peace InformationCenter. It was for his activities in this latter capacitythat he was jailed during the Cold War years of 1950 and 1951. In 1957, he was denied a passport totravel and attend the independence celebrations of Ghana. Du Bois joined the Communist Party ofAmerica in 1961.

His most important works of that period are Colorand Democracy of 1945 and The World and Africa:An Inquiry into the Part Which Africa Has Played inWorld History of 1947. His writings on Africa, in theirentirety, constitute a response to his own pioneer callfor the honest interpretation of the history of that con-tinent and its people.

Du Bois was also a columnist for the PittsburghCourier (1936–1938), Amsterdam News (New York,1939–1944), Chicago Defender (1945–1948), andPeople’s Voice (1947–1948). He wrote for CurrentHistory, Journal of Negro Education, Foreign Affairs,and American Scholar.

On the invitation of President Krumah, in 1961,Du Bois and his wife, Shirley Graham Du Bois—whowas also his close associate, the first editor ofFreedomways, a leading writer, and a composer—moved to reside in Ghana. Soon after, the familychose to become Ghanaian citizens. Du Bois’s atten-tion at that stage was focused on his grand project,Encyclopedia Africana, whose aim was to trace thedevelopments in the social, political, cultural, histori-cal, and technical spheres in Africa throughout thecenturies of its existence.

Du Bois died on August 27, 1963, in Accra. He wasaccorded a state funeral.

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Du Bois was a man of peace. In his 30-year spon-sorship of the Pan-African congresses, he insisted onthe formulation of programs and tactics of nonviolentand positive action. But he postulated that peace wasinseparable from freedom and warned that if forcecontinued to be used by the West as a method ofgovernance in the world, then Africans may, as a lastresort, also apply it, to their own detriment and that ofhumankind. In the same way, he cautioned againstcompromising the concept of democracy. He was con-vinced that the prevalence of the problems of poverty,ignorance, disease, and crime made a mockery of the democratic ideal. In 1952, he was awarded theInternational Peace Prize.

Du Bois was also one of the talented early writersin American literature. He is the author of the dramaThe Star of Ethiopia of 1915 and the novels The Questof the Silver Fleece of 1911 and Dark Princess: ARomance of 1928. The Black Flame (1957–1961) is atrilogy of historical novels. Selected Poems and TheAutobiography of W. E. B. Du Bois were publishedposthumously.

Du Bois greatly impressed the minds of his con-temporaries. For Paul Robeson he was a leader in thetruest sense of that word, and not only of America andthe black race, but of the world. Martin Luther King,Jr., emphasized the significance of his pride in theblack man, pride that Du Bois derived not from somevague greatness related to color but from the realachievements of black people in struggle, which,he believed, had advanced humanity. His life andwork continue to inspire many today. Professor K. Onuwuka Dike sees him as the 20th century’sgreatest prophet, particularly insofar as the issue ofrace and the value of human equality are concerned.

—Emilia Ilieva

See also Activism, Social and Political; Advocacy; Anti-Colonial Movements, Sub-Saharan Africa; Anti-Imperialism; Anti-Racist Teaching; Civil RightsMovement; Communism; Communist Party USA;Democracy; King, Martin Luther, Jr.; Liberalism;Literature and Activism; National Association for theAdvancement of Colored People (NAACP);Nonviolence and Activism; Pan-Africanism; Robeson,Paul; Socialism

Further Readings

Dike, K. O. (1978). Message from Professor K. OnwukaDike. In J. H. Clarke (Ed.), Pan-Africanism and theliberation of South Africa: A tribute to W. E. B. Du Bois(p. 70). New York: African Heritage Studies AssociationPublications Centre.

DeMarco, J. (1983). The social thought of W. E. B. Du Bois.Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Du Bois, W. E. B. (1903). The souls of black folk: Essays andsketches. Chicago: A. C. McClurg.

Du Bois, W. E. B. (1924). The gift of black folk: Negroes inthe making of America. Boston: Stratford.

Du Bois, W. E. B. (1945). Color and democracy: Coloniesand peace. New York: Harcourt Brace.

Du Bois, W. E. B. (1947). The world of Africa: An inquiryinto the part which Africa has played in world history.New York: Viking.

Du Bois, W. E. B. (1968). The autobiography of W. E. B. DuBois: A soliloquy on viewing my life from the last decadeof its first century. New York: International Publishers.

Lester, J. (Ed.). (1971). The seventh son: The thought andwritings of W. E. B. Du Bois. New York: Random House.

Rudwick, E. M. (1960). W. E. B. Du Bois. Philadelphia:University of Pennsylvania Press.



The life of Raya Dunayevskaya fused intense philo-sophical investigation with active engagement inliberatory social struggles. Dunayevskaya advanced aunique theory of state-capitalism, originated the phi-losophy of Marxist-Humanism, and founded Newsand Letters Committees.

Dunayevskaya, born in the Ukraine, settled inChicago in 1922. As a teenager, she was active in theYoung Workers League, a communist youth organi-zation, and the American Negro Labor Congress.Dunayevskaya worked as Leon Trotsky’s Russian-language secretary from 1937 to 1938 in Mexico.Following the Hitler-Stalin pact, Dunayevskaya brokewith Trotsky, rejecting his defense of Russia as aworkers’ state.

This break led to her collaboration with C. L. R.James, a Trinidadian Marxist. In 1941, they formed the state-capitalist, or Johnson-Forest Tendency, in the

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American Trotskyist movement. In the early 1940s,Dunayevskaya undertook a seminal study of Russia’sfirst Five-Year Plans and concluded that Russia wasdeveloping in a state-capitalist, not a socialist, direction.

Dunayevskaya’s analysis is unique in that it treatsstate-capitalism as a new phase in the development of global capitalism. She posited, in opposition to thisnew phase, both new revolutionary subjects—rankand file workers, African Americans, women, andyouth—and new philosophical ground, by way of anoriginal engagement with Marx’s Economic andPhilosophic Manuscripts of 1844 and V. I. Lenin’s1914 Philosophic Notebooks.

In 1953, Dunayevskaya composed two letters onthe “absolutes” of G. W. F. Hegel. In this controversialreading of Hegel, Dunayevskaya locates a dual move-ment: a movement, in her words, from practice that isitself a form of theory and a movement from theoryreaching to philosophy. The letters posit the self-development of revolutionary subjects, throughengagement with a philosophy of revolution, as analternative to both the vanguard party and the viewthat spontaneous activity alone will give rise to a newsociety. Dunayevskaya would later identify these let-ters as the philosophic breakthrough from which herMarxist-Humanism developed.

Dunayevskaya, in 1955, founded a Marxist-Humanist organization, News and Letters Committees.In 1958, she published Marxism and Freedom, whichexplores such diverse ground as the influence of theParis Commune on Marx’s Capital, Lenin’s plungeinto the Hegelian dialectic with the outbreak of WorldWar I, and the struggle of American workers againstautomation. In her 1973 Philosophy and Revolution,Dunayevskaya focuses on the integrality of philoso-phy and revolution, tracing the relation historically,and emphasizing the Hegelian concept of absolutenegativity.

Dunayevskaya’s 1982 Rosa Luxemburg, Women’sLiberation, and Marx’s Philosophy of Revolution dis-cusses Luxemburg’s feminism and anti-colonialism,explores Marx’s Ethnological Notebooks, and intro-duces the pejorative category of “post-Marx Marxism,”beginning with the work of Frederick Engels. As herlife was drawing to a close, Dunayevskaya prepared

extensive notes for a book on philosophy and organiza-tion titled Dialectics of Organization and Philosophy:The “Party” and Forms of Organization Born Out ofSpontaneity.

—Seth G. Weiss

See also Luxemburg, Rosa; Marxist Theory; Trotskyism

Further Readings

Dunayevskaya, R. (2002). The power of negativity: Selectedwritings on the dialectic in Hegel and Marx. Lanham,MD: Lexington Books.


(1934– )

Enrique Dussel is widely recognized as one of themost important thinkers of Latin America and thefather of a philosophy of liberation. A philosopher byacademic training, he has also worked on the historyof Latin America, the relation between history andtheology of liberation, and the construction of theAmericas by the European colonial empires. He hasalso constructed an elaborate model of social ethicsand economics and has lectured widely on economics,philosophy, and social theory. He is one of the mostprolific writers of 20th-century Latin America, and hisworks have been translated in most Western Europeanlanguages.

The young Dussel started his studies of philosophyat the Universidad Nacional del Cuyo in Mendoza in 1957 and later completed a doctorate of philosophyin Madrid in 1959, a licentiate in religion in Paris in1965, and a doctorate in history at La Sorbonne in1967. On his return to his native Argentina, he taughtethics at the Universidad Nacional de la Resistencia(Chaco, 1966–1968), at the Instituto Pastoral delCELAM (Quito, Ecuador, 1967–1973), and at theUniversidad Nacional de Cuyo (Mendoza, 1968–1975).However, after Juan Domingo Perón’s death in 1974,Argentine underwent a political polarization withescalating violence. Within that violence, right-wing

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paramilitary groups targeted Dussel, and after a bombexploded in his home he left for Mexico in 1975together with his family. In 1975 Dussel became aprofessor of church history and religious studies atITES (Mexico, D.F.) and a professor of ethics and phi-losophy at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana/Iztapalapa. Mexico became his adopted country, andyears later Dussel took Mexican nationality. Meanwhile,in his native Argentina, communities suffered politicalrepression by the military and long years of democra-tic instability.

Dussel stresses the importance of oral delivery andthe following interaction with an audience as amethodological tool of spoken discourse and recog-nizes that written texts can never convey the wholedepth of spoken lectures. Dussel uses history in orderto set the context for a liberating project that includesthe liberation from economic structures ad intra, aswell as the liberation from a Christian situation ofempire symbolized in the development of Christianityas a persecuted religion to a colonizing system ofChristendom. Within contemporary discussions oneconomics, philosophy, and ethics, Dussel has madethe important distinction between social morality andethics by suggesting that social moral orders as agreedsystems of morality are not always necessarily ethicaland can be challenged by Christians as social activistswho strive for a just society here and now.

—Mario I. Aguilar

See also Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo; Postcolonial Theory

Further Readings

Dussel, E. (1981). History of the church in Latin America:Colonialism to liberation 1492–1979. Grand Rapids, MI:Eerdmans.

Dussel, E. (1985). Philosophy of liberation. Maryknoll, NY:Orbis.

Dussel, E. (1988). Ethics and community. Maryknoll, NY:Orbis.

Dussel, E. (1995). The invention of the Americas: Eclipse ofthe other and the myth of modernity. New York:Continuum.

Dussel, E. (2001). Towards an unknown Marx: Commentaryof the manuscripts of 1861–1863. London: Routledge.



As a radical speaker and writer, Andrea Dworkin wasknown for her work against p*rnography, which sheargued led to violence against women. Her theoriescan be found in books, including Woman Hating,Intercourse, and Life and Death.

Andrea Dworkin was born September 26, 1946, inCamden, New Jersey, to Harry Dworkin and SylviaSpiegel. Her father was a teacher and devoted social-ist who contributed to her social consciousness. Hermother was frequently sick, suffering from heart fail-ure and a stroke before Andrea was of adolescent age.Her mother passed away at the age of 26.

Dworkin attended Bennington College, where shestudied literature and actively opposed the war inVietnam. She was arrested at an anti-war protest atthe U.S. Mission to the United Nations and given aforceful physical examination, resulting in lingering pain. She went public about the mistreatment, mak-ing domestic and international news. A few yearslater, the prison in which she was held closed down.Dworkin moved to Greece, where she spent time onher writing before moving back to Bennington for acouple years, resuming her literature studies andcampus activism.

Dworkin moved to Amsterdam to interview anar-chists associated with the Provo counterculturalmovement, a Dutch group who incited violent reac-tions from authorities through nonviolent taunts. Shemarried one of the anarchists, who later abused her.After fleeing the relationship, Dworkin was stuck inthe Netherlands for a year enduring hard times, whichincluded working as a prostitute to survive. Her for-mer husband found and beat her. In 1972, Dworkinagreed to smuggle drugs in exchange for a plane ticketto America. The drug deal fell through, but she stillwas able to return home.

John Stoltenberg, a gay male feminist writerentered Dworkin’s life in 1974 and married her in1998, even though both claimed to be gay. Dworkindied April 9, 2005, in her Washington, D.C., home at58 years of age. She had been suffering from

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osteoarthritis in her knees and had been treated forblood clots in her legs, potentially results of hardshipsand abuse she faced on the streets.

—Maha Shami

See also Anti-p*rnography Activism; Feminism

Further Readings

Dworkin, A. (1988). Letters from a warzone: Writings,1976–1989. New York: Dutton.

Dworkin, A. (1989). p*rnography: Men possessing women.New York: Dutton.

Dworkin, A. (1997). Intercourse. New York: Free Press.Dworkin, A. (1997). Life and death. New York: Free Press.


(1941– )

American singer and songwriter, musician, and poet,Bob Dylan is best known for his political protestsongs from the 1960s. An icon of the American socialunrest that characterized the decade, he incorporatedpolitics, social commentary, philosophy, and literaturein his lyrics and produced songs that still enjoy con-siderable popularity today. Although his more recentwork has often received critical acclaim, his subse-quent achievements have not attained the wide popu-larity of his work in the 1960s and 1970s, a time in theUnited States characterized by social upheaval andturmoil.

Born Robert Allen Zimmerman in Hibbing,Minnesota, to a middle-class Jewish family, Dylanhad a fairly uneventful childhood. He exhibited anearly interest in music and was particularly intriguedby the emerging genre of rock ’n’ roll. Dylan came ofa*ge at a time when authority, including parentalauthority, was being questioned and conventional val-ues were considered suspect. A new era was begin-ning, and Dylan was there to not only help usher it inbut also to shape its direction.

After high school graduation, Dylan enrolled at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where herarely attended class but often performed folk songs

written by others at coffeehouses. It was during thisperiod that he began introducing himself as BobDylan or Dillon. He has never explained exactly thesource for the pseudonym, sometimes alluding to anuncle and sometimes acknowledging a reference tothe Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.

Dylan dropped out of college at the end of hisfreshman year. In 1961 at the age of 19, he traveled toNew York City, finding refuge in Greenwich Villageand again playing in coffeehouses. At the time,Greenwich Village was a community known for itssupport of personal and artistic freedom, and coffee-houses were the venues for aspiring young singers,musicians, poets, and actors.

Dylan was an ardent admirer of Woody Guthrie,the famous country-folk singer who wrote “This LandIs Your Land.” Guthrie, hailed by the political left as atrue folk poet, had an undeniable influence on Dylan’searly music and persona. Indeed, the young Dylanstyled himself in appearance, mannerisms, and musicafter the famed folk singer and owes much of his ear-lier musical style to Guthrie. Part of the early Dylanmystique arose from people’s knowledge that, havinglearned that Guthrie was dying in a New Jersey hospi-tal, Dylan visited the incapacitated singer and report-edly sang for him.

After playing the coffeehouse circuit in GreenwichVillage, Dylan gained some public recognition after areview in the New York Times by critic Robert Shelton.John Hammond, a legendary music business figure,signed him to Columbia Records. Dylan’s first albumdebuted in 1961. It contained only two original songsand was destined to mediocre sales and publicity.Despite the undistinguished start, the companyapproved a second album, The Freewheelin’ BobDylan. Consisting almost entirely of original compo-sitions, this album included two of the most memo-rable songs of the 1960s, “Blowing in the Wind” and“A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” Dylan attracted grow-ing attention from the folk community with therelease of this album.

To understand the immense popularity Dylangained during the 1960s, one must recognize theimportance of the folk movement. The folk musicrevival existed in juxtaposition to the emerging rock

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’n’ roll movement. Many folk singers were politicalradicals who merged politics and culture to offer socialcommentary, and rock ’n’ roll was viewed by them assomewhat hackneyed and banal. Characterized as lib-eral left-leaning pacifists, the folk community was alsoin stark contrast with middle-class, right-wing conser-vatives. Folk musicians used topical song writing todeliver their criticism of middle-class America. ForDylan, folk music reflected the complexities of life.

With the release of The Freewheeling’ Bob Dylan,influential members of the folk community believedthey had found a champion to convey their rage aboutcommercialism, inequities in power, and prejudice.The themes of civil rights and imminent apocalypsewere woven into his songs. Through his music, Dylanpointed the finger of guilt at the war makers and thewar profiteers. “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,” a songwith metaphorical imagery making veiled referencesto nuclear apocalypse, struck a chord as the CubanMissile crisis developed only a few weeks after Dylanbegan performing it. At a time when segregation wasthe norm, “Blowing in the Wind” challenged thesocial and political status quo of the period and her-alded the shift of mainstream white American opinionbehind the civil rights movement. With these songs,there was an apparent new direction in modern song-writing. Dylan developed a unique blending of streamof consciousness poetry with social consciousness,often set to the stylings of traditional folk music.

During this period, numerous Dylan songs point tothe systemic nature of the problems that agitated manyyoung people through the lens of specific individualsin specific settings. In “Who Killed Davey Moore?”Dylan points his finger at the ethical complicity of awhole society in the death of a boxer killed in the ring.Similarly, in “North Country Blues,” a song about awoman in an iron mining town in Minnesota, Dylandecries the results of market forces, perhaps one of theinitial musical protests against globalization.

Rather than continue to perform primarily for hiswhite liberal fans (and following in the footsteps ofGuthrie), Dylan expanded his audience. In 1963 he sangat a voter registration concert in a cotton field to amainly black audience. The song “Only a Pawn in TheirGame” suggested that the white assassin of MedgarEvers, an official from the National Association for the

Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was in factpart of a system that was racist at its core and that focus-ing solely on the assassin would not bring the guilty tojustice. That same year Dylan took part in the March onWashington and performed this song and another beforeMartin Luther King, Jr., delivered his “I Have a Dream”speech that came to epitomize the movement. Joiningother folksingers, including Odetta, Joan Baez, andPeter, Paul, and Mary, Dylan helped usher in a newmovement that placed the demand for equality at thecenter of American consciousness.

The Times They Are A-Changing was released inearly 1964, and indeed the political, social, and cul-tural climate was shifting. Another Side of Bob Dylan,released in the summer of 1964, reveals that personalchanges were taking place for the young singer, sug-gesting that his former identity as protest singer for thefolk community was dissipating. Gone were the “finger-pointing” songs that had made him famous and in theirplace came more personal ballads and love songs.

Defying all efforts to categorize him, Dylan wasclearly uncomfortable with the label of “protest singer”but even more so of “voice of his generation.” Even ashe was being hailed as Woody Guthrie’s heir, master ofthe topical folk song, Dylan was refocusing his atten-tion. The folk community became increasingly skepti-cal when he started writing surreal narratives instead ofthe topical songs expected of folk musicians. WhenDylan replaced his acoustic guitar for an electric one,the folk purists viewed this as the final betrayal.

Recorded in 1965, Bringin’ It All Back Homeincluded both acoustic and electric songs but defi-nitely sent the message that Dylan had turned awayfrom his folk music roots. Rather than the sole singeron stage strumming his acoustic guitar and blowinghis harmonica, Dylan now made his musical state-ments with an electric guitar and a back-up band. Hemade his breakthrough to the pop world in the sum-mer of 1965 with the release of “Like a RollingStone” from the album Highway 61 Revisited, his firstfull-fledged rock ’n’ roll album.

Dylan’s first electric performance at the Newport FolkFestival in 1965 earned him boos from about half the crowd, a scene that would be duplicated on hisEuropean tour, where he was called “Judas” for apparentlyforsaking the acoustical folk music that had made him an

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icon. Without doubt, his decision to expand into electri-cal music was influenced by the British bands that wereappearing on the pop charts. However, his refusal to bepigeonholed by any musical label was a strong motivator(and continues to motivate him today), and Dylan ulti-mately outgrew the movement that had helped gain himrecognition.

Seen with the hindsight of 3 decades, the drama ofDylan’s break with the folk movement seems more of an evolutionary change than a revolutionary one.Undoubtedly, the “defection” of Dylan had an impacton the folk music movement, but perhaps mostnotably on the careers of folk musicians. Theywatched the spotlight of popular culture dim aroundthem while the melding of poetry, music, and protest,heralded by Dylan moved to the rock scene. Despitethe allegations that he had “sold out” by “pluggingin,” Dylan brought to electric music the same com-plexity and social insight he had used to transformacoustical music, delivering many unforgettable songsin a way that brought the worlds of music and litera-ture together. While songs about specific instances ofsocial injustice were rarer, Dylan’s migration made itacceptable for other rock musicians, including, forexample, John Lennon, to use their music to expresstheir social views, something unheard of before.

In 1966 Dylan sustained injuries in a motorcycleaccident. After the accident, he became a recluse. By his own admission, the accident provided him theopportunity to get away from the overwhelming spot-light that had followed him for the past few years. Themystique and intensity that was Dylan transformedfan adulation into stalking and deification, to the pointthat Dylan felt persecuted. During this period, he pre-ferred to focus on his growing family obligations butstill produced albums and wrote the soundtrack for afilm, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, which included theclassic, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”

In 1971 Dylan was cajoled into playing for theConcert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden.He appeared in 1974 with other singer-songwriters of the 1960s at a Friends of Chile benefit aimed athelping prisoners of the Pinochet regime. In 1976,he released “Hurricane,” a narrative meant to raiseawareness about Rubin Carter, a boxer convicted ofmurder on suspect evidence and eventually released

from prison in 1985. In late 1978 he announced hewas a born-again Christian and released a series ofChristian albums. He returned to secular recordingwith the 1983 release of Infidels.

In the 1980s, Dylan made a case for not playingSun City in South Africa and promoted Americanfarmers at Live Aid, which in turn gave rise to theFarm Aid project. But the purpose and drive of the1960s was not readily apparent when he performed in 1985 at the first Farm Aid with Tom Petty & theHeartbreakers and later toured intermittently withthem and other big-name groups. He enjoyed somefame as a member of the musical group, the TravelingWilburys. In 1988 he began the Never Ending Tour. Tothis day, Dylan tours year-round, playing both largevenues and small, sharing the stage with numerousicons of American music.

Dylan’s accolades are numerous. He received aLifetime Achievement award in 1991 at the GrammyAwards and played at President Bill Clinton’s inaugura-tion. His first album of original material in 7 years wasreleased in 1997, Time Out of Mind, which earned him the Best Album award at the 1998 Grammys. Heauthored a first installment of his memoirs in 2004 titledChronicles: Volume 1. No Direction Home: Bob Dylan,a Martin Scorsese documentary, followed in 2005. Thisdocumentary included rare interviews with the normallyreticent Dylan as he recalled his rise to fame in the1960s. He recently released, through a large coffeechain, the Live at the Gaslight 1962 album and also con-tracted to host a radio show for XM satellite radio.

Dylan’s successes are many. He has stood as asymbol of societal protest, made innovative music,wrote remarkable lyrics, and executed lucrative busi-ness deals, all the while maintaining the position ofcynical observer and outsider. He has written andperformed songs in nearly every American musicalgenre, including not only folk and rock, but also coun-try, blues, gospel, and Latin American as well. Yet, herefers to himself simply as a song and dance man. Hiscareer is marked with various highs and lows, but hisimpact has been enormous . . . and he is not done yet.

—Susan R. Wynn and Harris Cooper

See also Benefit Concerts; Guthrie, Woody; Protest Music;Rock ’n’ Roll

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Further Readings

Dylan, B. (2004). Chronicles (Vol. 1). New York: Simon &Schuster.

Edmonds, B. (2005). Revolution in his head. In M. Blake (Ed.),Dylan: Visions, portraits & back pages. New York: DK.

Kane, P. (2005). Boy wonder. In M. Blake (Ed.), Dylan:Visions, portraits & back pages. New York: DK.

Marqusee, M. (2003). Chimes of freedom: The politics of BobDylan’s art. New York: New Press.

Scorsese, M. (Director). (2005). No direction home: BobDylan [Motion picture]. United States: ParamountPictures.

Shelton, R. (1986). No direction home: The life and music ofBob Dylan. New York: Beech Tree Books.

Stuart, B. (2005). Protest and survive. In M. Blake (Ed.),Dylan: Visions, portraits & back pages. New York: DK.

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