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Making VolunteersCivic Life after Welfare's End$
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Nina Eliasoph

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691147093

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691147093.001.0001

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Drawing on Shared Experience in a Divided Society: Getting People Out of Their “Clumps”

Drawing on Shared Experience in a Divided Society: Getting People Out of Their “Clumps”

(p.165) Chapter 9 Drawing on Shared Experience in a Divided Society: Getting People Out of Their “Clumps”
Making Volunteers

Nina Eliasoph

Princeton University Press

This chapter demonstrates the organizers' efforts to persuade their socially diverse youth volunteers to bond quickly, easily, and comfortably. Such efforts are based on the hope that the act of sharing their personal tastes, habits, and desires would help build stronger bonds, but the only desires that these youths have claimed to share were for pizza and blue jeans. Paradoxically, these exercises show the participants just how uncomfortable people of diverse, unequal backgrounds feel when they are thrown together. This chapter thus reveals an important sociological lesson in just how deep social divisions go. Though it is an important lesson in and of itself, it is not what the programs had aimed to teach.

Keywords:   shared experiences, social divisions, social diversity, youth volunteers, sociological lessons, divided society

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