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Empathy Beyond US Borders
The Challenges of Transnational Civic Engagement

$80.00 USD

Part of Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics

  • Date Published: April 2019
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781108608541

$ 80.00 USD
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About the Authors
  • How do middle-class Americans become aware of distant social problems and act against them? US colleges, congregations, and seminaries increasingly promote immersion travel as a way to bridge global distance, produce empathy, and increase global awareness. But does it? Drawing from a mixed methods study of a progressive, religious immersion travel organization at the US-Mexico border, Empathy Beyond US Borders provides a broad sociological context for the rise of immersion travel as a form of transnational civic engagement. Gary J. Adler, Jr follows alongside immersion travelers as they meet undocumented immigrants, walk desert trails, and witness deportations. His close observations combine with interviews and surveys to evaluate the potential of this civic action, while developing theory about culture, empathy, and progressive religion in transnational civic life. This timely book describes the moralization of travel, the organizational challenges of transnational engagement, and the difficulty of feeling transformed but not knowing how to help.

    • Describes the phenomenon of immersion travel in relation to experiential learning and transnationalism
    • Uses multiple types of engaging data including quotations and vignettes from actual immersion trips
    • Clearly shows the benefits and downsides of transnational civic engagement through immersion travel
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Written beautifully and with heart, yet rigorously analytical, Adler's book uncovers the destabilizing and transformative complexity of human connection across political borders and, in the process, quietly but firmly dismantles the folly of wall-building delusions.' Peter Stamatov, Santander Endowed Chair Carlos III-Juan March Institute for the Social Sciences and New York University Abu Dhabi

    'Adler's book richly describes and theoretically analyzes the important case of progressive religious-based immersion trips along the US-Mexico border. He provides significant insight into the practice, structure, and transforming potential of these trips, and addresses the thorny issue of whether change occurs once participants return home. It is a must-read for anyone interested in religion and borders.' Kraig Beyerlein, Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society, University of Notre Dame

    'I can't wait to assign this thoughtful, balanced, beautifully theorized book to my students! Its subtle observations challenge some of our most cherished theories and common sense ideas about a kind of experience that many humanitarian organizations around the world try to produce. Social researchers will savor the book's clear and direct major contributions to social theory, organizational theory, and the sociology of emotions.' Nina Eliasoph, University of Southern California

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2019
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781108608541
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. From distance to concern
    Part I. Organizational Roots and Dilemmas:
    2. At the border between education and action
    3. The problems of finding truth through travel
    Part II. Activities, Emotions, and Empathy:
    4. What immersion travelers feel all day
    5. Why it's better to walk than talk
    Part III. Patterns of Experience and Transformation:
    6. Guided unsettledness: how groups safely shape travel
    7. What changes and why?
    8. The possibilities and problems of immersion travel
    Methodological appendix

  • Author

    Gary J. Adler, Jr, Pennsylvania State University
    Gary J. Adler, Jr is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Pennsylvania State University. His research on culture, civic organizations, and religion has been published in numerous journals, including Social Problems, the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, and Social Science and Medicine. He is the editor of Secularism, Catholicism, and the Future of Public Life (2015) and co-editor of American Parishes: Remaking Local Catholicism (forthcoming).

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