The author calls attention to a neglected force in urban political life by highlighting how positivism undermined scholarly interest in cultural forces, particularly religion. She shows that although community organizing was formerly led by leftist radicals, today it is led by the church. Five factors contribute to the leading role of congregations in grassroots organizing and urban revitalization. Analysis and interpretation of these factors led the author to conclude that secularization and urban restructuring have left only the church with a sufficient moral and institutional presence in distressed urban neighborhoods to spearhead a return to more direct participatory forms of democracy.



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