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Dialectic of Community and Fragmentation in Organizing for Social Change
Unformatted Document Text:  23 from establishing contact with others. There was one young man from Korea. I tried to talk with him but he was so frightened that he avoided all contact with me and everyone else in the soup kitchen. I wondered what he was really afraid of. Maybe he had been hurt, or robbed, or raped. I wanted to learn more about him, but I also wanted to be sensitive. I found myself paying more attention to his nonverbals. His eyes were cast downward, his posture was slouched, he moved slowly while shuffling his feet. He was by every sign a lonely and defeated man. I felt compassion for him but I also felt hopeless about what I could do. People who live in this kind of fear for prolonged periods eventually lose their grasp of reality. Does their mental illness precede their homelessness or does homelessness come first followed by a loss of identity, fear, isolation, hopelessness and, finally, mental illness? (Field notes, 1999, p. 168) The final instance of separation and fragmentation involved the relationship between the homeless and the people who serve them. Soon we heard some noise behind the building. I walked over to discover an elderly man in a late model Lincoln dropping off a wide range of pastries and bread to the soup kitchen. I watched as the program staff loaded the food into carts and then into the building. Soon one of the men threw me a Danish and I shared it with Mike. I felt like a dog being thrown a piece of meat. (Field notes, 2001, p. 435) There are a number of ways of interpreting these experiences of separation and fragmentation. Taylor and Trujillo (2001) provide us with a perspective on the fragmentation of the self when they observe that within every person exists “multiple, decentered, linguistically constituted and often competing forms of consciousness” (p.174). In each of our descriptions of separation the focal individual is clearly decentered from the organization to which he or she is loosely attached. Furthermore, Deetz (2001) contends that dialogic studies “reject the notion of the autonomous, self-determining individual as the center of the social universe. In its place is suggested a complex, conflictual subject with an emphasis on fundamental dissensus” (p. 32) (see also Garsten & Grey, 1997; Henriques, Holloway, Urwin, Venn & Walkerdine, 1984; Mills, 1994; Nukala, 1996). In each of our examples of separation the poor could be characterized as conflictual

Authors: papa, Michael., Papa, Wendy., Wasserman, Keith., Kandath, Krishna., Worrell, Tracy. and Muthuswamy, Nithya.
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23
from establishing contact with others. There was one young man from
Korea. I tried to talk with him but he was so frightened that he avoided all
contact with me and everyone else in the soup kitchen. I wondered what
he was really afraid of. Maybe he had been hurt, or robbed, or raped. I
wanted to learn more about him, but I also wanted to be sensitive. I found
myself paying more attention to his nonverbals. His eyes were cast
downward, his posture was slouched, he moved slowly while shuffling his
feet. He was by every sign a lonely and defeated man. I felt compassion
for him but I also felt hopeless about what I could do. People who live in this
kind of fear for prolonged periods eventually lose their grasp of reality. Does
their mental illness precede their homelessness or does homelessness come
first followed by a loss of identity, fear, isolation, hopelessness and, finally,
mental illness? (Field notes, 1999, p. 168)
The final instance of separation and fragmentation involved the
relationship between the homeless and the people who serve them.
Soon we heard some noise behind the building. I walked over to discover
an elderly man in a late model Lincoln dropping off a wide range of
pastries and bread to the soup kitchen. I watched as the program staff
loaded the food into carts and then into the building. Soon one of the men
threw me a Danish and I shared it with Mike. I felt like a dog being thrown a
piece of meat. (Field notes, 2001, p. 435)
There are a number of ways of interpreting these experiences of separation
and fragmentation. Taylor and Trujillo (2001) provide us with a perspective on the
fragmentation of the self when they observe that within every person exists
“multiple, decentered, linguistically constituted and often competing forms of
consciousness” (p.174). In each of our descriptions of separation the focal
individual is clearly decentered from the organization to which he or she is loosely
attached. Furthermore, Deetz (2001) contends that dialogic studies “reject the
notion of the autonomous, self-determining individual as the center of the social
universe. In its place is suggested a complex, conflictual subject with an emphasis
on fundamental dissensus” (p. 32) (see also Garsten & Grey, 1997; Henriques,
Holloway, Urwin, Venn & Walkerdine, 1984; Mills, 1994; Nukala, 1996). In each of
our examples of separation the poor could be characterized as conflictual


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