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Title page for ETD etd-03312010-180137

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Tesdahl, Eric Anthony
Author's Email Address eric.a.tesdahl@vanderiblt.edu
URN etd-03312010-180137
Title Building power beyond the local scale: An examination of interorganizational collaboration among faith-based community organizing groups
Degree Master of Science
Department Community Research and Action
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Paul W. Speer Committee Chair
Douglas D. Perkins Committee Member
  • social network analysis
  • community organizing
  • geography
Date of Defense 2010-03-31
Availability unrestricted
Faith-based community organizing groups (FBCOs) have a well-established record of engaging citizens on issues of local concern. These groups increasingly recognize the need to engage with political structures beyond the local level, a process most often accomplished by forming federations of individual organizing groups. The geographic distances which separate groups within a federation present a formidable challenge to building solidarity and thus political power. This study examines participation data from two FBCO federations which reflect patterns of interorganizational collaboration at the scale of the metropolitan area. Using a set of longitudinal network analytic techniques, this study seeks to determine the relative impact of geographic distance on the likelihood of interorganizational collaboration. After controlling for such factors as denominational homophily, racial/ethnic homophily, and the overall activity level of each congregation this study finds that distance has a differential impact on relationship formation depending on the strength of relationship. For lower-intensity collaboration, distance plays only a very minor role in determining which groups work together; denominational and racial/ethnic homophily each have a large and positive impact on these sorts of relations. For higher-intensity collaborations, race and denomination appear to be insignificant while geographic distance plays a very strong (and negative) role in shaping which groups tend to work together.
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