This case offers a "bottom up" view of the health care industry through the voices of workers essential to the industry's operations, including unskilled and semi-skilled titles. Allied health care workers are often invisible members of the health care workforce, revealing the industry's own internal hierarchies of class, race, gender and status. This case illuminates their struggles, successes and challenges to end structural inequality in the workplace as they fight to transform low-wage, exploitative jobs into dignified, fairly compensated careers. Non-clinical members of the team are essential to improving patient care and obtaining structural change. Their knowledge and insight as partners are central to new innovations in care delivery. The case concludes with four ways to forge effective ties with worker and labor organizations to deepen structural competency within health care organizations.
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- Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir/Biography (2015).
- Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction (2014).
- ForeWord IndieFab Book of the Year in Women’s Studies (Silver Winner 2014).
Identity politics has its share of shortcomings. But the problems that plague an anemic class politics won’t be solved by eliminating its supposed competitor. In recent decades, identity politics has mushroomed to include more and more social groups for good reason: numerous categories of persons have been systematically denied rights, privileges, and social respect. Major social categories, like race and sexuality, are not a “distraction” from the “real” problem of economic inequality; rather they are an integral part of an individual’s lived experiences. But identity politics cannot end all forms of inequality. At best, it is one strategy in a larger assault against systems of inequality.
Immigrant informal banking relies on trust, norms and networks to keep agreements rather than laws, courts, or written contracts. Although research exists on the sociological and economic dimensions of informal banking, this study examines them comparatively with explicit attention to the role of public action. Policy decisions targeted Eastern European unincorporated banks in 1917 and Haitian essos in 1998. I assessed how immigrants with equivalent levels of social capital influenced and are affected by laws creating postal savings banks, state chartered neighborhood banks and liberalized underwriting for mortgages.
This research shows that government intervention lowered barriers to bank ownership and services, which increased working class access to cheap sources of credit, an important move in overcoming inequalities in homeownership, small business development and other mechanisms of mobility. These changes transformed informal practices from a liability that justified economic discrimination and exclusion to a resource for creating a more democratic and inclusive formal banking sector.
Political movements embedded in public interest and social welfare networks created these policy shifts, rather than ethnic interest groups or immigrant civic participation. As a result, policy advocacy by elites actually constructed “bottom-up,” community-based financial institutions. In these new sites for formal banking, immigrant community knowledge found legitimacy, giving their social ties new viability in these venues. Examining the political development of community banking institutions illuminates how the politics of policy designs, rather than immigrant political participation, has re-configured the structure of service delivery and constitutes another dimension of the state’s role in incorporating immigrants.
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