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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Much research has been done to explain how the late 2000s housing bubble burst, but little work has been done to see how working-class people responded and are responding to the issue of foreclosure in their communities. City Resistance, a grassroots community organization, transforms working class people from passive actors going through foreclosure to militant activists seeking to stay in their homes. My two-year ethnographic study chronicles the meetings, civil disobedience, and everyday lives of an organization of 300+ members in a medium sized, declining city, in the Northeast. It seeks to understand the multiple processes by which primarily Black and Latino members of the organization are transformed into radical subjects, but also the limits of that radicalism. A central contradiction is that the organizing model must address the immediate needs of members by servicing them and thus creating a belief in the legal system and the protections it offers, while simultaneously pushing them to think about housing as a human right, to move beyond their taken for granted conceptualizations of capitalism.


First Advisor

Dan Clawson

Second Advisor

Tom Juravich

Third Advisor

Z. Fareen Parvez