Political change doesn’t always begin with a bang; it often starts with just a whisper. From the discussions around kitchen tables that led to the dismantling of the Soviet bloc to the more recent emergence of Internet initiatives like MoveOn.org and Redeem the Vote that are revolutionizing the American political landscape, consequential political life develops in small spaces where dialogue generates political power.
In The Politics of Small Things, Jeffrey C. Goldfarb provides an innovative way to understand the politics of our times. Moving from small to large, he uncovers a dimension of power that is found in human interaction. He analyzes recent turning points, movements, and institutions: dissent around the old Soviet bloc; life on the streets in Warsaw, Prague, and Bucharest in 1989; the network of terror that spawned 9/11; and the religious and Internet mobilizations that transformed the 2004 presidential election. In such pivotal moments, he masterfully shows, political autonomy can be generated, presenting alternatives to the big politics of the global stage and the dominant narratives of terrorism, antiterrorism, and globalization.
A stirring chronicle of some of the most dramatic political events in recent history, The Politics of Small Things provides a hopeful and empowering reminder that political mobilization and change often have humble beginnings.
"The Politics of Small Things is a wonderful little book to assign to smart students in a seminar about contemporary politics and social change. It is heartfelt, even moving in places, and cleanly written. It is neither technical nor boringly conventional, but boldly assertive and engaged. It moves easily between history, theory, and contemporary politics."—Daniel Chirot, American Journal of Sociology