Who's doing what? Gender and neighborhood organizing through block clubs in Buffalo, New York
Meyerhoffer, Cassi Ann
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One of the dominant themes in gender studies is the focus on the private/public sphere dichotomy that exists in many aspects of everyday life. Scholars predominately pay attention to these dichotomies within the family, and work spheres. Little attention is focused on those dynamics within voluntary and neighborhood associations such as block clubs. In this thesis, I use ethnographic data from the ongoing Buffalo Area Neighborhood Study (BANS) to examine gender dichotomies in voluntary organizations; to explain why women in Buffalo are so involved in their communities through block clubs, and the implications this may have for feminist research and City planning. Social movement and grassroots activity often becomes characterized by gendered practices, even though the actual activity upon which attention and effort is expended is not gendered at all (Einwohner, et al., 2000). It is no surprise, then, to find block club activism in Buffalo rife with rhetoric of gendered practices. Such as the idea of women "mothering" or nurturing their communities---and men "protecting" them. The theoretical, methodological and policy implications of these findings will be discussed.