Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-5959bf8d4d-kpqxq Total loading time: 0.768 Render date: 2022-12-08T16:41:02.179Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Article contents

The Revolt Against Cultural Determinism and the Meaning of Community Action: A View from Cincinnati

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 July 2009

Get access

Extract

Since the 1920s, the discourse about American urban culture has suggested the appropriateness of organizing metropolitan life around territorial subcommunities in two distinctive ways, each of which yielded a distinctive period in the history of professional city and social welfare planning. During the first period, which persisted into the 1950s, the planners focused on the problem of forging a coherent sense of metropolitan community among cultural groups conceived of as separate but equal (or potentially equal). To achieve this goal, they emphasized the role of experts in analyzing the forces controlling urban culture and in devising schemes to segregate, assure the integrity of, and foster mutual understanding and respect among cultural groups whose characteristics stemmed from forces beyond the control of experts or group members. During the second period, which began in the 1950s and persists in our own time, planners abandoned cultural group determinism and the quest for a segregated yet coherent metropolitan community of separate but equal groups in homogeneous neighborhoods. Instead they decided they could control the future of the metropolis by persuading individuals to create heterogeneous neighborhoods through a process of “community action” in which neighborhood residents would define their culture (“lifestyles”) by participating in the design of the social and physical environment of the neighborhood of their choice. This new pattern of thinking about urban culture, which centered on “individualism” and neighborhood rather than groups and metropolitan community, involved a revolt against cultural group determinism, the notion that individuals carry an identity determined by the accident of their membership in the group with characteristics determined by the experience of a group in a social and physical environment created by “outsiders” and or impersonal “forces.”

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1990

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

NOTES

1. Miller, Zane L., “History and the Politics of Community Change in Cincinnati,” The Public Historian 5 (1983): 1735CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Miller, , “Cincinnati Germans and the Invention of an Ethnic Group,” Queen City Heritage 42 (Fall 1984): 1322Google Scholar, revised as “Toward Pluralism: German Culture and the Invention of An Ethnic Group,” in Ethnic Identity and Civic Virtue: Patterns of Conflict and Cohesion in Cincinnati Since the Nineteenth Century, ed. Jonathan D. Sarna and Henry D. Shapiro (Urbana and Chicago: forthcoming).

2. According to recent accounts, the idea of community action sprang from an experiment with juvenile delinquency in New York City funded by the National Institute of Mental Health in 1958. With the passage of the Economic Opportunity Act in 1964, community action then became a federal antipoverty program that triggered an immediate political furor and consequently met an early demise. See Patterson, James T., America's Struggle Against Poverty, 1900–1980 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981), pp. 99157Google Scholar; Fox, Kenneth, Urban Life and Urban Policy (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1966), pp. 96, 198207Google Scholar; Leibey, James, A History of Social Welfare and Social Work in the United States (New York: Columbia University Press, 1978), pp. 315, 318–19, 337–38Google Scholar; Gelfand, Mark I., A Nation of Cities: The Federal Government and Urban America, 1933–65 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975), p. 347Google Scholar; Schlesinger, Arthur M. Jr., A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965), pp. 1008–12Google Scholar; Schlesinger, , Robert Kennedy and His Times (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1978), pp. 4046, 637–39Google Scholar; and Friedman, Lawrence M., “The Social and Political Context of the War on Poverty: An Overview,” in A Decade of Federal Antipoverty Programs: Achievements, Failures, and Lessons, ed. Haveman, Robert H. (New York: Academic Press, 1977), pp. 2147CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Michael Katz, however, presents the standard account of the origins of the federal community action program while stressing its links to the civil-rights movement and the reaction against urban renewal. He also emphasizes its role in stimulating a persisting “new citizen movement.” Katz does not, however, acknowledge the local origins of community action during the 1950s within both social and city (urban renewal) planning. See Katz, Michael B., In the Shadow of the Poorhouse: A Social History of Welfare in America (New York: Basic Books, 1986), pp. 252–61Google Scholar, esp. pp. 259–61 and pp. 272–73. The invention of the argument that the provision of opportunities is the best way to combat poverty is usually attributed to Cloward, Richard A. and Ohlin, Lloyd E., Delinquency and Opportunity: A Theory of Delinquent Gangs (New York: 1960)Google Scholar. It should be noted, however, that Cloward and Ohlin's argument grew out of a concern for juvenile delinquency as an expression of community disorganization and not out of a concern for poverty per se. Cloward and Ohlin also argued that violence and retreatism flourished among youths when the local situation frustrated those individuals who desired to make a choice about their lives, the choice to pursue by legitimate or illegitimate means upward social and economic mobility. See esp. pp. 103, 105, 106–7, 202, 210–11. Boyte, Harry coined the phrase “new citizen movement” in The Backward Revolution: Understanding the New Citizen Movement (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1980)Google Scholar, which is not concerned with community action as we have defined it. For other accounts of the “new citizen movement,” see Fainstein, Norman I. and Fainstein, Susan S., Urban Political Movements: The Search for Power by Minority Groups in American Cities (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1974)Google Scholar; and Clavel, Pierre, The Progressive City: Planning and Participation, 1969–1984 (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1986)Google Scholar, the latter of which focuses on the continuing commitment of several city governments to citizen participation.

3. For a notable exception to the tendency to associate community action exclusively with the maximum feasible participation of the poor, see Frieden, Bernard J. and Kaplan, Marshall, The Politics of Neglect: Urban Aid From Model Cities to Revenue Sharing (Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1975)Google Scholar. Frieden and Kaplan stress the commitment of federal planners to improve the coordination of local, state, and federal agencies in planning and implementing programs. Matusow, Allen J. comments perceptively on local programs in several cities in The Unravelling of America: A History of Liberalism in the 1960s (New York: Harper and Row, 1984), pp. 254–62Google Scholar. On the new role of professional planners, see Miller, Zane L., “The Trickiness of Regional Thinking and the Neutralizing of Public Planning and Policy Professionals,” Planning History Present 3 (1989): 36.Google Scholar

4. The new assumptions about American society also yielded the so-called “consensus” school of American historians who sought to recast the American past as the history of a civilization of autonomous individuals. See Boorstin, Daniel, The Genius of American Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953)Google Scholar; Boorstin, , The Americans: The Colonial Experience (New York: Random House, 1958)Google Scholar, and The Americans: The National Experience (New York: Random House, 1965)Google Scholar; and Hartz, Louis, The Liberal Tradition in America: An Interpretation of American Political Thought Since the Revolution (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1955)Google Scholar. The preoccupation with individual autonomy and self-fulfillment also characterized the “new” urban, political, social, labor, women's, and community history that we associate with the 1960s, but that began to develop in the 1950s as part of the revolt against cultural determinism. See Miller, , “Invention of an Ethnic Group,” pp. 19, 22Google Scholar, and n. 24. For examples of the new social history, see Gutman, Herbert, Work, Culture and Society in Industrializing America: Essays in American Working-Class and Social History (New York: Vintage, 1976)Google Scholar; and Bodnar, John E., Immigration and Industrialization: Ethnicity in an American Mill Town, 1870–1940 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1977)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For other historiographical manifestations of the revolt against cultural determinism, see Kornbluh, Andrea Tuttle, “From Culture to Cuisine: Twentieth Century Views of Race and Ethnicity in the City,” in American Urbanism: An Historiographical Review, ed. Gillette, Howard Jr, and Miller, Zane L. (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1987), pp. 4971.Google Scholar

5. The standard history of planning as a profession in the United States is Scott, Mel, A merican City Planning Since 1890 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969)Google Scholar. Boyer, M. Christine's Dreaming the Rational City: The Myth of American City Planning (Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1983)Google Scholar covers the history of the comprehensive physical planning movement in the United States from the late 19th Century to the 1960s, but devotes primary attention to the years between 1910 and 1940. See also Handlin, David, The American Home: Architecture and Society, 1815–1915 (Boston: Little, Brown, 1979)Google Scholar; and Lees, Andrew, Cities Perceived: Urban Society in European and American Thought (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985)Google Scholar. On early attempts to develop a science of the city, see Marcus, Alan I., “Back to the Present: Historians' Treatment of the City as a Social System During the Reign of the Idea of Community,” in Gillette and Miller, American Urbanism, pp. 225.Google Scholar

6. On the Chicago school of sociologists, see Matthews, Fred H., The Quest for an American Sociology: Robert E. Park and the Chicago School (Montreal: McGill-Queen's, 1977)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Lees, , Cities Perceived, pp. 299304Google Scholar; and Miller, Zane L., “Pluralizing America: Walter Prescott Webb, Chicago School Sociology, and Cultural Regionalism,”Google Scholar forthcoming in a volume of Walter Prescott Webb lectures, published by Texas A&M Press for the University of Texas at Austin.

7. Major selections from the work of the Chicago school in the 1920s appear in Park, Robert E., Burgess, Ernest W., and McKenzie, Roderick D., eds., The City (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1925)Google Scholar; and Burgess, Ernest W., ed., The Urban Community: Selected Papers From the Proceedings of the American Sociological Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1926)Google Scholar. On race-based cultural determinism at the turn of the century, see Miller, Zane L., “Race-ism and the City: The Young Dubois and the Role of Place in Social Theory, 1893–1901,” American StudiesGoogle Scholar (forthcoming).

8. Park, Robert F., “Community Organization and the Romantic Temper,” pp. 115–16, 119ff.Google Scholar; and Burgess, Ernest W., “Can Neighborhood Work Have a Scientific Basis?” pp. 144–55Google Scholar, esp. pp. 146–47 and 153–55, in Park et al., The City.

9. In the 1920s, the Chicago school sociologists suggested these political tendencies without discussing them explicitly. In 1938, however, Louis Worth crafted an elegant statement of the theory of modern urban growth that articulated them explicitly. See Wirth, Louis, “Urbanism as a Way of Life,” American Journal of Sociology 44 (07 1938): 124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

10. Cincinnati City Planning Commission, Official Plan of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, 1925)Google Scholar. For the development of the comprehensive city planning movement in Cincinnati, see Fairbanks, Robert B., Making Better Citizens: Housing Reform and the Community Development Strategy in Cincinnati, 1890–1960 (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1988)Google Scholar, chs. 2–3; and Kornbluh, Andrea Tuttle, Lighting the Way: The Woman's City Club of Cincinnati, 1915–1965 (Cincinnati: Young and Klein, 1986), 1522.Google Scholar

11. The process of denning the city in terms of the basin (the old city) and an outlying and newer area with a different character began in the mid-19th Century and became a convention by the turn of the century. See Miller, Zane L., Boss Cox's Cincinnati: Urban Politics in the Progressive Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 1968), pp. 36, 26, 54, 221Google Scholar. For an account of a similar process in American cities generally, see Jackson, Kenneth T., Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985)Google Scholar, esp. chs. 1–8.

12. Official Plan of Cincinnati, esp. pp. 910, 2022, 2533, 5054.Google Scholar

13. Fairbanks, , Making Better CitizensGoogle Scholar, chs. 3–9.

14. For the summary volume of the plan of 1948, see Cincinnati Planning Commission, The Cincinnati Metropolitan Master Plan (Cincinnati, 1948)Google Scholar. For a more detailed analysis of the way in which the plan of 1948 perpetuated patterns of social and racial residential segregation, see Fairbanks, Robert B. and Miller, Zane L., “The Martial Metropolis: Housing, Planning and Race in Cincinnati, 1940–55,” in The Martial Metropolis: U.S. Cities in War and Peace, ed. Lotchin, Roger W. (New York: Praeger, 1984), pp. 204–9.Google Scholar

15. Cincinnati City Planning Commission, Residential Areas: An Analysis of Land Requirements for Residential Development, 1945–70 (Cincinnati, 1946), pp. 4250.Google Scholar

16. See, for example, Cincinnati Better Housing League, A Tenement House Suruey (Cincinnati, 1921)Google Scholar, which delineated four different housing sections in the basin according to the culturally denned characteristics of each section's inhabitants.

17. Leibey, , History of Social Welfare, pp. 163, 169, 171–73Google Scholar; and Lubove, Roy, The Professional Altruist: The Emergence of Social Work as a Career, 1880–1930 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1965), p. 158CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For a contemporary statement of this point of view, see Lee, Porter R., Social Work as Cause and Function, and Other Papers (New York: Columbia University Press, 1937).Google Scholar

18. The first such organization in Cincinnati was the Cincinnati United Jewish Charities, established in 1898. See Council of Social Agencies, Social Engineering in Cincinnati: The Annual Report of the Council of Social Agencies of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, 1919), pp. 5960.Google Scholar

19. Social Engineering in Cincinnati, p. 3Google Scholar. For an analysis of the theory and practice of community organization during the 1920s and 1930s, see Austin, Michael J. and Betten, Neil, “Intellectual Origins of Community Organizing,” Social Service Review 51 (1977): 155–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

20. Social Engineering in Cincinnati, p. 59.Google Scholar

21. Community Chest of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Social Service Directory of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (Cincinnati, 1934), p. 26.Google Scholar

22. Social Service Directory, pp. 6364, 95, 127.Google Scholar

23. Shapiro, Henry D., “The Place of Culture and the Problem of Identity,” in Appalachia and America: Autonomy and Regional Dependence, ed. Batteau, Allen (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1983), pp. 111–41Google Scholar; and Shapiro, Henry D., Appalachia on Our Mind: The Southern Mountains and Mountaineers in the American Consciousness, 1870–1920 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1978), pp. 256–65.Google Scholar

24. For a list of books symptomatic of this shift, see Miller, Zane L., Suburb: Neighborhood and Community in Forest Park, Ohio, 1935–1976 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1981), pp. 250–52Google Scholar. For other contemporary articulations of the revolt against cultural determinism, see Riesman, David, The Lonely Crowd: A Study of the Changing American Character (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1950)Google Scholar; Ellison, Ralph, Invisible Man (New York: Random House, 1952)Google Scholar; and Wilson, Sloan, The Man in a Gray Flannel Suit (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1955).Google Scholar

25. The new assumptions had significant implications for all post-1950 efforts to reconstruct metropolitan areas, including central business district and suburban planning. See Miller, Zane L. and Giglierano, Geoffrey, “Downtown Housing: Changing Plans and Perspectives, 1948–1980,” Cincinnati Historical Society Bulletin 40 (Fall 1982): 167–90Google Scholar; and Miller, , Suburb, pp. 69241Google Scholar. On the historical study of neighborhoods and community organization, see Melvin, Patricia Mooney, “Changing Contexts: Neighborhood Definition and Urban Organization,” American Quarterly 37 (1985): 357–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

26. Council of Social Agencies, The Cincinnati Report (Cincinnati: Council of Social Agencies, 1952), pp. 6, 23Google Scholar, This analysis of the appraisal process owes much to Andrea Tuttle Kornbluh, , “‘The Bowl of Promise’: Cincinnati Social Welfare Planners, Cultural Pluralism and the Metropolitan Community, 1911–1952” (Ph.D diss., University of Cincinnati, 1988).Google Scholar

27. Cincinnati Report, pp. 2328.Google Scholar

28. Cincinnati Report, pp. 24, 28.Google Scholar

29. Cincinnati Report, p. 20.Google Scholar

30. The Cincinnati Report predates Mobilization For Youth, the experimental delinquency program in New York City, by six years and Cloward and Ohlin's Delinquency and Opportunity by eight years.

31. The Cincinnati metropolitan plan of 1948 laid out the programs subsequently written into the federal urban redevelopment and renewal legislation of 1949 and 1954. In both the rehabilitation and conservation programs of that document, the planners urged the City Planning Commission to provide “guidance” to the residents of renewal neighborhoods so that they would take measures to keep up their properties to assist the city's rehabilitation and conservation activities. Indeed, the master plan suggested that “conservation is a field in which civic associations might well take the leadership, with staff guidance from the City Planning Commission” (see Cincinnati City Planning Commission, Residential Areas: An Analysis of Land Requirements for Residential Development: 1915–1970 [Cincinnati, 1946], pp. 4250, esp. pp. 46, 47)Google Scholar. But this document does not, as the emphasis on “guidance” suggests, present a program of coordinative planning on a neighborhood basis as it took shape in the late 1950s and early 1960s-that is, a program involving maximum feasible participation in planning and implementation of all public and private agencies and residents concerned with a particular neighborhood.

The residents of one slum neighborhood, the Queensgate 11 section of the West End, did choose clearance and redevelopment. See Miller, Zane L. and Jenkins, Thomas H., eds., The Planning Partnership: Participants' Views of Urban Renewal (Beverly Hills, Cal.: Sage, 1982)Google Scholar; and Davis, John Emmeus, “In the Interest of Property: Group Formation and Inter-Group Conflict in the Residential Neighborhood” (Ph.D. diss., Cornell University, 1986).Google Scholar

32. City Manager's Office, Urban Redevelopment Division, “An Urban Renewal Program for Cincinnati” (April, 1954, typescript, Municipal Reference Library, City Hall, Cincinnati).Google Scholar

33. Office of the City Manager, A Workable Program for Urban Renewal (Cincinnati, 05 1955), esp. pp. 3236Google Scholar. The introduction to the workable program described urban renewal not as a federal initiative, but as a program laid out in the master plan of 1948. See A Workable Program, pp. iivGoogle Scholar; Ross, D. Reid, “A Guide for Officials in Organizing Citizen Support for Urban Renewal,” Journal of Housing 13 (July 1956): esp. 235Google Scholar. It should be noted that demolition and construction on Cincinnati's urban renewal and expressway projects did not begin until 1955, the year after the city made its commitment to community action to the federal government. See Fairbanks, , Making Better Citizens, pp. 169, 175Google Scholar; and Cincinnati Department of Urban Development, “History of Progress,” Annual Report, 1966 (Cincinnati, 1966), p. 8.Google Scholar

34. Cincinnati Department of Urban Renewal, “A Preliminary Report to City Council on the Undertaking of Surveys and Plans for Urban Renewal Area #3,” typescript, June 13, 1956, revised September 7, 1956, p. 1Google Scholar, Municipal Reference Library, City Hall, Cincinnati. For another example of “community action” in an urban renewal project, see Skinner, Robert E., “Dayton's $13,000,000 Urban Renewal Program,” The American City (10 1959): 213–16Google Scholar. For a discussion by an historian of urban renewal and racial integration in the Hyde Park Kenwood area of Chicago, see Hirsch, Arnold, Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 1940–1960 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983)Google Scholar. Others have briefly noted the beginnings of citizen participation in urban renewal planning during the 1950s. See Lubove, Roy, Twentieth Century Pittsburgh: Government, Business, and Environmental Change (New York: Wiley, 1969), pp. 163–64Google Scholar; Rossi, Peter H. and Dentier, Robert A., The Politics of Urban Renewal: The Chicago Findings (New York: Free Press, 1961)Google Scholar; and Jenkins, Thomas H., “The 1960s: A Watershed of Urban Planning and Renewal,” in Miller and Jenkins, Planning Partnership, p. 34Google Scholar. For a comment on the local origins of the community action component of the Economic Opportunity Act, see Fisher, Robert, Let the People Decide: Neighborhood Organizing in America (Boston: Twayne, 1984), p. 110.Google Scholar

35. Cincinnati City Planning Commission/Department of Urban Renewal, Avondale-Corryville General Neighborhood Renewal Plan (Cincinnati, 12 1960), pp. 910Google Scholar. In their attempt to discover values, the planners developed a history of both neighborhoods tracing ethnic and class succession from the time of their settlement as part of an effort to establish the heritage of each. The Corryville history stressed its strong Germanic working-class “tradition” while that for Avondale emphasized its occupation first by very wealthy businessmen and upper-middle-income people, and then by two “components” of the Jewish population, and thereafter by Negroes who moved in “by choice” as they sought “above average housing” and a “good neighborhood in which to rear their families,” an “area of which they can be proud.” See Avondale-Corryville General Neighborhood Renewal Plan, pp. 45, 78Google Scholar. On the Avondale-Corryville planning process, see Casey-Leininger, Charles, “Making the Second Ghetto in Cincinnati: Avondale, 1925–1970” (M.A. thesis, University of Cincinnati, 1989)Google Scholar, chs. 4–5.

36. The phrase “community action” can be found in the Avondale-Corryville General Neighborhood Renewal Plan, p. 20.Google Scholar

37. See Avondale-Corryville General Neighborhood Renewal Plan, pp. 1114Google Scholar, for a summary of the plan's proposals, and chapters 4 and 5 for the details. The City Planning Commission in the early 1960s began to institutionalize this approach as standard procedure for all neighborhoods when it established a Neighborhood Planning Program for nonpoverty and nonrenewal areas to teach coordinative planning with maximum feasible participation of all parties concerned, including public and private agencies and residents and businesses operative in the neighborhoods. By 1963, eight community councils concerned with acquiring a role in planning and plan implementation to improve the total neighborhood environment had been organized, one of them on the suggestion of Charles Stamm, Director of the Department of Urban Renewal, in the affluent, nonrenewal neighborhood of Clifton. See City Planning Commission Minutes, 10 28, 1960, vol. 25, pp. 154–55Google Scholar; November 15, 1963, vol. 28, p. 54; December 6, 1963, vol. 28, p. 158; and January 31, 1964, vol. 29, p. 19; Cincinnati City Planning Commission, Annual Report: Achievements, 1962 (Cincinnati, 02 15, 1963), p. 19Google Scholar; and Reynolds, Martha S., “The City, Suburbs, and the Establishment of the Clifton Town Meeting, 1961–1964,” The Cincinnati Historical Society Bulletin 38 (Spring 1980): 911Google Scholar. See also Thomas, John Clayton, Between Citizen and City: Neighborhood Organizations and Urban Politics in Cincinnati (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1986), pp. 2833.Google Scholar

38. Community Health and Welfare Council and Group Work and Recreation Federation, The Basin Area: An Appraisal of Its Leisure Time Services (Cincinnati, 05 1959)Google Scholar. The Community Health and Welfare Council replaced the Council of Social Agencies as the planning arm of the Community Chest in 1956.

39. Basin Area, pp. 615.Google Scholar

40. Basin Area, p. 6.Google Scholar

41. Basin Area, p. 16.Google Scholar

42. Community Health and Welfare Council, Community Indexes (Cincinnati, 1962), p. 7–A.Google Scholar

43. Community Health and Welfare Council, Neighborhood Center Study (Cincinnati, 1962), p. 36Google Scholar. This area was labeled Over-the-Rhine in the mid-19th Century because it lay north of what was then the Miami-Erie canal and was heavily populated by German immigrants.

44. Leybourne, Grace G., “Urban Adjustments of Migrants From the Southern Appalachian Plateaus,” Social Forces 16 (1937): 238–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Evidence before the 1950s of the concern in Cincinnati about Appalachians as a social problem is sporadic but clear. See Tenement House Survey, p. 4Google Scholar; The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, A Decade of Service, 1930–1940 (Cincinnati, 1941), p. 42Google Scholar; Walker, Arnold B., “Will There Be a Race Riot in Cincinnati?” Bulletin of the Division of Negro Welfare (Cincinnati: Council of Social Agencies, Community Chest, 08, 1943), p. 2Google Scholar; Cincinnati Times-Star, February 21, 1944, sec. 5, p. 1Google Scholar; and Mayor's Friendly Relations Committee, Report of a Workshop on the Southern Mountaineer in Cincinnati (Cincinnati, 1954), p. 12Google Scholar, passim. For an example of the new mode of social welfare planning that stressed the importance of personal choice in cultural identification, see Community Health and Welfare Council, Cincinnati Public Recreation Study (Cincinnati, 1967), pp. 67, 123Google Scholar. See also Gordon, Milton M., Assimilation in American Life: The Role of Race, Religion, and National Origins (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964), pp. 262–65Google Scholar. On the idea of urban Appalachian ethnicity, see Tucker, Bruce, “Towards a New Ethnicity: Urban Appalachian Ethnic Consciousness in Cincinnati, 1950–1987,”Google Scholar in Sarna, and Shapiro, , Ethnic Identity and Civic Virtue.Google Scholar

45. Cincinnati Enquirer, 09 9, 1957, p. A:6:1Google Scholar; Stuart Faber Interview, April 1, 1986; and Herr, Mary Jo, “Ernie Mynatt: Prophet of the Inner City,” St. Anthony Messenger (12 1966): 20.Google Scholar

46. Brown, James S. and Hillery, George A., “The Great Migration, 1940–1960,” in The Southern Appalachian Region: A Survey, ed. Ford, Thomas R. (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1962), pp. 7778.Google Scholar

47. Chancellor of the Archdiocese to Rev. John E. Sherman, January 30, 1954, Archbishop Carl J. Alter Papers, General Files, St. Mary Folder B, Archives of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

48. Catholic Telegraph, 03 9, 1962, 1:1.Google Scholar

49. The Main Street Bible Center was one of three such centers established by the students of Mount Saint Mary's Seminary in an effort to involve themselves in social change projects outside of the seminary. Participation in these projects occasioned considerable conflict with the church hierarchy, but the Archdiocese provided funds and leadership for the Bible centers in the fall of 1964. See Hussey, M. Edmund, A History of the Seminaries of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati (Norwood, Ohio: Mt. St. Mary's Seminary of the West, 1979), p. 56Google Scholar; Michael Maloney Interview, 02 11, 1986Google Scholar; Ernie Mynatt Interview, 01 10, 1986Google Scholar; Shirley Stenton Interview, 05 19, 1986Google Scholar; Rev. John Porter Interview, 04 21, 1986Google Scholar; and Philip Obermiller Interview, 12 12, 1986.Google Scholar

50. Report on the Main Street Bible Center, September 21, 1964, Alter Papers, Saint Mary's Bible Centers Folder, Archives of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

51. Catholic Telegraph, 03 19, 1965, A:3:3.Google Scholar

52. Most Reverend Edward A. McCarthy to Rt. Rev. Msgr. Ralph A. Asplan, September 6, 1968, Alter Papers, Catholic Commission on Poverty Folder, Archives of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati; and Catholic Telegraph, 09 18, 1964, A:6:3Google Scholar, and December 11, 1964, A:3:2.

53. For a theological articulation of this point of view in the mid-1960s, see Cox, Harvey, The Secular City: Secularization and Urbanization in Theological Perspective (New York: Macmillan, 1965)Google Scholar. On Cox, see Tucker, Bruce, “The Secular City Revisited,” American Studies (1985): 8389.Google Scholar

54. Articles of Incorporation of the Community Action Commission of the Cincinnati Area, September, 1964; Community Health and Welfare Council, “Characteristics of Neighborhoods with Greatest Percentage of Poverty-Cincinnati Area,” 11 11, 1964Google Scholar; and Walton, William P., to Judd, Charles M., 11 20, 1964Google Scholar, Community Chest Records, Cincinnati. Walton based his recommendations to the Community Action Commission on social welfare planning in an open letter to Ohio Governor Rhodes and the Ohio Legislature entitled “A Blueprint for Improving Public Welfare in Ohio,” which appeared in The Ohio Citizen 14 (01 1963): 125Google Scholar. It cited as one of its goals for public welfare the rehabilitation “to their maximum capacity [of] all families and individuals served by the public welfare agencies.” See esp. pp. 1, 5–8. The Ohio Citizen's Council for Health and Welfare, organized in 1912 as a voluntary, independent research and planning agency, had by the 1960s also expressed a concern for the varied needs of individual recipients of aid, with the “chain of continued and repeated dependency,” and sought “eradication, both in the individual and in society, of those factors which gave rise to the cycle of poverty, dependency, ill-health, inadequate or anti-social behavior and continued poverty.” See “Blueprint,” pp. 1, 6–7, 19–20.

55. Cincinnati in Action: The Newsletter of the Community Action Commission of the Cincinnati Area 1 (08 1965): 12.Google Scholar

56. Cincinnati in Action 11 (11 1966): 2.Google Scholar

57. Michael Maloney Interview, 12 20, 1985Google Scholar; and Madeline Hertzman Interview, 04 8, 1986.Google Scholar

58. Cincinnati Enquirer, 10 27, 1966, A:22:4Google Scholar; Stuart Faber, introduction to “The Hub,” typescript report, July, 1967, Urban Appalachian Council Archives, Cincinnati; Michael Maloney Interview, 12 20, 1985Google Scholar; Stuart Faber Interview, 04, 1986Google Scholar; Madeline Hertzman Interview, 04 8, 1986Google Scholar; Virginia Coffey Interview, 04 10, 1986Google Scholar; Ernie Mynatt Interviews, 01 10 and 15, 1986Google Scholar; and Maureen Sullivan Interview, 06 11, 1986Google Scholar. On the Uptown Basin Council, see Cincinnati Human Relations Commission, Accord 66, no. 2 (0607 1966): 1Google Scholar; and Minutes of the Uptown Basin Council, February through May, 1968, Urban Appalachian Council Archives.

59. This kind of decentralization is not to be confused with a similar impulse characteristic of the period between 1920 and 1954 that expressed itself in a tendency toward horizontal schemes of organization coordinated by a central office or representative committee. See Kornbluh, Andrea Tuttle, “The Cultivation of Public Opinion: The Women's City Club of Cincinnati, 1915–1925” (M.A. thesis, University of Cincinnati, 1983), pp. 3151Google Scholar. For an analysis of this “new urban politics” in Cincinnati by a political scientist, see Thomas, , Between Citizen and City, esp. pp. 155–69Google Scholar. Since the 1880s, neighborhood organizations had lobbied city council. After 1954, however, community councils not only lobbied city council, but also developed connections with the city manager's office and other agencies of city government besides the City Planning Commission and the Department of Urban Development. In this way, the community councils hoped to influence the formulation and administration of policy, including the preparation of fhe annual city budget. This development comprised the novel role of community councils in the “new urban politics.” See Miller, Zane L., “The Role and Concept of Neighborhood in American Cities,” in Fisher, Robert and Romanofsky, Peter, Community Organization for Urban Social Change: A Historical Perspective (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1981), pp. 332Google Scholar; Miller, and Jenkins, , The Planning PartnershipGoogle Scholar; and Davis, , “In the Interest of Property,”Google Scholar which deal with community council activities in Cincinnati's West End during the 1960s and 1970s.

60. The preoccupation with autonomous individuals and the revolt against cultural determinism were not the property of a particular ideological perspective. See, for example, Fisher, , Let the People DecideGoogle Scholar; Boyte, Harry C., Booth, Heather, and Max, Steve, Citizen Participation and the New American Populism (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986)Google Scholar; Miller, Zane L. and Melvin, Patricia Mooney, The Urbanization of Modern America: A Brief History, pp. 201–52, esp. 235–52Google Scholar; Miller, Zane L., “Scarcity, Abundance, and American Urban History,” Journal of Urban History 4 (02 1978): 149–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Miller, , Suburb, pp. 250–55.Google Scholar

61. Miller, Zane L. and Tucker, Bruce, Planning and the Persisting Past: Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine Since 1940 (forthcoming).Google Scholar

62. In 1969, Daniel Patrick Moynihan traced the origins of the federal community action program to the intellectual and academic world of New York City in the 1950s and identified its therapeutic content. In our judgment, however, Moynihan misunderstood the theoretical underpinnings of community action by associating Nisbet, Robert A.'s The Quest for Community (1953)Google Scholar with Goodman, Paul's Growing Up Absurd (1960)Google Scholar and depicting both as conservative tracts against the social consequences of the creation of autonomous individuals. Moynihan also suggested that some critics of community action in the 1960s saw it simply as therapy. We prefer to note that it had a therapeutic component, but also involved, when applied to poor neighborhoods, an insistence on public expenditures to provide the poor with money, decent homes, and better schools. See Moynihan, Daniel Patrick, Maximum Feasible Misunderstanding: Community Action in the War on Poverty (1969; rept. New York: Free Press, 1970), pp. xxxxi, 919Google Scholar. Moynihan also strikes us as curiously parochial when he argues that Goodman “wrote in a radical, Jewish, intellectual tradition, addressing himself to problems of personal fulfillment,” and contends that Norman Podhoretz in Commentary popularized the main thesis of Growing Up Absurd. See Moynihan, , Maximum Feasible Misunderstanding, pp. 1718.Google Scholar

63. For an analysis of some of the problems inherent in this kind of planning, see Miller, Zane L., “Self-Fulfilment and the Decline of Civic Territorial Community,” Journal of Community Psychology 14 (10 1986): 353–643.0.CO;2-R>CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Miller, , “Role and Concept of Neighborhood,” pp. 2428Google Scholar; and Miller, , Suburb, pp. 227–41.Google Scholar

1
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The Revolt Against Cultural Determinism and the Meaning of Community Action: A View from Cincinnati
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

The Revolt Against Cultural Determinism and the Meaning of Community Action: A View from Cincinnati
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

The Revolt Against Cultural Determinism and the Meaning of Community Action: A View from Cincinnati
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *