Student questions and discussion points for Sept 26 class meeting
1. Gurstein & Vilches (2010) complicate their analysis of the just/unjust city by incorporating the ways in which women exercise their agency in the face of systemic barriers to justice, and even create a just city within the confines of injustice. For instance, through informal support networks that foster a sense of belonging. While this can be a good thing, the authors also allude to the vulnerability and instability of relying solely on informal networks of support. Thus, while lone mothers have actively carved out a space of coping and survival, the question remains whether this is merely a temporary fix to a larger problem (Gurstein & Vilches (2010). My question, then, relates to the implications of agency for creating effective social change. Agentic individualism, for instance, might lead to the pursuit of individual mobility over collective action. Arguably, poverty and homelessness has been conceptualized in individualistic terms, as something one has to ‘get out of’. How, then, can these women’s combined agency through efforts to survive translate into effective collective action for social change given the ongoing constraints that plague their daily lives?
2. Through the readings the array of methods used to promote and create awareness and discussion among women and others in the community arose. Through this, I wonder what other methods may be implemented effectively? As well as what other methods are used in other countries?
3. In the Women in Cities International document and the article “The Just City for Whom? Reconceiving active citizenship for lone mothers in Canada”: Does the concept of an “active citizen” relate to the Together in Women’s Safety project and in what way? In relation to the Just City for Whom article, the idea of active citizenship presented holds tremendous power, is it the ability to be an influence or to have rights that holds this power?