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The Crisis of Belonging: Building Alternative Communities for Care

Jenn M. Jackson, Amber E. Morris

Policy Brief No. 3

June 2024


In this policy brief, Professor Jackson and Amber Morris, PhD Candidate, examine how marginalized peoples, like Black Americans, Latinx/e/o/a people, immigrants, disabled folx, queer and trans people, previously and currently incarcerated people, poor and working-class people, and many others in the United States often form alternative sites of camaraderie, citizenship, and togetherness to combat the violence and exclusion of mainstream white heteropatriarchal society and the watchful eye of the State. Meanwhile, we put forth, state actors typically deem these actions criminal, deviant, and outside the normative boundaries of citizenship. We argue that these spaces are critical sites of political revolution, identity formation, and general fellowship that are often denied in other contexts. Further, if the State expanded human rights and dignities for all social groups equally, the prevalence of alternative groups for belonging might reflect reduced violence, crime, and in-group competition. 

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