Swarthmore College

Is Politics for Everyone? A Forum on Making our Democracy More Inclusive
with Daniel Laurison, Sasha Issenberg, and Kendra Brooks (moderated by Edwin Mayorga)
September 8, 2022, The MLK Room at the Friends Center

As Daniel Laurison suggests in Producing Politics, political campaigns in the United States are largely run by a set of professionals with virtually the same backgrounds and credentials. Beyond generating repetitive political strategies, how and why does that homogeneity limit political participation more broadly? Laurison discussed the impact of these matters on American democracy with the esteemed journalist Sasha Issenberg and Philadelphia City Councilmember At-Large Kendra Brooks on Thursday, September 8 at the Friends Center in Philadelphia. Professor Edwin Mayorga moderated the conversation.

This event was sponsored by the Aydelotte Foundation, the Swarthmore College Libraries, the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, and the Tri-Co Philly program.

Daniel Laurison is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Swarthmore College, the Associate Editor of the British Journal of Sociology, and a 2021-2023 Carnegie Fellow. His research is on issues of class and social mobility, and class and racial inequality in US politics. He has written two books: Producing Politics: Inside the Exclusive Campaign World Where the Privileged Few Shape Politics for All of Us (2022, Beacon Press) and The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to Be Privileged (2019, Policy Press, co-authored with Sam Friedman).

Sasha Issenberg is the author of three books on topics ranging from the global sushi business to medical tourism and the science of political campaigns. He covered the 2008 election as a national political reporter in the Washington bureau of The Boston Globe, the 2012 election for Slate, the 2016 election for Bloomberg Politics and Businessweek, and 2020 for The Recount. He is the Washington correspondent for Monocle, and has also written for New York magazine, The New York Times Magazine, and George, where he served as a contributing editor. He teaches in the political science department at UCLA.

Kendra Brooks is an At-Large Philadelphia City Council Member. She is the first Working Families Party member elected to Philadelphia City Council in history. Councilmember Brooks has deep roots working across movement-building organizations throughout Philadelphia, where her focus has been on the implementation of restorative justice practices in schools and communities, fighting school privatization efforts and gun violence in Nicetown, and organizing with 215 People’s Alliance on their Steering Committee.

Edwin Mayorga is a parent, educator, scholar, activist and podcaster working for justice. As an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Studies and the Program in Latin American and Latino Studies at Swarthmore College, his work centers on cultural political economic examinations of urbanism, urban education policy, Latinx education, digital social science, racial/ethnic studies and teaching for social justice. He is founder and lead co-researcher of the Education in our Barrios Project in Philadelphia and New York City.

About the Author

Marianne Dages is the Administrative Assistant for the Aydelotte Foundation.

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