How to Build An Institutional Alternative: The Black Power Movement for Community Control, 1966-1973
36 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2022 Last revised: 22 Aug 2022
Date Written: August 21, 2022
Prior scholarship shows the importance of groups in institutional development, yet often takes the relevant groups and their institutional interests as given. How do individuals come to perceive shared interests in a novel institutional design? This paper argues that a necessary step is the presence of an appropriate form of group consciousness. I investigate this connection through a case study of demands for community control among Black Power activists. Seeking to increase the power of minority neighborhoods over local public goods, especially education and police, community control became a national organizing demand only a few years after the idea first appeared. I explain this rapid emergence by showing how the community control design addressed the political diagnosis of Black Power consciousness. Hence, activists with this form of consciousness quickly organized around the design, once available. This paper illuminates the development of institutional alternatives and an underappreciated implication of group consciousness.
Keywords: American political development, Black Power, community control, group consciousness, institutional design
JEL Classification: D78, H41, H75, H76
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation