your comm-org post

colist-admin at colist-admin at
Fri Dec 22 15:19:35 CST 2000

[ed:  I sincerely apologize to Herb as well and thank him for 
responding to the intended substance of David's concerns.   
While Herb's message is responding to David, it also gives some 
interesting background on his efforts. A bit more from me below.]

From: Herb Rubin <hrubin at>

Certainly I intended no offense by the phrase "fugitive 
materials" ; I'd never thought of the meaning beyond the literal 
meaning of the materials being hard to find in academic or 
practitioner libraries. Provide an alternative term and I'll 
instantly adopt it. I'm sitting in my study surrounded by 
several feet of unsorted publications from community groups and 
support groups and really never thought of how to label them as 
a literature. (The needed term has to cover two types of 
literature -- the CCC stuff etc. that sitting on my desk, the 
materials your organization produces that are rarely seen by 
academics but also the numerous technical reports that think 
tanks in universities produce that too often are not seen by 

Here is what I am trying to do:

   (a)  The problem with most academic publications is that they 
forget there is a world of practice out there that produces 
written and oral insights. (And, in my own studies I've seen 
many activist groups contract with research centers at 
universities for projects and data that other research centers 
have already produced and would have been nice to have  

  (b)  The world of practice produces wonderful stuff like 
material on this list, or the numerous publications that come 
out of the first rate centers -- my own work freq. cites CCC 
stuff, Delgado stuff, and the third edition of Comm. Org. and 
Dev. is filled with awkwardly expressed urls to material on 

  (c)  My objective is to try to introduce the more academic of 
JCP people to such materials, as they do not seem to be cited in 
the bibs. of JCP (or other academic journals). And, because of 
the abstruse of many academic publications, practitioners don't 
read them and an important dialogue is missed.

  (d)  I'll gladly accept and instantly adopt any other term 
that refers to material not readily accessible through searches 
through academic libraries but that we all should read, and want 
to read, but often are unaware of

 (e) I also hope you will volunteer to do the review of comm-org 
itself that should be part of the review section of JCP. And I 
hope you will help me accomplish the task of publicizing this 
wonderful array of material. On the day in which I sent my note, 
I had just come back from Chicago in which I had engaged in a 
discussion with some city activists on the 
development/protest/management stuff (in which we both shared 
literature and studies with each other as well as the 
frustrations that that topic engenders). That discussion 
reminded me hat I had been negligent in not searching out 
activists to do some of the reviews. At that moment, I said why 
not send out a request for help to colist that sort of bridges 
the activist-academic world.

(f)  I'll adopt any term that seems appropriate, but I do need 
help in my goal of doing what I think JCP needs to do more of -- 
that is speaking both to academics and activists. The reviews of 
center and institutional based material would IMHO [in my honest 
opinion] be a step in that direction -- share with academics the 
material out of Delgado's center; help activists keep on top of 
the oodles of studies on welfare to work that are available from 
academic research tanks but that are otherwise not widely known.

Sorry if I used a word without thinking (and I mean that 
literally, I didn't think about it) but my attempt is 
inclusiveness of bridge building between academics and activists.


Herb R.

Oh, a little self-defense. In another journal for which I did 
reviews, I had numerous volunteers who summarized literature 
from centers and think tanks that practitioners used; we 
received numerous compliments for opening up an academic journal 
to practitioners. That was and remains my objective.


[ed:  Doing the lemons to lemonade thing, this may provide us an 
interesting opportunity to discuss how to bridge the "hard copy 
divide."  I, for one, would be happy to discuss putting more 
print-only practitioner writing up on COMM-ORG.]

[ed:  Also, thanks to both David and Herb for being gracious 
about my screw-up.   And now you have all seen COMM-ORG running 
around in its underwear.  And what you have seen is pretty 
typical procedure.  About one in twenty messages contain both 
thought and emotion that, if we were all in a room together, 
wouldn't be a problem at all because we could read body 
language, hear tone of voice, negotiate meaning, etc.  But we 
don't have that here except for those silly smily faces, which I 
personally find inadequate even when I use them.  In those cases 
I offer suggestions to message authors for ways to compensate 
for the lack of body language in messages.  That's what I was 
trying to do in this case when I tripped over the technology.  

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