Fred Lippitt Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Political Science:
Phone: +1 401 863 9436
Professor Orr's research is in the areas of American government and politics, urban politics, race and politics, community organizing, urban public policy, and the politics of urban schools.
Marion Orr is the Director of the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions and the Fred Lippitt Professor of Public Policy, Political Science and Urban Studies at Brown University. He previously was a member of the political science faculty at Duke University. A native of Savannah, Georgia, he earned his B.A. degree in political science from Savannah State College, M.A. in political science from Atlanta University (now Clark-Atlanta University), and a Ph.D. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is affiliated with the Urban Studies Program.
He is the author and editor of four books, Black Social Capital: The Politics of School Reform in Baltimore (University Press of Kansas), which won the Policy Studies Organization's Aaron Wildavsky Award for the best book published in 1999, and The Color of School Reform: Race, Politics and the Challenge of Urban Education (Princeton University Press), which was named the best book in 1999 by the American Political Science Association's (APSA) Urban Politics Section. He is the editor of Transforming the City: Community Organizing and the Challenge of Political Change and Power in the City: Clarence Stone and the Politics of Inequality. He is also the author of numerous scholarly articles, essays, and reviews.
He is currently gathering data for a study of the community organizing efforts of local affiliates of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a national network of local, community-based organizations founded by the late Saul Alinsky. He also conducts research on various aspects of politics and urban policy pertaining to Providence, Rhode Island.
Professor Orr has held a number of fellowships, including an appointment as Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Presidential Fellowship from the University of California, Berkeley, and a fellowship from the Ford Foundation.
During 2003-04, Professor Orr served as President of the APSA's Organized Section on Urban Politics. From 2000-2006 he was an elected member of the Governing Board of the Urban Affairs Association (UAA), an international organization devoted to the study of urban issues. In 2005-2006 he served as Chair of UAA's Governing Board. Dr. Orr has also served as a member of the executive councils of the American Political Science Assocation and the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. He has served, or is currently serving, on the editorial boards of the Journal of Urban Affairs, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and Urban Affairs Review.
I am currently working on a book-length project, Community Organizing and the Ecology of Civic Engagement. The book examines community organizations in Baltimore, Memphis, and New York. The framework for the research centers on the ecology of civic engagement. By ecology of civic engagement, I mean the terms by which major sectors of the city relate to one another and their role in the structure and function of local political regimes. Relationships are central to politics. People and institutions form relationships, or are brought together, in order to change public policy or enhance the capacity of government to address an important problem. My book project is concerned with uncovering factors that allow (or inhibit) community organizations to claim a prominent place in a body of civic and political relationships. Its aim is to provide a balanced examination of the strengths and limitations of community organizing, especially in urban communities.
With Professor Hilary Silver (Sociology, Brown University) I have gathered data for a research project, "Regime Politics in Providence." The research assesses whether the election of Mayor David Cicilline has ushered in a shift in both the electoral and the governing regime of Providence. A regime change would be indicated by the incorporation of new groups into the majority electorate and local government, a shift in the composition of agenda-setters and decision-makers in the ruling governing coalition, and the elevation of a new set of priorities to Providence's policy agenda. Many urban scholars have wondered how, despite its well-known history of political malfeasance, Providence managed to revitalize its downtown and many of its neighborhoods. The research examines the role of political and economic leadership in that transformation, and asks if a new urban regime is in the process of formation.
I developed a data-base of all the urban articles published in four political science journals (Journal of Politics, American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science and Political Science Quarterly) and (with Valerie Johnson) to publish articles examining the treatment of urban issues in the discipline's major journals. This work has already produced a forthcoming book chapter, "Race and the City: The View from Two Political Science Journals" and builds on my previously published article, "Political Science and Education Research: An Exploratory Look at Two Political Science Journals."
Ph. D., University of Maryland
Policy Studies Organization's Aaron Wildavsky Best Book Award, 1999, for Black Social Capital
American Political Science Association's (APSA) Urban Politics Section Best Book Award, 1999, for The Color of School Reform
Chair, Governing Board, Urban Affairs Association, 2005-06
President, Urban Politics Section of the American Political Science Association, 2003-04
Member, Executive Council of the American Political Science Association, 2003-06
Member, Governing Board, Urban Affairs Association, 2000-03, 2003-06;
secretary-treasurer, Urban Affairs Association, 2001-03
Member, Strategic Planning Committee, American Political Science Association, 1999-2000
Member, Committee on Education and Professional Development, American Political Science Association, 2000-02
Member, Editorial Board, Urban Affairs Review, 1999-2002
Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Urban Affairs, 2000-03; 2003-06
Member, Advisory Board, National Center for the Revitalization of Central Cities, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Member, Executive Council, American Political Science Association, Urban Politics Section, 1999-2001 and 1995-97
Member, Executive Council, National Conference of Black Political Scientists, 1995-98
"Community Organizing and the Ecology of Civic Engagement," Salomon Faculty Research Grant, Brown University, 2003 ( $11,000)
"BUILD: Continuing the Legacy of Maryland's Civil Rights Movement," Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and the Maryland Historical Trust, 2001-02 ($25,000)
"Big-City School Reform and State Politics: The View from Maryland and Baltimore," Duke University Research Council, 1996 ($1,200)