Self-Help as Mutual Protection: The Development of Hispanic Fraternal Benefit Societies
AbstractResearch on self-help groups is plentiful yet published material on the origins, development and expansion of self-help groups organized by Hispanics to serve Hispanics remains scarce, as does material on fraternal benefit societies with ethnic, religious, or vocational bases. In this article, the author reports a test of three models advanced by Lieberman and Borman in a JABS special issue (1976) to explain the formation of self-help groups: the functionalist framework alternative pathways, and afflictive bond models. The history, ideologies, and activities of three Hispanic fraternal benefit societies were examined The findings support the explanatory power of Lieberman and Borman's three models; but indicate a fourth reason for the formation of self-help groups: mutual protection. The author concludes by calling for comparative studies to build a context for more empirical research on self-help groups organized as fraternal benefit societies, and for collaboration between policy makers and practitioners and such societies.