Urban Neighborhoods: Research and Policy

By Ralph B. Taylor | Go to book overview
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EIGHT Neighborhood Mobilization: A Study of the Implementation of an Experimental Intervention

Burton Mindick

An ethnographic study of an early-childhood intervention program in 18 neighborhoods in Syracuse ( New York) offered 156 families participation in home visit and neighborhood group activities to provide social support in parenting their preschool children, and to enhance the children's cognitive and social development. Both neighborhood mobilization (group activity) and home-visit utilization were examined in light of rationalchoice, Marxist and neo-Marxist, and pluralistic theories of urban life. Low levels of participation typified most families. Suburban residence, race, strong ethnic and other pre-existent social networks, as well as higher levels of education and mother's part-time work outside the home were associated with participation. Economic theories of mobilization were generally not supported by the data, though there was some evidence for pluralistic urban political theory. Systemic power, residential mobility, urban decline, and the strategies adopted by urban leaders to counter the decline were examined and shown to impact neighborhood mobilization and program participation generally. Policy issues discussed included the potential consequences of the trends analyzed in their effects on the family and political structure of cities in the future.

Deeply grateful acknowledgment is made to the Carnegie Corporation of New York and to my Project Officer, Mrs. Barbara Finberg for research support to the author of this chapter and to co-investigators William Cross Jr., Moncrieff Cochran, and Urie Bronfenbrenner. The views


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Urban Neighborhoods: Research and Policy


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