Cracks in the Pavement: Social Change and Resilience in Poor Neighborhoods

Cracks in the Pavement: Social Change and Resilience in Poor Neighborhoods

Cracks in the Pavement: Social Change and Resilience in Poor Neighborhoods

Cracks in the Pavement: Social Change and Resilience in Poor Neighborhoods

Synopsis

Woven throughout with rich details of everyday life, this original, on-the-ground study of poor neighborhoods challenges much prevailing wisdom about urban poverty, shedding new light on the people, institutions, and culture in these communities. Over the course of nearly a decade, Martén Sánchez-Jankowski immersed himself in life in neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles to investigate how social change and social preservation transpire among the urban poor. Looking at five community mainstays--the housing project, the small grocery store, the barbershop and the beauty salon, the gang, and the local high school--he discovered how these institutions provide a sense of order, continuity, and stability in places often thought to be chaotic, disorganized, and disheartened. His provocative and ground-breaking study provides new data on urban poverty and also advances a new theory of how poor neighborhoods function, illuminating the creativity and resilience that characterize the lives of those who experience the hardships associated with economic deprivation.

Excerpt

Sir Isaac Newton was reported to have said, “If I have been able to see farther, it was only because I stood on the shoulders of giants.” I would like to acknowledge the contributions of three giants in the study of poor American neighborhoods to the research in this book—William Foote Whyte, Herbert J. Gans, and Gerald D. Suttles. I had the privilege of briefly meeting William Foote Whyte and Gerald D. Suttles at two different annual meetings of the American Sociological Association, and I had the opportunity to meet, talk, and correspond with Herbert J. Gans a few years back. It is fair to say that the work of Gans has had the most influence on the present work, followed by that of Suttles, but I have had the pleasure of empirically and theoretically interacting with all three over the course of researching and writing this book.

Of course my gratitude to the three “giants” who conducted field research in poor neighborhoods is not meant to slight the significant work that other researchers have contributed, many of whom are cited in the text and notes of this book. Elijah Anderson, Robert Sampson, and William Julius Wilson are three such scholars, to mention a few. Some of the most important findings in the present book converse with their work and that of other researchers. It is hoped that this dialogue advances our sociological understanding of the human condition of those inhabiting neighborhoods where the majority of residents are poor and the resources available and used to affect their lives are scant.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.