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  1. The Meaning of 'Theory'

    ‘Theory’ is one of the most important words in the lexicon of contemporary sociology. Yet, their ubiquity notwithstanding, it is quite unclear what sociologists mean by the words ‘theory,’ ‘theoretical,’ and ‘theorize.’ I argue that confusions about the meaning of ‘theory’ have brought about undesirable consequences, including conceptual muddles and even downright miscommunication. In this paper I tackle two questions: (a) what does ‘theory’ mean in the sociological language?; and (b) what ought ‘theory’ to mean in the sociological language? I proceed in five stages.

  2. Making Homes Unhomely: The Politics of Displacement in a Gentrifying Neighborhood in Chicago

    Scholars have long debated the causes, processes, and effects of displacement by gentrification in global north cities and more recently around the world. Based on an ethnographic study in Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood, this article shows how limited liability corporations use discrete and accretive violence in the early stages of gentrification. We also document how tenants contest harassment and neglect by carrying out “limit‐acts” to make visible everyday invisible practices of intimidation and coercion and to cope with the private forces that displace them.

  3. Uneven Neighborhood Recovery: Hurricane Damage and Neighborhood Change in the Houston–Galveston Region Since 1970

    Despite the growing number of natural disasters around the globe, limited research exists on post‐disaster patterns of neighborhood change. In this paper, we test two theories of neighborhood change, the “recovery machine” and “rent gap,” which predict opposing effects for low socioeconomic status (SES) neighborhoods following damage from hurricanes, tropical storms, and other natural hazard events.

  4. Racial/Ethnic Hierarchy and Urban Labor Market Inequality: Four Poignant Historical Cases

    The sociological literature, although rich on the topic of racial/ethnic hierarchy, often overlooks its spatially varying nature relative to group tensions and inequality. In this article, we address this gap by drawing on and analyzing four historically important U.S. urban cases (i.e., Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City) that reflect both compositional diversity and significant variation in racial/ethnic group sizes. Our analyses, which draw on U.S.

  5. Serial Filing: How Landlords Use the Threat of Eviction

    While recent research has illustrated the frequency and deleterious consequences of eviction, the number of executed evictions pales in comparison to the number of poor families threatened with eviction. This paper uses interviews with 127 randomly sampled landlords and property managers in Baltimore, Dallas, and Cleveland to examine their strategies related to eviction, with a focus on the extended process of evicting rather than the discrete instance of eviction.

  6. Japanese Gentrification from a Local Community Perspective

    Japanese urban change after the 1990s, studied mostly under the name of reurbanization or “return to the city centres,” was little understood abroad. To locate Japan in the literature on gentrification, the Horie neighborhood in Osaka's Nishi Ward was studied as an example of post‐bubble neighborhood change. The aim of this study was to account for Horie's present situation after Tachibana Street's revitalization from the perspectives of different social groups.

  7. Going Easy and Going After: Building Inspections and the Selective Allocation of Code Violations

    Sociologists have demonstrated how public and private actors reproduce economic and racial inequality, by protecting the values of lucrative real estate, enforcing the tastes of elite and middle‐class populations, and unfavorably sorting low‐income and minority residents. Building inspections and code violations affect each of these processes. Yet, we know remarkably little about how decisions about building code violations are made.

  8. Why Poor Families Move (And Where They Go): Reactive Mobility and Residential Decisions

    Despite frequent moves, low‐income black families are more likely than any other group to churn among disadvantaged neighborhoods, and the least likely to escape them. Traditional explanations for neighborhood inequality invoke racial preferences and barriers to living in high‐income neighborhoods, but recent work suggests that it is also involuntary mobility—such as eviction—which predicts the neighborhood destinations of poor African American families in urban areas.

  9. Disentangling the Effects of Race and Place in Economic Transactions: Findings from an Online Field Experiment

    Scholarship on discrimination consistently shows that non‐Whites are at a disadvantage in obtaining goods and services relative to Whites. To a lesser extent, recent work has asked whether or not place of residence may also affect individuals’ chances in economic markets. In this study, we use a field experiment in an online market for second‐hand goods to examine transactional opportunities for White, Black, Asian, and Latino residents of both advantaged and disadvantaged neighborhoods.

  10. Double Minority Status and Neighborhoods: Examining the Primacy of Race in Black Immigrants’ Racial and Socioeconomic Segregation

    Sociologists have long viewed spatial assimilation as a measure of minorities’ socioeconomic progress. While assimilation increases as socioeconomic status (SES) improves, blacks remain more highly segregated than any other race/ethnic group. I use the locational attainment model to determine whether black immigrants—like their U.S.‐born counterparts—are highly segregated.