American Sociological Association

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  1. Featured Essay: Why Sociologists Matter in the Welfare Reform Debate

    In the 1960s, public support for Aid for Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), a federal program that provided cash benefits to eligible poor families with children, began to erode (Teles 1996). Critics of welfare associated the growing number of unwed mothers with the rising rates of AFDC, even though the scientific evidence offered scant support for this claim.
  2. Older People's Self-Selected Spaces of Encounter in Urban Aging Environments in the Netherlands

    Using a narrative methodology involving 216 older people in six urban aging environments in the Netherlands, we examined how they use and experience (semi-)public spaces as spaces of encounter, and the meanings they derive from using and experiencing these spaces. The research shows that, first, older people prefer commercial spaces like shopping malls to planned and designed activity spaces in care homes or neighborhood centers. Second, older people struggle with the transformations that have taken place in urban social life since they were young adults.

  3. Moving Out: Mapping Mobile Home Park Closures to Analyze Spatial Patterns of Low-Income Residential Displacement

    Mobile homes provide the largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing in the United States. However, in mobile home parks residents live at risk of eviction because they rent the land on which their homes are located. This study formulates a methodology to examine the residential turnover and displacement that result from the closure of these parks. I investigate the spatial distribution of closing mobile home parks through ArcGIS modeling of land-use data for all 1.2 million parcels in the case study region of Houston/Harris County, Texas, from 2002 to 2011.

  4. Waiting for Bobos: Displacement and Impeded Gentrification in a Midwestern City

    The degree to which lower-income residents are displaced by the process of gentrification has been the subject of considerable debate. Displacement is generally framed as a possible, and potentially remediable, outcome of gentrification. This portrayal of the link between gentrification and displacement is problematic, though, because gentrification can proceed without substantial displacement, while displacement frequently occurs in the absence of gentrification. In this article, I use a historical case study to examine the link between displacement and gentrification.

  5. Hope for Cities or Hope for People: Neighborhood Development and Demographic Change

    This study, recognizing the longstanding criticisms of HOPE VI as a vehicle for gentrification, compares the goals of local officials with the stated goals of HOPE VI in order to investigate the extent to which local officials are using or misusing HOPE VI to achieve local development and revitalization goals.

  6. The Influence of Women's Neighborhood Resources on Perceptions of Social Disorder

    Research links neighborhood social disorder with poorer health. But factors beyond observed disorder may influence perceptions that social disorder is problematic. This study investigates whether women's aggregate socioeconomic resources relative to men's in the broader neighborhood context attenuate the extent to which more prevalent observed social disorder within the immediate residential neighborhood contributes to perceptions of more problematic social disorder.

  7. Urbanscapes of Disaster: The Sociopolitical and Spatial Processes Underpinning Vulnerability within a Slum in Mexico

    Urbanscapes of disaster are socially and environmentally constituted. Drawing upon the theoretical framework of social vulnerability to disasters, the concept of urbanscape is enriched and empirically verified. This paper highlights how urban social hazards are more relevant for vulnerable people than the risk of experiencing the negative effects of extreme natural events. The analysis of floods in a slum located in a Mexican city reveals intricate socioenvironmental conditions underpinning a disaster process.

  8. “Planning Dissonance” and the Bases for Stably Diverse Neighborhoods: The Case of South Seattle

    Recent scholarship has focused extensively on the rise of diverse neighborhoods in U.S. cities. Nevertheless, the theoretical frameworks we have for describing residential settlement patterns generally treat diversity as an unstable and transitory period that is the product of a unidirectional pressure towards segregation. In our analysis of six diverse neighborhoods in Southeast Seattle, we find evidence of processes at multiple scales that not only maintain diversity, but actually reinforce it.

  9. Why is Helping Behavior Declining in the United States But Not in Canada?: Ethnic Diversity, New Technologies, and Other Explanations

    This paper explores whether there has been a recent decline in helping behavior in the United States. In a lost letter experiment, 7,466 letters were “lost” in 63 urban areas in the United States and Canada in 2001 and 2011. There has been a 10 percent decline in helping behavior in the United States, but not in Canada. Two arguments anticipate change in the level of help provided to strangers: the rise of new technologies, and neighborhood racial and ethnic diversity. Findings exclude increased privatism as a source for the decline in helping.

  10. Pathways to Participation: Class Disparities in Youth Civic Engagement

    Recent research finds that there is a growing class gap in levels of civic engagement among young whites in the United States. Much of the literature on civic engagement focuses on individual- and family-level factors related to civic engagement. Our evidence suggests that it is critically important to consider variation and change in community-level factors as well, and that such factors may play a key role in facilitating or inhibiting civic engagement.