Villa Victoria: The Transformation of Social Capital in a Boston Barrio

Villa Victoria: The Transformation of Social Capital in a Boston Barrio

by Mario Luis Small
     
 

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For decades now, scholars and politicians alike have argued that the concentration of poverty in city housing projects would produce distrust, alienation, apathy, and social isolation—the disappearance of what sociologists call social capital. But relatively few have examined precisely how such poverty affects social capital or have considered for what…  See more details below

Overview

For decades now, scholars and politicians alike have argued that the concentration of poverty in city housing projects would produce distrust, alienation, apathy, and social isolation—the disappearance of what sociologists call social capital. But relatively few have examined precisely how such poverty affects social capital or have considered for what reasons living in a poor neighborhood results in such undesirable effects.

This book examines a neglected Puerto Rican enclave in Boston to consider the pros and cons of social scientific thinking about the true nature of ghettos in America. Mario Luis Small dismantles the theory that poor urban neighborhoods are inevitably deprived of social capital. He shows that the conditions specified in this theory are vaguely defined and variable among poor communities. According to Small, structural conditions such as unemployment or a failed system of familial relations must be acknowledged as affecting the urban poor, but individual motivations and the importance of timing must be considered as well.

Brimming with fresh theoretical insights, Villa Victoria is an elegant work of sociology that will be essential to students of urban poverty.

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Editorial Reviews

Society of the Study of Social Problems

Society for the Study of Social Problems, 2004 C. Wright Mills Award

American Journal of Sociology
Villa Victoria is the finest example of how ethnographic material can be mobilized to correct, refine, and reframe top-down, policy-driven research. . . . If the current fashion continues, more ethnographers will drop conventional longitudinal research designs for interview studies and snapshot portraits of individuals and families, all in the service of policy formulation. In their noble pursuit, they will certainly benefit from reading Villa Victoria.”

— Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh

Urban Studies Journal
This study is strong both in its characterisation of the local residents . . . and its rigorous analysis of theory (and weaving the two together).

— John Crotty

American Journal of Sociology - Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh

Villa Victoria is the finest example of how ethnographic material can be mobilized to correct, refine, and reframe top-down, policy-driven research. . . . If the current fashion continues, more ethnographers will drop conventional longitudinal research designs for interview studies and snapshot portraits of individuals and families, all in the service of policy formulation. In their noble pursuit, they will certainly benefit from reading Villa Victoria.”
Urban Studies Journal - John Crotty

"This study is strong both in its characterisation of the local residents . . . and its rigorous analysis of theory (and weaving the two together)."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226762937
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
05/08/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
246
File size:
678 KB

Meet the Author

Mario Luis Small is associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago.

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