The Importance Of Community Theories

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Scholars of social capital and neighborhood effects theories have shown that social ties and neighborhoods matter in individual outcomes and perpetuating overall social inequality. However, more recent cohort of scholars argue that these existing theories fall short in several ways as they fail to answer questions like “How do people make social ties?” and “What constitutes a neighborhood and how does it matter?” Mario Small investigates the development of social ties among mothers of children enrolled at local childcare centers in New York City and argues that institutional contexts contribute to the makings of social ties, resource attainments, and reproduction or amelioration of inequality. In line with Small’s argument, Sharkey and Faber …show more content…
They argue that the current scholarship on the neighborhood effects dichotomously focus on the question, “Do neighborhood matter?” neglects many important factors that contribute to the reproduction of inequality. In studying “neighborhood effects,” one must understand different residential contexts. Sharkey and Faber problematizes the common operationalization and measurement of neighborhoods in current scholarship, arguing that census tracts do not effectively account for social impact of schools, family, social and physical environment and other factors that shapes individual outcomes. They point to different physical and social environments one experiences in a neighborhood, the significance of temporal dimensions, and cultural and social heterogeneity in local contexts as factors that influence the neighborhood effects. Thus, one must consider the contributions of residential contexts effects, rather than narrowly and abstractly defined neighborhood effects, in spatial stratification in contemporary American society as well as how spatial dimensions of inequality perpetuates other …show more content…
By drawing readers’ attention to previously neglected area of research, these scholars enrich the scholarship of urban sociology and inequality. However, Small’s discussion of how exactly inequality is enacted or mediated through organizationally embedded and contextualized networks and interaction is minimal. Further theoretical development and incorporation of existing social capital theory in the concluding chapter may have resolved this problem. Nonetheless, Small’s use of qualitative interview data along with large quantitative survey data complement the possible shortcomings of each methodology and provide more nuanced analysis of the development of different social and organizational ties. All things considered, Small and Sharkey and Faber make significant contribution to the future directions in inequality research by incorporating the concepts of different spatial contexts in the scholarly exploration of differential life outcome among

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