Social Structure and Culture in the Study of Race and Urban Poverty
Spring Semester 2014
Thursdays 2:00-4:00 PM
Instructor: William Julius Wilson
Office: Hutchins Center-419. 104 Mt. Auburn Street, 3R
Office Hours: by appointment; contact Edward Walker, firstname.lastname@example.org; Taubman 408; 617-496-5612
Co-Instructor: James Quane
Office: Taubman 404
Office Hours: by appointment
Course website: http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k101434
The purpose of this course is to critically examine current writing and debates on the relative importance of social structure and culture in the social outcomes of urban African Americans and immigrants in the United States. The relevance of these works for public and social policy will also be discussed.
Weekly Assignments. Students will write weekly responses to the assigned course material (600 words max) that consider the following:
What did you see as the most important insight or idea from the assigned readings and episodes?
What are your critical reactions to the readings and episodes (strengths and weaknesses)?
What issues would you particularly like to discuss in class?
These responses must be submitted to the course website no later than noon on the day before class.
Class Discussion. In addition to regular participation in seminars, students will lead a presentation on the assigned readings for one weekly seminar. Presenters will provide a brief critique of the assigned readings for that week. The presentations should be no more than 15 minutes, and students do not need to submit a weekly response for the week they are presenting.
Class participation (weekly responses, seminar discussion, and presentation): 50%
Final Take‐Home Exam: 50%
All assigned books are available at the Coop and on reserve at the Lamont and Kennedy School Libraries. Additional assigned readings are available on the course website.
CLASS TOPICS AND SCHEDULE
The first class meeting, which will be brief and devoted to logistics only, will be Thursday, January 30, at the normal start time of 2:10pm.
I. Culture and Social Structure in the Study of Race and Urban
Robert J. Sampson, Great American City, Chapters 1-2 and 15.
Patrick Sharkey, Stuck in Place, Chapters 1-4.
William Julius Wilson, “Afterword to Wilson’s The Truly Disadvantaged,” [Copy available on the course website]
William Julius Wilson, More than Just Race, Chapters 1 (“Structural and Cultural Forces that Contribute to Racial Inequality,”) and 2 (“The Forces Shaping Concentrated Poverty”).
Michele Lamont and Mario Luis Small. 2008. “How Culture Matters for the Understanding of Poverty: Enriching Our Understanding.” in The Color of Poverty: Why Racial and Ethnic Disparities Exist (David Harris and Ann Lin, eds.). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Orlando Patterson. 2001. “Taking Culture Seriously: A Framework and an Afro-American Illustration.” In Culture Matters: How Values Shape
Human Progress (Lawrence E. Harrison and Samuel P. Huntington,
eds.), pp.202-18. New York: Basic Books.
Lincoln Quillian. 1999. “Migration Patterns and the Growth of High-Poverty Neighborhoods, 1970-1990.” American Journal of Sociology 105/1: 1-37.
Robert J. Sampson, Great American City, Chapters 3-4, 6-9, 11-14 and 16.
Patrick Sharkey, Stuck in Place, Chapters, 5-6.
Robert J. Sampson, Patrick Sharkey, and Stephen W. Raudenbush. 2007. “Durable Effects of Concentrated Disadvantage on Verbal Ability Among African-American Children.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pp. 1-8. http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/0710189104v1?eaf
II. Contemporary Readings on Culture and Social Structure in the Study of Race and Urban Poverty.
Orlando Patterson, Rituals of Blood, Part One (Broken Bloodlines: Gender Relations and the Crisis of Marriages and Families Among Afro-Americans), pp 1-168.
Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas, Promises I Can Keep. (Introduction, Chapters 4-5, Conclusion).
William Julius Wilson, More than Just Race, Chapter 4, “The Fragmentation of the Poor Black Family.”
Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas, Promises I Can Keep (chapters 1-3, 6).
S. Philip Morgan, Antonio McDaniel, Andrew T. Miller, and Samuel H.
Preston. 1993. “Racial Differences in Household and Family
Structure at the Turn of the Century.” American Journal of
Sociology 98: 798-828.
Samuel H. Preston, Suet Lim, and S. Philip Morgan. 1992. “African-
American Marriage in 1910: Beneath the Surface of Census Data.”
Demography 29: 1-15.
Elijah Anderson. 1989. “Sex Codes and Family Life among Poor Inner-City Youth.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 501: 59-78.
Arline T. Geronimus. 1997. “Teenage Childbearing and Personal Responsibility: An Alternative View.” Political Science Quarterly 112: 405-30.
Elijah Anderson, Code of the Street, Introduction and Chapters 1-4.
Loic J. D. Wacquant. 2002. “Scrutinizing the Street: Poverty, Morality, and the Pitfalls of Urban Ethnography.” American Journal of Sociology 107 (May): 1468-1532. (read pages 1468-1471, 1486-1501, 1520-1532; you may skim 1472-1486 and 1501-1520).
Elijah Anderson. 2002. “The Ideologically Driven Critique.” American Journal of Sociology 107 (May): 1533-50.
William Julius Wilson and Anmol Chaddha, “The Role of Theory in Ethnographic Research,” Ethnography, 10 (2-3): 269-284.
Sudhir Venkatesh. 2002. American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto. Chapter 1 (“A Place to Call Home”).
Alford Young. 2003. The Minds of Marginalized Black Men: Making Sense of Mobility, Opportunity, and Future Life Chances. Introduction (“Making New Sense of Poor Black Men in Crisis”) and Chapter 1 (“The Past and Future of the Cultural Analysis of Black Men”).
Alford Young. 1999. "The (Non) Accumulation of Capital: Explicating the Relationship of Structure and Agency in the Lives of Poor Black Men." Sociological Theory 17 (2): 201-227.
Bruce Western, Punishment and Inequality in America.
Robert J. Sampson and William Julius Wilson. 1995. Toward a Theory of Race, Crime and Urban Inequality.” In: Crime and Inequality (John Hagan and Ruth Peterson, eds). pp 37-54.
Bruce Western. 2008. Reentry: Reversing Mass Imprisonment. Boston Review 33(4).
Alfred Blumstein. 1993. “On Racial Disproportionality in the U.S. Prison Population Revisted.” University of Colorado Law Review 64: 743-60.
Christopher Muller. 2012. "Northward Migration and the Rise of Racial Disparity in American Incarceration, 1880-1950." American Journal of Sociology 118:281-326.
Devah Pager. 2003. “The Mark of a Criminal Record.” American Journal of Sociology 108:937-75.
Loic Wacquant. 2001. Deadly Symbiosis: When ghetto and prison meet and mesh. Punishment & Society 3(1): 95-134.
Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh, Off the Books.
Loic Wacquant. 1998. “Inside the Zone: The Social Art of the Hustler in the Black American Ghetto.” Theory, Culture, & Society 15: 1-36.
Sudhir Venkatesh and Steven Levitt. 2000. “Are We a Family or a Business? History and Disjuncture in the Urban American Street Gang.” Theory and Society 29: 427-462.
Sudhir Venkatesh. 2002. “ ‘Doin’ the Hustle’: Constructing the Ethnographer in the American Ghetto.” Ethnography 3: 91-111.
Phillip Kasinitz, John H. Mollenkopf, Mary C. Waters and Jennifer Holdaway. Inheriting the City.
Robert J. Sampson, Great American City, Chapter 10.
Jennifer Lee and Frank D. Bean. 2007 "Reinventing the Color Line: Immigration and America's New Racial/Ethnic Divide." Social Forces 86 (2): 561-586.
Mary Waters. 1999. Black Identities: West Indian Immigrant Dreams and American Realities. Chapters 4 (“West Indians at Work”) and 7 (“Segregated Neighborhoods and Schools”). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, and New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Jennifer L. Hochschild. 2007. “Pluralism and Group Relations.” In: Mary Waters and Reed Ueda (eds.). The New Americans: A Guide to Immigration since 1965. Pp. 164-176.
Roger Waldinger, Still the Promised City.
Stephen Petterson. 1997. “Are Young Black Men Really Less Willing to Work?” American Sociological Review 62 (1997): 605-613.
John Bound and Harry J. Holzer. 1993. “Industrial Shifts, Skills Levels, and the Labor Market for White and Black Males.” Review of Economics and Statistics 75: 387-96. [
Alford A. Young, Jr. 2006. “Low-Income Black Men on Work Opportunity, Work Resources, and Job Training Programs.” In: Ronald B. Mincy (ed.), Black Males Left Behind. Pp. 147-184.
Sandra Susan Smith, Lone Pursuit.
William Julius Wilson, More than Just Race, Chapter 3, “The Economic Plight of Inner-City Black Males.”
Kathryn Neckerman and Joleen Kirschenman. 1991. “Hiring Strategies, Racial Bias, and Inner-City Workers.” Social Problems 38: 433-47.
Roberto Fernandez and Isabel Fernandez-Mateo. 2006. “Networks, Race, and Hiring.” American Sociological Review 71: 42-71.
Kathryn Neckerman, Schools Betrayed.
Signithia Fordham and John U. Ogbu. 1986. “Black Students’ School Success: Coping with the Burden of ‘Acting White.’” Urban Review 18: 176-206.
Prudence L. Carter. 2003. “’Black’ Cultural Capital, Status Positioning, and Schooling Conflicts for Low-Income African American Youth.” Social Problems 50(1): 136-155.
Roland G. Fryer and Paul Torello. 2005. An Empirical Analysis of 'Acting White'. NBER Working Paper Series, Vol. w11334, Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=723303
William Julius Wilson and Richard P. Taub, There Goes the Neighborhood
Robert J. Sampson, Great American City, Chapter 5.
William A. V. Clark. 1991. “Residential Preferences and Neighborhood Racial Segregation: A Test of the Schelling Segregation Model.” Demography 28: 1-19.
Michael Hughes and Steven Tuch. 2000. “How Beliefs about Poverty Influence Racial Policy Attitudes.” In Racial Politics: The Debate about Racism in America, ed. David Sears, Jim Sidanius, and Lawrence Bobo. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 165-90.
Mary Pattillo, Black on the Block.
Cathy Cohen and Michael Dawson. 1993. “Neighborhood Poverty and African American Politics.” American Political Science Review 87:286-302.
Claudine Gay. 2004. “Putting Race in Context: Identifying the Environmental Determinants of Black Racial Attitudes.” American Political Science Review 98:547-62.
III. Political Framing and Social Policy
William Julius Wilson, More than Just Race, Chapter 5, “Framing the Issues: Uniting Structure and Culture”.
Theda Skocpol. 1990. “Targeting Within Universalism: Politically Viable Policies to Combat Poverty in the United States.” In: The Urban Underclass, edited by Christopher Jencks and Paul E. Peterson.
Robert J. Sampson, Great American City, Chapter 17.
Patrick Sharkey, Stuck in Place, Chapter 7.
Barack Obama. 2008. “A More Perfect Union.” Text of speech, March 18.
Martin Gilens. 2000. Why Americans Hate Welfare. Chapter 5 (“The News Media and the Racialization of Poverty”), Chapter 7 (“Racial Stereotypes and Public Responses to Poverty”), and Chapter 9 (“The Politics of the American Welfare State”).
Books Ordered for the Seminar
Elijah Anderson, Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City. New York: W.W. Norton, 1999; paperback 2000.
Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas, Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005; paperback 2007.
Phillip Kasinitz, John H. Mollenkopf, Mary C. Waters and Jennifer Holdaway. Inheriting the City: The Children of Immigrants Come of Age. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press and New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2008; Russell Sage Paperback, 2010.
Kathryn Neckerman, Schools Betrayed: Roots of Failure in Inner-City Education. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007
Orlando Patterson, Rituals of Blood: Consequences of Slavery in Two American Centuries. New York: Basic Civitas Books 1998; paperback 1999.
Mary Pattillo, Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.
Robert J. Sampson, Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.
Patrick Sharkey, Stuck in Place: Urban Neighborhoods and the End of Progress Toward Racial Equality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013
Sandra Susan Smith, Lone Pursuit: Distrust and Defensive Individualism Among the Black Poor. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2007.
Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh, Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006.
Roger Waldinger, Still the Promised City: African-Americans and New Immigrants in Postindustrial New York. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996; paperback 1999.
Bruce Western, Punishment and Inequality in America. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2006; paperback 2007.
William Julius Wilson and Richard P. Taub, There Goes the Neighborhood: Racial, Ethnic and Class Tensions in Four Chicago Neighborhoods and Their Meaning for America. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006; paperback Vintage Books, 2007.
William Julius Wilson, More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City. New York: W.W. Norton Company, 2009.