Browse Results For:
Social Sciences > Sociology > Urban Sociology
The Struggle at the Bottom of the Labor Market
Critics on the left and the right typically agree that globalization, the loss of manufacturing jobs, and the expansion of the service sector have led to income inequality and rising numbers of low-paying jobs with poor working conditions.
In Degraded Work, Marc Doussard demonstrates that this decline in wages and working conditions is anything but the unavoidable result of competitive economic forces. Rather, he makes the case that service sector and other local-serving employers have boosted profit with innovative practices to exploit workers, demeaning their jobs in new ways—denying safety equipment, fining workers for taking scheduled breaks, requiring unpaid overtime—that go far beyond wage cuts. Doussard asserts that the degradation of service work is a choice rather than an inevitability, and he outlines concrete steps that can be taken to help establish a fairer postindustrial labor market.
Drawing on fieldwork in Chicago, Degraded Work examines changes in two industries in which inferior job quality is assumed to be intrinsic: residential construction and food retail. In both cases, Doussard shows how employers degraded working conditions as part of a successful and intricate strategy to increase profits. Arguing that a growing service sector does not have to mean growing inequality, Doussard proposes creative policy and organizing opportunities that workers and advocates can use to improve job quality despite the overwhelming barriers to national political action.
Rhetoric, Publics, and the Places of Invention
Wilson Yard, a lot eight blocks north of Wrigley Field in Chicago’s gentrifying Uptown neighborhood, is a diverse enclave of residents enlivened by recent immigrants from Guatemala, Mexico, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and elsewhere. The neighborhood’s North Broadway Street witnesses a daily multilingual hubbub of people from a wide spectrum of income levels, religions, sexual identifications, and interest groups. When a fire left the lot vacant, this divided community projected on Wilson Yard disparate and conflicting aspirations, the resolution of which not only determined the fate of this particular urban space, but also revealed the lot of democracy itself as a process of complex problem-solving. Rai’s detailed study of one block in an iconic American city brings into vivid focus the remarkable challenges that beset democratic urban populations anywhere on the globe—and how rhetoric supplies a framework to understand and resolve those challenges.
Based on exhaustive field work, Rai uses rhetorical ethnography to study competing publics, citizenship, and rhetoric in action, exploring “rhetorical invention,” the discovery or development by individuals of the resources or methods of engaging with and persuading others. She builds a case for democratic processes and behaviors based not on reflexive idealism but rather on the hard work and practice of democracy, which must address apathy, passion, conflict, and ambivalence.
Ghettos, Enclaves, and Inequality
Desegregating the City takes a global, multidisciplinary look at segregation and the strengths and weaknesses of different antisegregation strategies in the United States and other developed countries. In contrast to previous works focusing exclusively on racial ghettos (products of coercion), this book also discusses ethnic enclaves (products of choice) in cities like Belfast, Toronto, Amsterdam, and New York. Since 9/11 the ghetto-enclave distinction has become blurred as crime and disorder have emanated from both European immigrant ethnic enclaves and America’s ghettos. The contributors offer a variety of tools for addressing the problems of racial and income segregation, including school integration, area-based “fair share” housing requirements, place-based mixed-income housing development, and expanded demand-side residential subsidy options such as housing vouchers. By exploring these alternatives and their consequences, Desegregating the City provides the basis for a combination of flexible antisegregation strategies.
West Point Engineers and the Rise of Modern New York, 1817-1898
Between 1817 and 1898, New York City evolved from a vital Atlantic port of trade to the center of American commerce and culture. With this rapid commercial growth and cultural development, New York came to epitomize a nineteenth-century metropolis. Although this important urban transformation is well documented, the critical role of select Union soldiers turned New York engineers has, until now, remained largely unexplored. In Designing Gotham, Jon Scott Logel examines the fascinating careers of George S. Greene, Egbert L. Viele, John Newton, Henry Warner Slocum, and Fitz John Porter, all of whom studied engineering at West Point, served in the United States Army during the Civil War, and later advanced their civilian careers and status through the creation of Victorian New York. These influential cadets trained at West Point in the nation’s first engineering school, a program designed by Sylvanus Thayer and Dennis Hart Mahan that would shape civil engineering in New York and beyond. After the war, these industrious professionals leveraged their education and military experience to wield significant influence during New York’s social, economic, and political transformation. Logel examines how each engineer’s Civil War service shaped his contributions to postwar activities in the city, including the construction of the Croton Aqueduct, the creation of Central Park, and the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. Logel also delves into the administration of New York’s municipal departments, in which Military Academy alumni interacted with New York elites, politicians, and civilian-trained engineers. Examining the West Pointers’ experiences—as cadets, military officers during the war, and New Yorkers—Logel assesses how these men impacted the growing metropolis, the rise of professionalization, and the advent of Progressivism at the end of the century.
Envisioning what we need, when it doesn’t yet exist: this, Thomas Fisher tells us, is what design does. And if what we need now is a better world—functioning schools, working infrastructure, thriving cities—why not design one? Fisher shows how the principles of design apply to services and systems that seem to evolve naturally, systems whose failures sometimes seem as arbitrary and inevitable as the weather. But the “invisible” systems we depend on for our daily lives (in education, politics, economics, and public health) are designed every bit as much as the products we buy and the environments we inhabit—and are just as susceptible to creative reimagining.
Designing Our Way to a Better World challenges the assumptions that have led to so much poor performance in the public and private realms: that our schools cannot teach creativity, that our governments cannot predict the disasters that befall us, that our health system will protect us from pandemics, that our politics will remain polarized, that our economy cannot avoid inequality, and that our industry cannot help but pollute the environment. Targeting these assumptions, Fisher's approach reveals the power of design to synthesize our knowledge about the world into greater wholes. In doing so, this book opens up possible futures—and better futures—than the unsustainable and inequitable one we now face.
Unskilled workers once flocked to Detroit, attracted by manufacturing jobs paying union wages, but the passing of Detroit's manufacturing heyday has left many of those workers stranded. Manufacturing continues to employ high-skilled workers, and new work can be found in suburban service jobs, but the urban plants that used to employ legions of unskilled men are a thing of the past. The authors explain why white auto workers adjusted to these new conditions more easily than blacks. Taking advantage of better access to education and suburban home loans, white men migrated into skilled jobs on the city's outskirts, while blacks faced the twin barriers of higher skill demands and hostile suburban neighborhoods. Some blacks have prospered despite this racial divide: a black elite has emerged, and the shift in the city toward municipal and service jobs has allowed black women to approach parity of earnings with white women. But Detroit remains polarized racially, economically, and geographically to a degree seen in few other American cities.
Mediating a Remix of Learning
"Today there is massive interest in how digital tools and popular culture are transforming learning out of school and lots of dismay at how digitally lost our schools are. Jabari Mahiri works his usual magic and here shows us how to cross this divide in a solidly grounded and beautifully written book." ---James Paul Gee, Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies, Arizona State University "Digital Tools in Urban Schools is a profoundly sobering yet inspiring depiction of the potential for committed educators to change the lives of urban youth, with the assistance of a new set of technical capabilities." ---Mimi Ito, Professor in Residence and MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning, Departments of Informatics and Anthropology, University of California, Irvine "An uplifting book that addresses a critical gap in existing literature by providing rich and important insights into ways teachers, administrators, and members of the wider community can work together with students previously alienated---even excluded---from formal education to enhance classroom learning with appropriate digital tools and achieve inspiring results under challenging circumstances." ---Colin Lankshear, James Cook University, and Michele Knobel, Montclair State University Digital Tools in Urban Schools demonstrates significant ways in which high school teachers in the complex educational setting of an urban public high school in northern California extended their own professional learning to revitalize learning in their classrooms. Through a novel research collaboration between a university and this public school, these teachers were supported and guided in developing the skills necessary to take greater advantage of new media and new information sources to increase student learning while making connections to their relevant experiences and interests. Jabari Mahiri draws on extensive qualitative data---including blogs, podcasts, and other digital media---to document, describe, and analyze how the learning of both students and teachers was dramatically transformed as they utilized digital media in their classrooms. Digital Tools in Urban Schools will interest instructional leaders and participants in teacher preparation and professional development programs, education and social science researchers and scholars, graduate and undergraduate programs and classes emphasizing literacy and learning, and those focused on urban education issues and conditions.
Neighborhood Crime and the Racial-Spatial Divide
More than half a century after the first Jim Crow laws were dismantled, the majority of urban neighborhoods in the United States remain segregated by race. The degree of social and economic advantage or disadvantage that each community experiences—particularly its crime rate—is most often a reflection of which group is in the majority. As Ruth Peterson and Lauren Krivo note in Divergent Social Worlds, “Race, place, and crime are still inextricably linked in the minds of the public.” This book broadens the scope of single-city, black/white studies by using national data to compare local crime patterns in five racially distinct types of neighborhoods. Peterson and Krivo meticulously demonstrate how residential segregation creates and maintains inequality in neighborhood crime rates. Based on the authors’ groundbreaking National Neighborhood Crime Study (NNCS), Divergent Social Worlds provides a more complete picture of the social conditions underlying neighborhood crime patterns than has ever before been drawn. The study includes economic, social, and local investment data for nearly nine thousand neighborhoods in eighty-seven cities, and the findings reveal a pattern across neighborhoods of racialized separation among unequal groups. Residential segregation reproduces existing privilege or disadvantage in neighborhoods—such as adequate or inadequate schools, political representation, and local business—increasing the potential for crime and instability in impoverished non-white areas yet providing few opportunities for residents to improve conditions or leave. And the numbers bear this out. Among urban residents, more than two-thirds of all whites, half of all African Americans, and one-third of Latinos live in segregated local neighborhoods. More than 90 percent of white neighborhoods have low poverty, but this is only true for one quarter of black, Latino, and minority areas. Of the five types of neighborhoods studied, African American communities experience violent crime on average at a rate five times that of their white counterparts, with violence rates for Latino, minority, and integrated neighborhoods falling between the two extremes. Divergent Social Worlds lays to rest the popular misconception that persistently high crime rates in impoverished, non-white neighborhoods are merely the result of individual pathologies or, worse, inherent group criminality. Yet Peterson and Krivo also show that the reality of crime inequality in urban neighborhoods is no less alarming. Separate, the book emphasizes, is inherently unequal. Divergent Social Worlds lays the groundwork for closing the gap—and for next steps among organizers, policymakers, and future researchers.
Belfast, Beirut, Jerusalem, Mostar, and Nicosia
In Jerusalem, Israeli and Jordanian militias patrolled a fortified, impassable Green Line from 1948 until 1967. In Nicosia, two walls and a buffer zone have segregated Turkish and Greek Cypriots since 1963. In Belfast, "peaceline" barricades have separated working-class Catholics and Protestants since 1969. In Beirut, civil war from 1974 until 1990 turned a cosmopolitan city into a lethal patchwork of ethnic enclaves. In Mostar, the Croatian and Bosniak communities have occupied two autonomous sectors since 1993. These cities were not destined for partition by their social or political histories. They were partitioned by politicians, citizens, and engineers according to limited information, short-range plans, and often dubious motives. How did it happen? How can it be avoided?
Divided Cities explores the logic of violent urban partition along ethnic lines—when it occurs, who supports it, what it costs, and why seemingly healthy cities succumb to it. Planning and conservation experts Jon Calame and Esther Charlesworth offer a warning beacon to a growing class of cities torn apart by ethnic rivals. Field-based investigations in Beirut, Belfast, Jerusalem, Mostar, and Nicosia are coupled with scholarly research to illuminate the history of urban dividing lines, the social impacts of physical partition, and the assorted professional responses to "self-imposed apartheid." Through interviews with people on both sides of a divide—residents, politicians, taxi drivers, built-environment professionals, cultural critics, and journalists—they compare the evolution of each urban partition along with its social impacts. The patterns that emerge support an assertion that division is a gradual, predictable, and avoidable occurrence that ultimately impedes intercommunal cooperation. With the voices of divided-city residents, updated partition maps, and previously unpublished photographs, Divided Cities illuminates the enormous costs of physical segregation.