Creating the Black American dream: Race, class and community development
Опубликовано на портале: 19-05-20042002
University of Pennsylvania
|Тематические разделы:||Социология, Экономическая социология, Экономическая социология: Социально-экономическая дифференциация. Бедность, Социальная стратификация|
This dissertation investigates the role of a new form of community development initiative to address these social problems and challenging social forces that created it. This dissertation is based on a three-year ethnography of community development in a low-income neighborhood of Philadelphia. To learn about the life and culture of the neighborhood, I moved into the area, participated in local community events, volunteered at community-based organizations, visited local churches and interviewed long term and recent residents. I utilized a grounded theory approach to develop the analytical themes from iterative cycles of data collection and analysis. This community development initiative, labeled the Black American Dream, attempts to attract middle class African-Americans to low-income, Black, urban neighborhoods as a strategy for improving the neighborhood and strengthening to social position of the African-American community more generally. Both moral reform and political radicalism infuse the goals and strategies of the Black American Dream. The moral reform aspect refers to attempts of middle class activists to change their low-income neighbors to be more like them. The radical aspects refer to using the neighborhood as a focal point in mobilizing political force to challenge the broader racial hierarchy. This initiative has been successful in attracting middle class residents and has increased the economic and cultural resources of this neighborhood. However, the community development initiative reifies class distinctions within the neighborhood. Even with the middle-class biases of the initiative, the Black American Dream stands as an alternative to gentrification. Moreover, it is an important reminder of the racial and cultural meanings, usually unspoken but never the less embedded in our construction of community.