The significance of race for neighborhood social cohesion: Perceived difficulty of collective action in majority black neighborhoods

Tara Hobson-Prater, Tamara G.J. Leech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article explores William Julius Wilson's contentions about community cultural traits by examining racial differences in middle class neighborhoods' levels of social cohesion. Specifically, we explore the perceived difficulty of these actions-as opposed to general pessimism about their outcomes-as a potential explanation for low levels of instrumental collective action in Black middle class neighborhoods. Our results indicate that, regardless of other neighborhood factors, majority Black neighborhoods have low levels of social cohesion. We also find that this racial disparity is statistically explained by shared perceptions about the amount of effort required to engage in group action in different neighborhoods. These findings emphasize that residence in a majority Black area-and the well-informed perceptions accompanying it-affect the lived experience of neighbors, even when they are middle class.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-109
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Sociology and Social Welfare
Volume39
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2012

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social cohesion
collective behavior
middle class
pessimism
community
experience
Group

Keywords

  • Collective action
  • Collective efficacy
  • Race
  • Social cohesion

Cite this

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abstract = "This article explores William Julius Wilson's contentions about community cultural traits by examining racial differences in middle class neighborhoods' levels of social cohesion. Specifically, we explore the perceived difficulty of these actions-as opposed to general pessimism about their outcomes-as a potential explanation for low levels of instrumental collective action in Black middle class neighborhoods. Our results indicate that, regardless of other neighborhood factors, majority Black neighborhoods have low levels of social cohesion. We also find that this racial disparity is statistically explained by shared perceptions about the amount of effort required to engage in group action in different neighborhoods. These findings emphasize that residence in a majority Black area-and the well-informed perceptions accompanying it-affect the lived experience of neighbors, even when they are middle class.",
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AB - This article explores William Julius Wilson's contentions about community cultural traits by examining racial differences in middle class neighborhoods' levels of social cohesion. Specifically, we explore the perceived difficulty of these actions-as opposed to general pessimism about their outcomes-as a potential explanation for low levels of instrumental collective action in Black middle class neighborhoods. Our results indicate that, regardless of other neighborhood factors, majority Black neighborhoods have low levels of social cohesion. We also find that this racial disparity is statistically explained by shared perceptions about the amount of effort required to engage in group action in different neighborhoods. These findings emphasize that residence in a majority Black area-and the well-informed perceptions accompanying it-affect the lived experience of neighbors, even when they are middle class.

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