Tag Archives | Neighborhood Effects

Making Friends in Violent Neighborhoods: Strategies among Elementary School Children

Anjanette M. Chan Tack, Mario L. Small

Sociological Science, March 15, 2017
DOI 10.15195/v4.a10

While many studies have examined friendship formation among children in conventional contexts, comparatively fewer have examined how the process is shaped by neighborhood violence. The literature on violence and gangs has identified coping strategies that likely affect friendships, but most children in violent neighborhoods are not gang members, and not all friendship relations involve gangs. We examine the friendship-formation process based on in-depth interviews with 72 students, parents, and teachers in two elementary schools in violent Chicago neighborhoods. All students were African American boys and girls ages 11 to 15. We find that while conventional studies depict friendship formation among children as largely affective in nature, the process among the students we observed was, instead, primarily strategic. The children’s strategies were not singular but heterogeneous and malleable in nature. We identify and document five distinct strategies: protection seeking, avoidance, testing, cultivating questioners, and kin reliance. Girls were as affected as boys were, and they also reported additional preoccupations associated with sexual violence. We discuss implications for theories of friendship formation, violence, and neighborhood effects.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Anjanette M. Chan Tack: Department of Sociology, University of Chicago
Email: amc75@uchicago.edu

Mario L. Small: Department of Sociology, Harvard University
Email: mariosmall@fas.harvard.edu

Acknowledgements: This research was supported by the MacArthur Foundation, the University of Chicago, the National Opinion Research Center, and Harvard University. We thank Karen Davis and Lara Perez-Felkner for fieldwork, interview work, and other research assistance instrumental to this project and David Harding for comments and criticisms. Direct correspondence to Mario L. Small, 33 Kirkland St, Department of Sociology, Cambridge, MA 02138 or mariosmall@fas.harvard.edu.

  • Citation: Chan Tack, Anjanette M., and Mario L. Small. 2017. “Making Friends in Violent Neighborhoods: Strategies among Elementary School Children.” Sociological Science 4: 224-248.
  • Received: January 12, 2017
  • Accepted: February 8, 2017
  • Editors: Jesper B. Sørensen, Gabriel Rossman
  • DOI: 10.15195/v4.a10

Neighborhood and Network Disadvantage among Urban Renters

Matthew Desmond, Weihua An

Sociological Science, June 24, 2015
DOI 10.15195/v2.a16

Drawing on novel survey data, this study maps the distribution of neighborhood and network disadvantage in a population of Milwaukee renters and evaluates the relationship between each disadvantage and multiple social and health outcomes. We find that many families live in neighborhoods with above average disadvantage but are embedded in networks with below average disadvantage, and vice versa. Neighborhood (but not network) disadvantage is associated with lower levels of neighborly trust but also with higher levels of community support (e.g., providing neighbors with food). Network (but not neighborhood) disadvantage is associated with lower levels of civic engagement. Asthma and diabetes are associated exclusively with neighborhood disadvantage, but depression is associated exclusively with network disadvantage. These findings imply that some social problems may be better addressed by neighborhood interventions and others by network interventions.
Matthew Desmond: Department of Sociology and Social Studies, Harvard University.  Email: mdesmond@fas.harvard.edu

Weihua An: Department of Sociology and Statistics, Indiana University.

Acknowledgements: Supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, through its “How Housing Matters” initiative, and the Harvard Society of Fellows. Deborah De Laurell, Carl Gershenson, Barbara Kiviat, Kristin Perkins, Tracey Shollenberger, Adam Slez, Van Tran, and the Sociological Science editors provided helpful comments on earlier drafts.

  • Citation: Desmond, Matthew, and Weihua An. 2015. “Neighborhood and Network Disadvantage among Urban Renters.” Sociological Science 2: 329-350
  • Received: January 15, 2015
  • Accepted: March 6, 2015
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Kim Weeden
  • DOI: 10.15195/v2.a16

High Stakes in the Classroom, High Stakes on the Street: The Effects of Community Violence on Student’s Standardized Test Performance

Patrick Sharkey, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Johanna Lacoe

Sociological Science, May 27, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a14

This article examines the effect of exposure to violent crime on students’ standardized test performance among a sample of students in New York City public schools. To identify the effect of exposure to community violence on children’s test scores, we compare students exposed to an incident of violent crime on their own blockface in the week prior to the exam to students exposed in the week after the exam. The results show that such exposure to violent crime reduces performance on English language arts assessments and has no effect on math scores. The effect of exposure to violent crime is most pronounced among African Americans and reduces the passing rates of black students by approximately 3 percentage points.

Patrick Sharkey: Department of Sociology, New York University.
E-mail: Patrick.Sharkey@nyu.edu

Amy Ellen Schwartz: Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, New York University.
E-mail: Amy.Schwartz@nyu.edu

Ingrid Gould Ellen: Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, New York University.
E-mail: Ingrid.Ellen@nyu.edu

Johanna Lacoe: Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California.
Email: lacoe@price.usc.edu

  • Citation: Sharkey, Patrick, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Ingrid Gould Ellen, and Johanna Lacoe. 2014. “High stakes in the classroom, high stakes on the street: The effects of community violence on students’ standardized test performance.” Sociological Science 1: 199-220.
  • Received: October 29, 2013
  • Accepted: December 20, 2013
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Stephen L. Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a14