Social Ties Among the Poor in a Neoliberal Capitalist Society

Authored by: Joan Maya Mazelis

The Routledge Handbook of Poverty in the United States

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415673440
eBook ISBN: 9781315755519
Adobe ISBN: 9781317627401


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Social scientists have long documented the importance of social ties. Whether they focus on the power of social networks to further employment opportunities, or on the effectiveness of social capital for support and for leverage, researchers agree that social ties matter, though they do not always reach the same conclusions about who has what sorts of ties, and to whom. Carol Stack, in her seminal work All Our Kin: Strategies for Survival in a Black Community (1974), documented the depth of support social ties among kin and fictive kin (friends who refer to each other with kin titles like “cousin” and “sister,” and often feel and act as though they are related) can provide. Her work has been immensely influential; an entire generation of sociologists and anthropologists has continued to explore the meanings and mechanisms of social support in various poor communities in the decades since All Our Kin appeared.

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