Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 2009


Poverty Neighbourhoods and Neighbourhood Effects

Lecturers: Professor Jürgen Friedrichs, Research Institute for Sociology,
University of Cologne, Germany; and Professor George Galster,
Deparment of Geography & Urban Planning, Wayne State University,
Detroit, MI, USA

Main disciplines: Geography, Sociology, Economics, Planning

Dates: 3 - 7 August 2009
Course Credits: 10 pts (ECTS)
Limitation: 30 participants


Objectives
Issues related to social exclusion, concentrated poverty, intergenerational deprivation, and equal opportunity continue to dominate the civic agendas of nations across Europe and North America. Similar issues have long been the foci of studies from a variety of academic disciplines on both sides of the Atlantic, but the intensity of scholarly scrutiny has recently intensified. This course is designed to expose graduate students to the latest theory, evidence, and public policy debates related to the nature, extent, causes, consequences, and public policy implications of neighbourhoods of concentrated socioeconomic disadvantage.

Our goals are to help graduate students in the social sciences gain a critical understanding of: (1) how poverty neighbourhoods may be conceptualized and empirically operationalized; (2) how often and where they occur; (3) who lives there; (4) how they come about and change over time; (5) how and to what extent they affect residents and the larger society; (6) how their harmful effects might best be countered by public policies. We also wish to have students gain an appreciation for the complex social scientific challenges related to gaining clear answers to many of the aforementioned questions.

We hope to achieve these course goals by assigned readings and lectures presenting the scientific state-of-the-art on each topic. The references and presentations will be explicitly interdisciplinary (primarily Sociology, Economics, Geography, and Planning), comparative international (primarily Western European and American), and multi-methodological (primarily qualitative and multivariate quantitative). The collaborating Professors were trained in Sociology and Economics, respectively, and have extensive experience researching issues of poverty neighbourhoods in both Europe and the United States. They will bring their expertise to bear during lectures and discussions.

 

Specific Requirements of Students
Students should have graduate course preparation in research methods and statistics. It would also be desirable if students have taken at least introductory courses in sociology and economics.


Essential Preparation Readings



LECTURE OUTLINE

DAY 1

Course Overview [0.25 hours: JF & GG]

Readings:


Lecture 1: The Nature, Extent, & Changes of Poverty Neighbourhoods in Europe [1.25 hours: JF]
This lecture will describe how “poverty neighbourhoods” are defined, how widespread they are, and what kinds of people and social contexts exist in them. It will discuss how their characteristics and incidence has changed over time and the nature of these changes. The geographic focus will be on Western Europe.

Readings:


Lecture 2: The Nature, Extent, & Changes of Poverty Neighbourhoods in the U.S. [1.5 hours: GG]
This lecture will describe how “poverty neighbourhoods” are defined, how widespread they are, and what kinds of people and social contexts exist in them. It will discuss how their characteristics and incidence has changed over time and the nature of these changes. The geographic focus will be on the U.S.

Readings:

 

DAY 2

Lecture 3: The Causes of Poverty Neighbourhoods in Europe [1.5 hours: JF]
This lecture will present and critically evaluate the various theories that have been advanced to explain the existence, changes, and characteristics of poverty neighbourhoods in Western Europe. These include economic restructuring, middle class flight, area stigmatization, and housing market bidding processes.

Readings:


Lecture 4: The Causes of Poverty Neighbourhoods in the U.S. [1.5 hours: GG]
This lecture will present and critically evaluate the various theories that have been advanced to explain the existence, changes, and characteristics of poverty neighbourhoods in the U.S. These include economic restructuring, middle class flight, racial segregation, and housing market bidding processes.

Readings:

 

DAY 3

Lecture 5: The Macro-Micro Model and Context Effects: Mechanisms of Neighbourhood Effects [1.5 hours: JF]
This lecture discusses the various mechanisms that have been posited as means through which neighbourhood effects are transmitted to resident adults and children. These mechanisms include peer/role modeling, social norms/control, networks/social capital, exposure to violence and unhealthy environments, area stigmatization, institutional/resource constraints, and relative deprivation, competition.

Readings:


Lecture 6: Empirical Challenges in Measuring Neighbourhood Effects [1.5 hours: GG]
This lecture discusses the daunting challenges that empirical researchers face when trying to quantify neighbourhood effects. These challenges include: (1) defining the scale of neighbourhood; (2) identifying mechanisms of neighbourhood effect; (3) measuring appropriate neighbourhood characteristics; (4) measuring exposure to neighbourhood; (5) measuring appropriate individual characteristics; and (6) endogeneity.

Readings:

 

DAY 4

Lecture 7: Consequences of Poverty Neighbourhoods: European Perspective [1.5 hours: JF]
This lecture will discuss the numerous consequences for adults and children of living in poverty neighbourhoods and evaluate the evidence. Outcomes of interest will include: health, social-psychological and cognitive development, social interactions and deviant behaviors, educational attainments, and economic opportunities. The focus will be on evidence from Western-European-based studies.

Readings:


Lecture 8: Consequences of Poverty Neighbourhoods: U.S. Perspective [1.5 hours: GG]
This lecture will discuss the numerous consequences for adults and children of living in poverty neighbourhoods and evaluate the evidence. Outcomes of interest will include: health, social-psychological and cognitive development, social interactions and deviant behaviors, educational attainments, and economic opportunities. The focus will be on evidence from U.S.-based studies.

Readings:

 

DAY 5

Lecture 9: Policy Implications of Poverty Neighbourhoods and Neighbourhood Effects: European Perspective [1.5 hours: JF]
This lecture critically evaluates the Western-European evidence on neighbourhood effects in light of the widely adopted policy across Western Europe of “social mixing” of neighbourhood. It challenges what sorts of justifications can be provided for these policies on the basis of equity and efficiency rationales.

Readings:


Lecture 10: Policy Implications of Poverty Neighbourhoods and Neighbourhood Effects: U.S. Perspective [1.5 hours: GG]
This lecture critically evaluates the U.S evidence on neighbourhood effects and draws implications for assisted housing policy in the U.S. It discusses what sorts of justifications can be provided for these policies on the basis of equity and efficiency rationales, and evaluates current policies’ efficacy in achieving desired neighbourhood poverty goals.

Readings:

 

Complete Reading List

 

The lecturers
Jürgen Friedrichs is Professor and Director of the Research Institute for Sociology at the University of Cologne in Cologne, Germany. George Galster is the Clarence Hilberry Professor of Urban Affairs in the Department of Geography & Urban Planning at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, U.S.A. The collaborating Professors were trained in Sociology and Economics, respectively, and have extensive experience researching issues of poverty neighbourhoods in both Europe and the United States. Both have conducted large-scale studies involving primary data collection in poverty neighbourhoods and have published extensively in the leading international scholarly journals. They founded and currently serve as Co-Coordinators of the Poverty Neighbourhoods Working Group of the European Network for Housing Research. They have collaborated in co-editing two recent books with Routledge: Life in Poverty Neighbourhoods: European and American Perspectives (2005), and Quantifying Neighbourhood Effects: Frontiers and Perspectives (2008).


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