Strategies for cooperation in ethnically and racially diverse neighborhoods
Reshaping Ethnic and Racial Relations in Philadelphia
Immigrants in a Divided City
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Judith Goode and Jo Anne Schneider
Finalist for the Robert E. Park Award, Community and Urban Section of the American Sociological Association, 1996
What happens when people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds come together to live and work in the same neighborhood? Unlike other examinations of this question that focus on one group, this book looks at the interaction of both old and new immigrant populations in three Philadelphia neighborhoods.
In this ethnographic study, which is a result of the Ford Foundation-funded Changing Relations: Newcomers and Established Residents in Philadelphia Project, the authors consider five primary groupswhites, African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Koreans, and Eastern Europeansin Olney, Kensington, and Port Richmond. Focusing on the interaction of racial, ethnic, and immigrant communities in schools, organized community celebrations and social events, the workplace, shopping areas, and neighborhood politics, the authors show that the contradictions of individual beliefs, actions, and strategies of power are not easily resolved.
By examining the local, citywide, and national economy and government, previous human relations efforts, changing immigration patterns, community-level power structures, real estate turnover, and gentrification, the authors evaluate current strategies to create harmony in communities with an ever-changing mix of established residents and newly arrived immigrants. Through their findings, Judith Goode and Jo Anne Schneider develop better alternatives that will encourage understanding and cooperation among different racial and ethnic groups sharing their lives and neighborhoods.
"Within each neighborhood, everyday activities bring people into varied situations that play a role in structuring contact and forming ideas about social differences. The daily lives of adults take them into many different settings where they sometimes intimately and sometimes impersonally interact with people from other groups. They also observe interactions between others, as well as participating in conversations about individuals and groups. The chapter describes two aspects of everyday social reality: the intimate, trusting personal relationships of individuals and the structure of public institutions that channel their contacts. Our observations of the personal social networks and daily activities of community residents help to illustrate how the structure of these networks and institutions influences the nature and frequency of social interaction and help to shape definitions of likeness and similarity contributing to the various models of difference.
"Often there are major discontinuities between the ideas people express and their behavior toward others in different settings. Entering discontinuous social frameworks as they shop, deal with their children's school day, go to work, see neighbors on the block, and spend leisure time with friends and relatives, individuals experience social difference in a wide variety of ways. Many of the structures that frame daily life have been shaped by political and economic changes in Philadelphia. Some have been affected by broad citywide policies and processes. Others reflect more local influence, where the experience of turnover and change, crisis events, and memories of the past affect perceptions of social categories in the present. Self-identities form and reform, alliances are forged between individuals an groups. We explore these discontinuities in the following discussion, moving from the post personal, intimate relationships and interactions to the more impersonal."
From Chapter 5, "Every Day Activities: Personal Ties and Structured Institutions"
"[T]his is an excellent book that I would like to be able to use in courses about race and ethnicity at both the graduate and undergraduate level. The ideas are very worthwhile, carefully documented, and well thought through."
Part I: The Citywide Context
Part II: Life in the Neighborhoods
Part III: Restructuring Diversity
Jo Anne Schneider, Program Director at the Institute for the Study of Civic Values, has published numerous articles on ethnicity, race relations, and immigration. She served as 1989-1990 American Anthropological Association Congressional Fellow.