The first interdisciplinary work to examine "social capital" in a single city
Social Capital in the City
Community and Civic Life in Philadelphia
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edited by Richardson Dilworth
Much of today's heated academic discussion about "social capital" is either theoretical in nature or revolves around national survey data, neither of which adequately explains the specific social networks that actually sustain life in cities. This is the first book about social capital that both spans a broad range of social contexts and time periods and focuses on a single city, Philadelphia. Contributors examine such subjects as voter behavior, education, neighborhood life, church participation, park advocacy, and political activism. The wide scope of the book reflects its concern for comprehending the uniqueness and diversity of urban social networks.
Moving beyond typical definitions, the original essays collected here utilize case studies to demonstrate how social capital is nested in larger structures of power and cannot be appreciated without an understanding of context. Arguing that urban society is "social capital writ large," contributors complicate and deepen our knowledge of a crucial concept and its fruitful applications.
"This is a valuable book for anyone interested in the decline of urban society in the United States. By looking at Philadelphia and its neighborhoods, a distinguished group of historians and social scientists evaluate how social networks come to define the success and the failure of the city. The approaches and techniques presented here will have scholars and general readers discussing the book's conclusions for many years. Social Capital in the City is certainly must reading for anyone with a strong interest in Philadelphia."
"Overall, this is a valuable collection of essays for those interested in exploring the use of social capital in understanding late twentieth-century Philadelphia. Its strength is its diversity of disciplinary perspectives."
"This book is an important corrective to somewhat bland and self-evident understandings of social capital which tend to ignore the deeply contested nature of urban space."
"The book’s major contribution is its rich analysis, which examines the social context in which social capital and social networks emerge and are sustained...Highly recommended."
"[A] compelling book that makes a rich contribution to the literature on both social capital and the city of Philadelphia."
Foreword Seymour J. Mandelbaum
Part I. Social Capital in Historical Context
Part II. Social Capital in Urban Education
Part III. Neighborhood-Based Social Capital and Local Institutions
Conclusion: The Declining Political Value of Social Capital Matthew A. Crenson and Benjamin Ginsberg
Richardson Dilworth is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Drexel University and author of The Urban Origins of Suburban Autonomy.
In the series
Philadelphia Voices, Philadelphia Visions, edited by David W. Bartelt.
Philadelphia has always been a city that has embraced a richness of voice and vision, defying attempts to define it in a one-dimensional frame. Books in this series, Philadelphia Voices, Philadelphia Visions, edited by David W. Bartelt, will give voice to the diverse communities and perspectives that help define the city, and to address public issues that the city's community, civic and academic leadership raise in the public arena. The series is interdisciplinary, encompassing discussions of social divisions, cultural heterogeneity, and the importance of popular culture as expressions of communities that critique, celebrate, and continually reconstitute the Philadelphia region.