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Abstracts from Volume 34, Number 3
(September, 2007)



COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATIONS AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION: LESSONS FROM A CASE STUDY IN THE ARKANSAS DELTA
Valerie H. Hunt

In this paper, I focus on the role of community development corporations
(CDCs) in fostering public participation in the local
political process. Using survey and interview data gathered from
CDCs operating in the Mississippi Delta region of Arkansas, I
show that the CDC is an important intermediary between the citizens
and the local political arena. While, according to this study’s
findings, the CDCs’ long-term goal is to develop a lasting sense of
efficacy among CDC participants, leading to direct political participation
by citizens, the nature of CDC funding does not fully
support these efforts. As a result, these critical activities remain
at the fringes of their official mission. By focusing on short-term
outcomes rather than long-term development process, the money
spent to improve the CDC constituency’s capacity appears to miss
its target. The results of the current study 1) shed light on the
disconnect between the needs of CDCs and the objectives of funding
agencies; and 2) help community practitioners interested in
community development to better understand challenges related to
engaging citizens in local issues and facilitating citizen participation
in ways that enhance collective efficacy in poor communities.

 

THE ROLE OF INFORMAL SOCIAL NETWORKS IN MICRO-SAVINGS MOBILIZATION
Margaret Lombe and Fred M. Ssewamala

The influence of informal institutions on economic outcomes for
low income individuals and households has received little attention
in the United States. Yet, drawing on social capital theory
and existing studies from developing countries where informal
institutions have been widely used in promoting economic opportunities
of families in poverty, one would expect these institutions
to have positive effects on the economic outcomes of low income
individuals in the context of an IDA program. Using a sample of
840 respondents who were enrolled in a community action program,
this study assesses the effects of informal networks of social
support on performance in a matched savings program. Results
show partial support for the hypothesized relationship. Specifically,
an increase in the amount of help a respondent gives to members
of her community is inversely related to performance in an
IDA program. This may imply that although informal networks
have mutual benefits for both the individual and community, economically
these benefits may be mixed. Among low income individuals
saving in an IDA program, participating in such networks
may constrain the economic resources available to them or
their households; hence impacting their performance negatively.

 

ADVICE AND HELP-SEEKING INTENTIONS AMONG YOUTH IN ISREAEL: ETHNIC AND GENDER DIFFERENCES
Moshe Sherer

This study addresses intentions to seek advice and help among
Jewish and Arab youths in Israel. The sample included 805 Jewish,
159 Moslem, 42 Christian, and 43 Druze youths. Two instruments
were used: a demographic questionnaire and a questionnaire on
help-seeking intentions. Results indicated that members of the
ethnic groups preferred using different sources for advice and help.
Compared to Moslem and Druze youths, Jewish youths preferred
to turn to fathers, siblings, school counselors, and social workers;
Compared to Arab youths, Jewish youths expressed less intention to
seek assistance from their mothers; and compared to Moslem youths,
Jewish youths expressed more intention to apply to relatives, supervisors,
and clergy than did Moslem youths. Druze youths were
more willing than Jews or Christians to ask for advice and help
from school counselors and social workers and more willing to ask
help from clergy than were Moslem youths. All four ethnic groups
expressed a greater intention to seek help from informal rather than
formal sources of assistance. Significant gender differences were
also found. The implications of the findings for the development
of appropriate services for different ethnic groups are discussed.

INCARCERATION AND UNWED FATHERS IN FRAGILE FAMILIES
Charles E. Lewis, Jr., Irwin Garfinkel, and Qin Gao

Criminal justice policies have resulted in millions of Americans
being incarcerated over the past three decades in systems that provide
little or no rehabilitation. This study uses a new dataset—The
Fragile Families Study—to document poor labor market outcomes
that are associated with incarceration. We find that fathers who
had been incarcerated earned 28 percent less annually than fathers
who were never incarcerated These previously incarcerated fathers
worked less weeks per year, less hours per week and were less likely
to be working during the week prior to their interview. We also
found that fathers who had been incarcerated were more likely to
depend on underground employment and off-the-books earnings.

GREEK-LETTER MEMBERSHIP AND COLLEGE GRADUATION: DOES RACE MATTER?
Ronald E. Severtis, Jr. and C. André Christie-Mizell

Research, utilizing a nationally representative sample of 3,712
Americans, revealed that Greek-letter membership increases the
probability of college graduation more for African Americans
than for European Americans. Conversely, father’s education
is a more robust predictor of educational outcomes for European
Americans compared to their African American counterparts.

FROM FINANCIAL LITERACY TO FINANCIAL CAPABILITY AMONG YOUTH
Elizabeth Johnson and Margaret S. Sherraden

Youth in the United States are facing an increasingly complex and
perilous financial world. Economically disadvantaged youth, in particular,
lack financial knowledge and access to mainstream financial
institutions. Despite growing interest in youth financial literacy,
we have not seen comparable efforts to improve access to financial
policies and services, especially among disadvantaged youth. Instead
of aiming for financial literacy, an approach widely promoted
in the United States, we suggest aiming for financial capability,
a concept grounded in the writing of Amartya Sen and Martha
Nussbaum. Building on research in the United Kingdom, the paper
proposes that financial capability results when individuals develop
financial knowledge and skills, but also gain access to financial
policies, instruments, and services. The paper addresses theoretical
and pedagogical approaches to increasing financial capability,
followed by examples of programs in the United States. In the conclusion,
we discuss implications for policy, practice, and research.

INTERPERSONAL VIOLENCE AND ANIMALS: MANDATED CROSS-SECTOR REPORTING
Dennis D. Long, Joan H. Long, and Shanti J. Kulkarni

Research indicates an association between interpersonal violence
and animal cruelty. This article examine the virtues and limitations
of creating statutory authority requiring professionals to report substantiated
abuse, neglect, and cruelty across service delivery systems
(e.g. child and adult protect services and humane societies). Such
a legislative approach authorizes and legitimizes “mandated crosssector
reporting”. The probative and research value of this type of
initiative is examined as well as ethical and political considerations.

 

ASTROTURF, TECHNOLOGY AND THE FUTURE OF COMMUNITY MOBILIZATION: IMPLICATIONS FOR NONPROFIT THEORY
John McNutt and Katherine Boland

Nonprofit Organizations advocate for the poor, the disenfranchised
and the oppressed. This process is thought to build social capital and
civil society, while engendering the development of social skills and
deliberation. In recent years, scholars have observed that nonprofit
advocacy organizations have moved from membership associations
to professionalized policy change organizations. Virtual advocacy
will move the process farther a field. Astroturf, the creation of synthetic
advocacy efforts, continues this process further. All of this has
troubling implications for nonprofit organizations and nonprofit
theory. This paper describes the astroturf phenomenon, reviews
pertinent nonprofit theory and speculates on the impact of astroturf
for society and the further development of nonprofit theory.

 

 

BOOK REVIEWS


Inequality and Prosperity: Social Europe vs. Liberal America.
Jonas Pontusson.
Reviewed by Martin Evans.

The Quest for Environmental Justice: Human Rights and the
Politics of Pollution.
Robert D. Bullard (Ed.).
Reviewed by John G. McNutt.

A Right to Housing: Foundations for a New Social Agenda.
Rachel G. Bratt, Michael E. Stone, and Chester Hartman.
Reviewed by John Q. Hodges.

Foundations of Evidence Based Social Work Practice.
Albert R. Roberts and Kenneth R. Yeager.
Reviewed by Daniel Coleman.

Poor Families in America’s Health Care Crisis.
Ronald J. Angel, Laura Lein and Jane Henrici.
Reviewed by Amy Lapan.

American Taxation, American Slavery.
Robin Einhorn.
Reviewed by Paul H. Stuart.




BOOK NOTES


Social Work in the Twenty-first Century: Challenges and
Opportunities.

John T. Pardeck and Francis K. O. Yuen.


Social Capital and Welfare Reform: Organizations,
Congregations and Community.

Jo Ann Schneider.


The Segregated Origins of Social Security: African
Americans and the Welfare State.

Mary Poole.


Not Working: Latina Immigrants, Low-wage Jobs and the
Failure of Welfare Reform.

Alejandra Marchevsky and Jeanne Theorharis.


Racism in Metropolitan Areas.

Rik Pinxten and Ellen Preckler.


When Work is Not Enough: State and Federal Policies to
Support Needy Workers.

Robert P. Stoker and Laura A. Wilson.

 

 

 

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