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Beyond the Neighborhood: The Spatial Distribution of Social Ties in Three Urban Black Communities

  • Author(s): Oliver, Melvin L.
  • et al.
Abstract

This paper explores the distribution of social ties within three black communities. We take seriously the notion that in order to study the personal communities of urbanites we must explore ties both inside and outside neighborhood boundaries. Using data on the interpersonal ties of 352 blacks residing in three contrasting study areas, we explore several questions. First, to what degree are ties neighborhood based or what we term, beyond the neighborhood? Second, are there sub-group differences in spatial location in these study areas; are differences for age, sex, education, and occupational status present? Third, we ask whether differences in the degree of neighborhood embeddedness occur for various attributes of ties; are they equally close, as frequently contacted, or contacted in different ways (i.e., personally or by phone)? Fourth, to what extent are kin, co-workers and co-members spatially dispersed? And finally, in what ways do ties beyond the neighborhood differ from those within the neighborhood in the type(s) of social support that they contain? These questions connect directly to issues surrounding the community question.

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