Friday, June 20, 2008

Racial Residential Segregation Readings

A friend of mine who started a few years after me in my program is taking her prelim this summer and asked if I would write up a list of readings that I think represent the literature investigating racial residential segregation. Of course, I did not want to recommend an extremely long list to her - she does have a significant chunk of other readings to get through. I think I failed on the brevity for which I was striving, but I thought that it was a great exercise to really think through the "canons" in an area in which I study. I know that there are at least a few other sociologists who read this blog, so I thought that I'd pass along my list for others. I am sure that there are readings that I overlooked and others which might not be considered "canons" that I did include. If you want to comment, please feel free to let me know what your list would be.

Bruch, Elizabeth E., and Robert D. Mare. 2006. “Neighborhood Choice and Neighborhood Change.” American Journal of Sociology 112:667-709. link. I think that this study is the best to try and engage thoughtfully with Schelling's original study of neighborhood dynamics and looks at the effect that both data collection methods and our understanding of the nature of racialized preferences has on understanding the dynamic nature of housing patterns. But, more than that, it really tries to seriously engage with the implications of racial residential preferences in a way that is unparalleled in the current literature.

Charles, Camille Zubrinsky. 2003. “The Dynamics of Racial Residential Segregation.” Annual Review of Sociology 29:167-207. This is the best review piece on racial segregation out there. It is very clear, lays out dominant theories and implications.

Emerson, Michael O., Karen J. Chai, and George Yancey. 2001. “Does Race Matter in Residential Segregation? Exploring the Preferences of White Americans.” American Sociological Review 66:922-935. link. This is one of the only studies that looks at the role that specifically racial preferences play, net of other characteristics of neighborhoods. It relies on hypothetical neighborhoods, but finds that race is one of the over-riding factors in neighborhood preferences.

Crowder, Kyle. 2000. “The Racial Context of White Mobility: An Individual-Level Assessment of the White Flight Hypothesis.” Social Science Research 29:223-257. link. This paper looks at the individual-level moves of whites and what types of neighborhood factors influence the moves of whites out of and into neighborhoods. It is one of the first papers that looked at the theoretical importance of separating moves out of neighborhoods from the moves into a neighborhoods with an empirical study.

Farley, Reynolds, Charlotte Steeh, Tara Jackson, Maria Krysan, and Keith Reeves. 1993. “Continued Racial Residential Segregation in Detroit: "Chocolate City, Vanilla Suburbs" Revisited.” Journal of Housing Research 4:1-38. link. This paper is a follow-up to the original “Chocolate City, Vanilla Suburbs” paper that Farley wrote with colleagues based on the 1976 DAS. They find some evidence of changing attitudes, but preferences that are still very averse to integration. This is a staple of any segregation reading list.

Frey, William H., and Reynolds Farley. 1996. “Latino, Asian, and Black Segregation in U.S. Metropolitan Areas: Are Multi-ethnic Metros Different?.” Demography 33:35-50. link. This paper looks at the trends in segregation for Latinos, Asian-Americans and blacks in a comparative light and finds that multiethnic metropolitan areas have different dynamics of racial segregation than two-race (i.e. black/white) metropolitan areas. This is a key reading for understanding comparative relationships across racial groups and the importance of other racial groups on the dynamics of black/white segregation.

Harris, David R. 2001. “Why Are Whites and Blacks Averse to Black Neighbors?,.” Social Science Research 30:100-116. link.Harris counters the idea that racially biased preferences expressed by both whites and blacks are biased against living in communities with a significant proportion of black residents. Instead, Harris argues that this is due to the fact that residents are really reacting to the fact that black neighborhoods have higher levels of crime and poverty. Therefore, resistance to living with black neighbors is really the result of race being a “proxy” for these other issues.

Lee, Barrett A., R. S. Oropesa, and James W. Kanan. 1994. “Neighborhood Context and Residential Mobility.” Demography 31:249-270. link.

Massey, Douglas S., and Nancy A. Denton. 1993. American apartheid : segregation and the making of the underclass. Cambridge, Mass. ; London, Eng. :: Harvard University Press. Need I explain?

Quillian, Lincoln. 2002. “Why is black-white residential segregation so persistent?: Evidence on three theories from migration data.” Social science research 31:197-229. link.This is a fascinating paper that uses the probabilities that individuals make particular types of transitions from one neighborhood type to another (i.e. different levels of segregation). This paper examines the possibility that a person’s neighborhood context can change both because of a move by that family, but also of a neighborhood changing around them. It concludes that preferences among whites drive a good portion of the racial residential segregation in the country.

Sampson, Robert J., and Patrick Sharkey. 2008. “Neighborhood Selection and the Social Reproduction of Concentrated Racial Inequality.” Demography 45:1-29. link. In many ways, this paper builds off of Quillian’s 2002 paper, but it examines a much wider set of neighborhood characteristics and uses different methodological techniques and focuses more explicitly on the ways in which African Americans are trapped in high-poverty neighborhoods. Their ultimate conclusion is that race, above and beyond other SES and neighborhood factors, tends to dominate why blacks end up in poorer neighborhoods than whites.

Schelling, Thomas C. 1971. “Dynamic models of segregation.” Journal of Mathematical Sociology 1:143-186. link. This is a famous paper that establishes the importance of understanding the dynamic nature of residential patterns and that rational moves based on integrative (or at least minimally segregationist) preferences can lead to segregated cities. It has fueled a great deal of research into complex systems and dynamic modeling outside of segregation research (cf. Granovetter), but has made a profound contribution on the field of segregation research.


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