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Studying Inner-City Social Dislocations: The Challenge of Public Agenda Research: 1990 Presidential Address

William Julius Wilson
American Sociological Review
Vol. 56, No. 1 (Feb., 1991), pp. 1-14
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095669
Page Count: 14
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Studying Inner-City Social Dislocations: The Challenge of Public Agenda Research: 1990 Presidential Address
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Abstract

Simplistic either/or notions of "culture versus social structure" have impeded the development of a broader theoretical context from which to examine questions raised by the continuing debate on the "ghetto underclass." In this paper I present a framework that integrates social structural and cultural arguments. I hope elaboration of this framework can move social scientists beyond the narrow confines of the underclass debate in two ways: (1) by outlining empirical and theoretical issues that guide further research, and (2) by suggesting variables that have to be taken into account to arrive at a satisfactory explanation of one of the most important domestic problems in the last quarter of the twentieth century--the rise of social dislocations in inner-city ghettos.

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