By Joan Maya Mazelis. This work is a careful examination of the experiences of those living below the poverty level, and particularly looks at the tension between social isolation and social ties among the poor. Mazelis draws on in-depth interviews with the poor in Philadelphia to explore how they survive and the benefits they gain by being connected to one another. Half of the study participants are members of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, a distinctive organization that brings poor people together in the struggle to survive. The mutually supportive relationships the members create, which last for years, even decades, contrast dramatically with the experiences of participants without such affiliation. NYU Press (2017), English, 304 pages.
In interviews, participants discuss their struggles and hardships, and their responses highlight the importance of cultivating relationships among people living in poverty. Surviving Poverty documents the ways in which social ties become beneficial and sustainable, allowing members to share their skills and resources and providing those living in similar situations a space to unite and speak collectively to the growing and deepening poverty in the United States.
About the Author
Joan Maya Mazelis is Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice at Rutgers University, Camden, and an affiliated scholar at Rutgers-Camden’s Center for Urban Research and Education.