Wilson, Julius: "When Work Disappears" (pdf)

Week 4: Response to William Julius Wilson's "From Institutional to Jobless Ghettos"
With his topic of race and urban poverty chosen, Wilson has his work cut out for him. Although few readers would disagree that 40% unemployment is a problem, Wilson manages to walk the line between first-person accounts and data, explaining a complex system to his readers in a way that forces them to engage with an uncomfortable issue.
For such an important, urgent, and socially charged issue, I was surprised to realize that the first-person accounts of the shift in unemployment that lead Wilson's piece were some of the first I had read in any form. Almost anyone would agree at least on the fact that a problem exists, yet without this human story present, it becomes all too easy to intellectualize poverty to the point of dehumanizing it. With his reader on board, Wilson turns to thoughtfully-chosen data to make his points, teasing apart the related, yet distinct factors of segregation, poverty, unemployment, depopulation, and social organization problems. In doing so, the picture given looks understandably bleak, yet only with the acknowledgment of both the human element of this crisis, as well as the tangled factors that must be approached subtly and individually, is there any hope for improvement.

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This page contains a single entry by published on December 16, 2010 12:59 PM.

Stout, Frederic: "Visions of a New Reality" was the previous entry in this blog.

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