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The ANNALS: Our Bimonthly Journal of Research

Do Networks Help People to Manage Poverty? Perspectives from the Field
Special Editors: Miranda J. Lubbers, Hugo Valenzuela García, and Mario Luis Small
Vol. 689, May 2020

Social support networks can provide much-needed emotional, material, and financial help for people living in poverty, yet little is known about how social capital is created and augmented within such networks. Further, these networks can be eroded by sustained poverty, increasing the social exclusion and isolation that poor people already experience in other sectors of their lives.

In the May 2020 volume of The ANNALS, special editors Miranda J. Lubbers, Hugo Valenzuela García, and Mario Luis Small assemble an international group of scholars to examine the role of social networks in the day-to-day subsistence of families and individuals suffering economic hardship and analyze the many, highly complex ways in which networks are related to poverty. The volume presents studies that explore social ties and sharing networks, the organizations that foster them, the conditions that shape them or undermine them, and the ways in which networks are limited when their participants are under continuous or extreme economic pressure. Drawing upon new, fieldwork-based evidence, the volume suggests policies to strengthen and mobilize both the social support networks of vulnerable populations and the welfare systems on which the poor depend.

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Featured Fellow

Orlando Patterson

2003 Ernest W. Burgess Fellow

Orlando Patterson is the John Cowles Professor of Sociology at Harvard University. He received his B.Sc. in Economics from London University and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the London School of Economics. After faculty appointments at the London School of Economics and the University of the West Indies, he moved to Harvard University in 1969–70 and was appointed Professor the following year. Between 1971 and 1973 he was also the Allston Burr Senior Tutor of Leverett House.

Patterson’s academic interests include the culture and practices of freedom; the comparative study of slavery and ethno-racial relations; and the cultural sociology of poverty and underdevelopment with special reference to the Caribbean and African American youth.  He has also written on the cultural sociology of sports, especially the game of cricket. Patterson is the author of numerous academic papers and several major academic books, including Slavery and Social Death (1982); Freedom in the Making of Western Culture (1991); The Ordeal of Integration (1997); The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth (2015); and The Confounding Island: Jamaica and the Postcolonial Predicament (2019).

For eight years (1972–79), Patterson was Special Advisor for Social Policy and Development to Prime Minister Michael Manley of Jamaica.  He was a founding member of Cultural Survival, one of the leading advocacy groups for the rights of indigenous peoples, and was for several years a board member of Freedom House, a major civic organization for the promotion of freedom and democracy around the world.

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