Organizations and the Governance of Urban Poverty

Posted: 14 Aug 2020

See all articles by Nicole P. Marwell

Nicole P. Marwell

University of Chicago

Shannon L. Morrissey

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: July 2020


Many recent sociological studies of urban poverty have drawn inspiration from the Chicago School model of social disorganization. Studies of urban poverty and formal organizations have been profoundly shaped by this theoretical perspective, casting organizations as components of neighborhoods and thus relevant for study as potential contributors to neighborhood social control. We argue that this approach obscures many ways in which formal organizations are involved in the production and management of urban poverty. In order to take advantage of the many insights offered by sociological studies of organizations, we propose that students of urban poverty expand their theoretical perspective on formal organizations. We develop such an approach, an amalgamation of key concepts from two existing theoretical frameworks rarely discussed in urban poverty studies: urban governance and strategic action fields This perspective offers new directions for research on urban poverty and urges greater integration with related studies from political science and geography.

Suggested Citation

Marwell, Nicole P. and Morrissey, Shannon L., Organizations and the Governance of Urban Poverty (July 2020). Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 46, pp. 233-250, 2020, Available at SSRN: or

Nicole P. Marwell (Contact Author)

University of Chicago ( email )

969 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Shannon L. Morrissey

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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