On March 1st, the Urban Workshop welcomes UChicago Sociology alum and Assistant Professor at St. Olaf College, David Schalliol. Schalliol will be presenting his emerging research in "Neighborhood Organizing Without an Organization: How Public Traumas Influence Community Cohesion and Support"
Contemporary research about social control in neighborhood communities emphasizes how organizations facilitate order maintenance through processes as varied as stability and social bridging. Still, many disadvantaged communities have few such organizations but nevertheless provide support beyond kith and kin networks. In the absence of such organizations, how do communities generate social integration and support? In order to address this question, this paper draws from more than three years of ethnographic study of a South Side Chicago neighborhood that possesses few locally-based organizations but exhibits surprisingly high levels of problem-solving activities. I argue that this paradox is explained by informal social events that contribute to local social control by facilitating social integration, and ultimately, community engagement. Specifically, the social scenes surrounding public traumas, sites of violence experienced as an assault on a coherent community, provide important opportunities to bridge otherwise divided neighborhood social groups in moments of heightened collective awareness. In so doing, these scenes facilitate the development of a special kind of weak tie that can be activated to address local problems.
David Schalliol is an assistant professor of sociology at St. Olaf College who is interested in issues of social stratification and meaning in the social and physical worlds. His writing and photographs have appeared in such publications as Social Science Research, Places and The New York Times, as well as in numerous exhibitions, including the inaugural Belfast Photo Festival and the Museum of Contemporary Photography's Midwest Photographers Project. Schalliol contributed to "Highrise: Out My Window," an interactive documentary that won the 2011 International Digital Emmy for Non-Fiction. His book, Isolated Building Studies, was published by Utakatado in 2014.