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The Social World of Female-Headed Black Families: A Study of Quality of Life in a Marginalized Neighborhood1

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This paper explores the social world of female-headed black families residing in a marginalized neighborhood in a mid-western state capital in the United States. The social world is construed to consist of respondents' perceptions of both subjective and inter-subjective dimensions of quality of life as well as their fears, hopes and aspirations. An instrument to elicit these perceptions was administered to a sample of one hundred females in face-to-face interviews. The research findings reveal a harsh neighborhood marked by violence, crime and drug-trafficking initiated largely by forces from outside. Despite these constraints, the residents recount the many gratifying moments and relationships of their lives and extol self-reliance as a means to improving the quality of their lives. The research brings out a convergence of values, aspirations and concerns on a number of facets of life between these families and mainstream America.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Illinois at Springfield, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9243, U.S.A.; 2: Department of Political Studies, University of Illinois at Springfield, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9243, U.S.A.


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