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Title:Ties That Bind: The Informal Social Networks of Rural African-American Mobile -Home Park Families
Author(s):Eley, Michelle Lynn
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Salamon, Sonya
Department / Program:Human and Community Development
Discipline:Human and Community Development
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, Individual and Family Studies
Abstract:Mobile-home parks represent a relatively new, but increasingly common community form for the nation and the South, in particular. For rural African-Americans families of modest means, mobile homes are an affordable option for achieving homeownership. While homeownership should be an asset-building choice for lower-income households, mobile homes, especially those on rented land, are poor investments due to depreciating property values, high interest rates and long tenure for mortgage loans. Park families are also stretched thin because most adults either work in rural low-wage jobs, are unemployed or employed, but not making full use of their skills (underemployed). Given their precarious financial situation, compounded with the economic reality of manufactured housing, this study seeks to understand whether being embedded in kin, church, and neighborhood networks provide access to sustained social and economic resources for rural African-American mobile-home park families. These networks help households who struggle to meet their monthly financial obligations and incurred debt from homeownership. Using a triangular research design, ethnographic data were obtained through park surveys, intensive interviews and participant observation. Findings reveal that resources acquired through the overlapping networks of kin, church, and park neighborhood make a tremendous difference to park families because it helps them to manage and pull together more resources than they otherwise would not have. Additionally, network support also provides a degree of predictability, in knowing that assistance will be extended when it is needed in times of stress and crises. Those park families who maximize their social networks are doing better.
Issue Date:2005
Description:178 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3182258
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2005

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