ERIC Number: ED256836
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Afro-American Urban Life: New Directions for Research.
Jones, Yvonne V.
Most theories on the low socioeconomic status of Blacks have been grounded in sociology and economics, have concentrated on largely quantitative data on occupation and income distribution among Blacks and between Blacks and Whites, and have presented a disfunctional picture of Black economic life. It is time now to turn to anthropological studies of the economic life of Black urban communities. To date, the colonial model of such communities postulated by political scientists has been pervasive. The colonial model focuses on the economic role of Blacks as neighborhood-bound cheap laborers and consumers rather than producers and distributors. As in other theories, the absence of a class of Black entrepreneurs is compared unfavorably with the growth of such a class among other ethnic groups (the ethnic enterprise model). Preliminary data collected in a survey of an inner-city Black neighborhood, however, casts doubt on the usual assumptions about Black economic life. First, suburbanization and other processes have made the ethnic enterprise model obsolete as a way of understanding Black businesses. Second, although most of the businesses surveyed rely on a local or even a neighborhood consumer market, the marketing networks of some businesses extend well outside the area, bringing into question the validity of a colonial model of cash-flow transactions. And finally, analysis of the data indicates an adaptive rather than a disfunctional model of Black economic life. (CMG)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented to Central States Anthropological Society (April 24-27, 1985).