Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 3-28-2023


Prior research examining political behavior outside of the United States, has shown that violence can have a mixed impact on political engagement. Building on that work, this research examines whether violence shapes the political lives of poor Black women within the United States. I argue, neighborhood violence in the United States can and often does, shape the political behavior of Black women living below the poverty line in public housing. I use ethnographic data to parse out a conceptual framework which articulates connections between residential violence experienced by Black women living in poverty and their politics. Ultimately, my analysis shows violence can cause isolation and harm, and in doing so dampen political engagement. When residents experienced high levels of violence and did not feel a sense of belonging or connection to their neighborhood, they rarely engaged in visible political behaviors. However, residents who expressed a sense of connection to their neighborhood continued to engage in politics. Those residents who had interpersonal relationships within their residential neighborhood, frequently maintained and sometimes further developed their individual politics, despite and sometimes in response to, personal experiences with residential violence.





This article was originally published in Urban Affairs Review.


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