Analyse & Kritik
Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory
Ed. by Baurmann, Michael / Leist, Anton / Tranow, Ulf
2 Issues per year
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The study of neighbourhood effects has become a major domain in urban research since the publication of Wilson’s book The Truly Disadvantaged in 1987. It is estimated that more than 1,800 articles have been published (van Ham et al. 2012). One of the problems well-known from multilevel analysis is that of specifying the context effects linking levels, e.g., conditions on the aggregate level to outcomes at the next lower level, individuals in most cases. Two problems seem insufficiently solved. First., many different context effects have been suggested, such as contagion, role models or discrimination: but it is questionable whether they are all relevant. Second, how exactly can the transition from the macro (e.g., neighbourhood) to the micro (e.g., individual) level be specified? The article addresses both problems by examining the assumptions underlying the effects. Differentiating between causes and outcomes, the diversity of effects is reduced to five types of effects. Mechanisms are defined as specifications of context effects, and for each type a mechanism is specified and the causes are related to the outcomes. Drawing on the results of the analyses, a detailed set of suggestions for future studies of neighbourhood effects that really capture the mechanisms is presented.