Vying for the Urban Poor: Charitable Organizations, Faith-Based Social Capital, and Racial Reconciliation in a Deep South City

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Abstract

In this article the mobilization of social capital is examined as it relates to the formation of collaborative partnerships among charitable organizations. It is argued that social capital, expressed through social ties and mutual trust, forms the foundation for such partnerships. Specifically, collaborative activities built upon religiously based social capital mobilized among charitable organizations are focused upon in this study. The extensive role of such social capital, combined with the historical context of the research setting, overshadows alternative forms of social capital that might be accessed for neighborhood revitalization, particularly social capital based on race. Consequently, this article’s findings suggest that a color-blind approach to racial reconciliation has emerged among charitable organizations in conjunction with the hegemonic role of religiously based social capital in this local context. The unique nature of this outcome is significant because it emphasizes the impact of local context on the manner in which social capital is mobilized within localized networks.

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