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“Don’t put my name on it”: Social Capital Activation and Job‐Finding Assistance among the Black Urban Poor1

University of California, Berkeley

From a social capital theoretical perspective, deficiencies in access to mainstream ties and institutions explain persistent joblessness among the black urban poor. Little problematized, however, is the extent to which access leads to mobilization and the social context within which social capital activation occurs. Employing in‐depth interviews of 105 low‐income African‐Americans, this work advances the literature in two ways. First, it suggests that what we have come to view as deficiencies in access among the black urban poor may have more to do with functional deficiencies of their job referral networks. Second, the findings from this study lay the groundwork for a single, multilevel conceptual framework within which to understand social capital activation, a framework that takes into consideration properties of the individuals, dyads, and communities of residence.