Title page for ETD etd-05282010-131630

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Brown, Timothy C.
Author's Email Address tbrown9@tigers.lsu.edu
URN etd-05282010-131630
Title Social Change, Social Capital, and Civic Community: A Qualitative Study of the Long-Term Effects of Industrial Restructuring on a Coastal Community
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bankston, William B. Committee Chair
Lee, Matthew R. Committee Member
Shihadeh, Edward S. Committee Member
Shrum, Wesley M. Committee Member
Lemieux, Catherine M. Dean's Representative
  • qualitative methodology
  • social change
  • social capital
  • civic community
  • fear of crime
  • Gulf oil industry
Date of Defense 2010-03-22
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation examines the link between economic restructuring and patterns of social capital and social control. Although social capital literature frequently examines the consequences of social capital on a variety of outcomes, the key theoretical contribution of my dissertation is a framework to explain how community structure conditions social relations among local residents. Specifically, I examine the effects of changes in economic structure on social capital. Using nine South Louisiana community case studies, I evaluate the effect of restructuring in the offshore oil industry on the development of weak ties among local residents. My central finding is that population turnover and the in-migration of workers demanded by a rapidly expanding economy enhances the density of weak tie networks within the community. This is important because weak ties have been shown to have negative impacts on crime since they serve as a foundation for exerting social control over community members engaging in collective problem solving activity. My research underscores how growing communities can better accommodate a growing population. I demonstrate that the presence of voluntary associations (Rotary, Lionís, and Elkís Clubs) help integrate newcomers and mitigate the negative effects of population turnover. This is in sharp contrast to social disorganization theory that posits a negative effect of population change whereby in-migration dilutes ties among community members and results in higher rates of criminal activity.
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