Joseph Wallerstein

Joseph Wallerstein

Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology
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Joseph's dissertation asks how nonprofit homeless shelters, missions, and like-minded agencies react to major service disruptions. Using the novel coronavirus pandemic as a focal case of disruption, it draws on two rounds of semi-structured interviews, conducted approximately one year apart (April–June 2020 and April–September 2021), with staff members from nonprofits in more than 60 different cities across the United States. A primary goal of capturing geographic variation in the interview sample is to better understand place-based differences in the robustness and resilience of the U.S.’s efforts at social service provision, which the federal government has, in large part, handed down to municipal governments and private organizations. These differences would likely matter during any large-scale service disruption or unexpected crisis, and they can help us better understand the fragmented (state-by-state, city-by-city, and so on) nature of American welfare. The findings from the study should also help social scientists better understand the networks of relationships within and between organizations that shape urban poverty management, contributing to critically important discourses around nonprofits and the governance of homelessness, nonprofits and organizational networks in their spatial contexts, and the social, political, and structural bases of poverty and charity.

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