A Brave Look at Disadvantage, Black Youth, and Culture: Patterson and Fosse’s The Cultural Matrix

Alexander, Victoria D.. 2016. A Brave Look at Disadvantage, Black Youth, and Culture: Patterson and Fosse’s The Cultural Matrix. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 39(8), pp. 1419-1425. ISSN 0141-9870 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article provides a review of The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth, edited by Orlando Patterson with Ethan Fosse (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 2015. ISBN: 978-0-674-72875-2, cloth, £33.95). In the collection, Patterson and Fosse bring together theoretical and empirical work that focuses on culture and disadvantage in the African-American community. This book is important. It is packed with fresh insights and excellent scholarship, and it grasps thorny issues: the role of culture in the persistence of disadvantage and the features of culture that ameliorate disadvantage or that allow people to resist, reduce, or manage its concomitants, such as neighbourhood violence. The book’s authors offer careful, nuanced treatments of these topics, while always showing a profound respect for the disadvantaged subjects of the research. However, in bringing together concepts of ‘culture’ and ‘poverty’, the book is also likely to spark debate.

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Identification Number (DOI):



African-American, black youth, culture, poverty, barriers to social mobility, disadvantaged neighbourhoods

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship (ICCE)


13 May 2016Published
9 February 2016Accepted
15 November 2015Submitted

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Date Deposited:

12 Jul 2017 11:40

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:28

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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