Neighbourhood Organizations and the Welfare State


387 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-7392-1
DDC 361.8'09711'33




Reviewed by Christine Hughes

Christine Hughes is a policy analyst at the Ontario Native Affairs


This comparative historical study of inner-city neighbourhoods in
Vancouver and Jerusalem addresses the two principal themes of the
diversity of neighbourhood organizations through time and their evolving
relationships with the state. The authors argue that Vancouver and
Jerusalem are well suited to comparison: both are young, emerging
welfare states, as well as highly pluralist societies built upon a
liberal democracy and market economy.

The book is divided into four main parts, each consisting of two linked
chapters profiling a neighbourhood organization in each city. The
neighbourhoods are grouped according to the authors’ fourfold generic
typology of neighbourhoods, based on their status as elite districts;
districts of ethno-racial marginality; poverty districts; or districts
undergoing social change (e.g., gentrification). The neighbourhood
organizations under discussion in the book include ratepayers’
associations, racial and ethnic organizations, grassroots groups, and
organizations characterized by co-production or protest. Using a
case-study approach to their research on community political
organizations, Hasson and Ley intend (i) to uncover the nature of
different neighbourhood organizations; (ii) to identity the processes
through which they were established; (iii) to assess their significance
in shaping urban life; and (iv) to analyze their relationship with
different agents and levels of the state.

In compiling the case studies, the authors engaged in participant
observation, in-depth interviews with representatives of the state and
local neighbourhood organizations, and analysis of relevant documents
and written reports. The case studies are drawn together by a
comprehensive, well-researched introductory chapter, brief forewords to
each of the four

parts, and a concluding chapter that theorizes on the authors’
findings in the preceding cases. There is an exhaustive list of
references. Those with an interest in community planning, urban studies,
and political or social science should consider adding this book to
their library.


Hasson, Shlomo, and David Ley., “Neighbourhood Organizations and the Welfare State,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 7, 2023,