Meta-ethnography, social capital, economic security, financial stress


This paper is a meta-ethnography of four low-income communities in order to explore fringe economic behaviors. Rejecting the interpretation of fringe economic behaviors as irrational, we affirm these behaviors as viable alternatives for people marginalized in the mainstream economy. Using a meta-ethnographic method and employing the concepts of sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, we identify the habitus and social capital values of each community as distinct Bourdieusian fields and conclude that an awareness of the localized development of a fringe economic cluster with distinct goals and rules undermines one-size-fits-all social welfare programs.

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