Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Brian C. Kelly

Committee Co-Chair

Michael Vuolo

Committee Member 1

Rachel L. Einwohner

Committee Member 2

Jack Spencer


The theory of collective efficacy highlights the importance of community members’ shared expectations for social control and their trust and cohesion with one another for predicting neighborhood variation in crime and other social outcomes. Researchers have found that neighborhood collective efficacy is largely stable over time and predicts future variation in crime and other social outcomes, independently of neighborhood social composition. An expansive body of quantitative research has made a very compelling case for the durability of collective efficacy as an important neighborhood process, but a number of questions remain regarding the social mechanisms by which it operates. This dissertation undertakes an ethnographic exploration of the determinants, processes, and consequences of neighborhood collective efficacy in Beverly - a highly efficacious, stably diverse, middle-class Chicago neighborhood. The findings from this study have contributed to the development of a model of collective efficacy and neighborhood stability. This model serves as roadmap for understanding how context, culture, individual agency, organizational support, and neighborhood resources are interrelated and operate to impact efficacy and ultimately collective action, with implications for neighborhood stability. Specifically, I find that collective efficacy reflects the interplay of neighborhood sociocultural milieu, social capital and neighborhood resources, and residents’ willingness to act. This neighborhood process is best understood as situated in local contexts and histories. Collective efficacy facilitates successful neighborhood collective action and ultimately, the ability of residents to maintain, or improve, their neighborhood conditions.