Mazelis specializes in the study of urban poverty and social support, using qualitative interview methods to explore the meaning and understanding people have of their own situations. Her work focuses on rising inequality, the power of American individualism in perceptions about poor people, the erosion of the public safety net and the importance of the private safety net, and how people both build and avoid social ties with others. She is an affiliated scholar at the Center for Urban Research and Education at Rutgers University-Camden.
No Jargon Podcast
In the News
Examines the experiences of people living below the poverty level, looking at the tension between social isolation and social ties among the poor to explore how they survive and the benefits they gain by being connected to one another. Studies participants, half of whom are members of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, a distinctive organization that brings poor people together in the struggle to survive and helps members create mutually supportive relationships that last for years, even decades, contrasting dramatically with the experiences of participants without such affiliation.
Discusses how the norms of reciprocity partially govern social support behavior, particularly in the context of an organization requiring participation in an exchange network. Examines how reciprocity fosters social capital for those who fulfill norms of reciprocity and hinder social capital for those who violate them.