(Un) Just Deserts: Race, Resource Scarcity, and Health in the Urban South

Fri, September 17, 2021 12:00 PM at

MSU Sociology Speaker Series is pleased to welcome Lacee A. Satcher, Boston College. Dr. Satcher is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Environmental Studies Program. Her research centers on the routes through which manifestations of structural and institutional '-isms' shape the health and well-being of marginalized groups. 

Lacee A. Satcherhttps://www.laceesatcher.com/

“(Un) Just Deserts: Race, Resource Scarcity, and Health in the Urban South"

Abstract: With concepts like structural racism and social determinants of health currently trending in both academic and public discourse, examining the nation’s resource “deserts”, their historical roots, and their consequences for health is increasingly timely. Drawing from an environmental justice framework, the current study provides an ecological analysis of the basis and consequences of spatial inequality across urban neighborhoods of the American South. Research on access to resources like grocery stores, parks, and pharmacies has been conducted in isolation, representing a gap in our understanding of this type of neighborhood spatial inequality. I argue that examining whether and how neighborhoods exist as deserts of multiple resources is important for revealing a more complex understanding of spatial inequality than observing single resources independently. As such, this study examines 1) how race and class shape resource scarcity in neighborhoods, and 2) how multiple resource scarcity shapes health outcomes. Findings from this work implicate a critical route through which racism shapes inequality and health, thereby demonstrating a need to address disproportionate access and subsequent racial health inequalities across socioeconomic status. Furthermore, the study highlights urban inequality in America’s southern cities, an under-researched region of the U.S. in this area of scholarship.

Local host: Tom Dietz