Jenny Lendrum

Jenny Lendrum

PhD Candidate
Thomas C. Rumble Fellow

Department of Sociology
Wayne State University
2262 Faculty Administration Building
656 W. Kirby
Detroit, Michigan 48202 USA

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Jenny Lendrum

Research Interest/Area of Expertise

  • Social Networks
    Urban Spaces
    Neighborhoods & Community
    Social Inequality & Stratification
    Sociology of Gender
    Labor, Informal Economy



The state of Michigan and the city of Detroit leave few opportunities for residents. How do Detroiters get by in a city with poor municipal services, no public transportation system to speak of, inadequate housing, and few jobs in the mainstream economy? They rely on skills learned in past jobs such as the automotive industry or food services and adapt them in creative ways to support their families; they depend on social networks cultivated and maintained in public spaces such as churches and pantries; and they utilize public spaces such as parking lots and street corners to facilitate transactions and other informal activities. 

My dissertation seeks to understand how mechanisms such as social networks (formal and informal) and neighborhood spaces (public and private) shape opportunities (and barriers) to operate in the informal or underground economy. It reveals complex though ephemeral exchange strategies including barters and trades. It also reveals the diversity of the survival strategies used to make cash in a city that is largely devoid of resources and hope. 

Findings comes from ethnographic data collected between 2014-2017 through observations, semi-structured formal and informal interviews, and neighborhood mapping. 

Awards and Grants

  • 2017/18 King-Chavez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship.

    2017/18 Thomas C. Rumble University Graduate Fellowship. Wayne State University, Department of Sociology.

    2016/17 Thomas C. Rumble University Graduate Fellowship. Wayne State University, Department of Sociology.

    2015 Graduate Scholar Award – International Conference on Sport and Society. Toronto, Canada.

    2014 Outstanding Thesis Award – Wayne State University “Black & White Running Bodies: Masculinity, Muscularity & Femininity”.

Selected Publications

Lendrum, Jenny & Sarah Swider. July, 2017. “Gendered networks and spatial arrangements of informal entrepreneurial activities in a Detroit neighbourhood.” Entrepreneurial Neighbourhoods: Towards an Understanding of the Economies of Neighbourhoods and Communities. Elward Elgar Publishers (EEP). Editors: Maarten van Ham, Darja Reuschke, Reinout Kleinhans, Stephen Syrett and Colin Mason.

Lendrum, Jenny. 2015. “Motivations, Limitations, & Guilt: Women who Marathon.” Journal of Sporting Cultures and Identities. 6(3):1-12.