Jenny Lendrum

Jenny Lendrum

PhD Candidate
King-Chavez-Parks Fellow

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

Curriculum vitae


Jenny Lendrum



Research interest(s)/area of expertise

  • Poverty & Inequality
    Urban Sociology
    Sociology of Space
    Neighborhoods & Community
    Work & Organizations 
    Race & Ethnicity 
    Sociology of Gender



 My ethnographic research examines the current economic, social, and spatial state of Detroit and explores economic activities and survival strategies utilized by residents in one of Detroit’s poorest neighborhood asking the question, how are Detroiters getting by? In recent years, the city of Detroit, once emblematic of decades of abandonment and disinvestment, has made headlines for its revitalization efforts. Yet, many of the neighborhoods continue to struggle, leaving residents economically and socially isolated.

My dissertation, Reconceptualizing Getting by: The Role of the Neighborhood and Social Networks in Detroit, draws on extensive field research conducted from 2014 to 2017. I ask several questions: How are women and families surviving in response to cuts in public service provision, capital flight, and the retrenchment of redistributive mechanisms? How, when traditional work disappears, do residents meet the economic requirements for and build the social fabric of daily life and reproduction? How are residents eking out a living in a largely cash-poor and otherwise resource-poor local economy?

Through my research, I examine how residents in these communities cope with the everyday tasks of survival. My main findings reveal: 1) the diversity of economic and social income-generating activities and income-packaging strategies; 2) the nature and the extent of exchange activities; 3) how gender shapes opportunities and barriers for economic activities and participation; and more broadly, 4) the nuanced ways in which families manage the day-to-day tasks for getting by.

I offer a broader framework which captures life disconnected from the welfare state and the labor market. It illuminates the salience of participation in alternative activities and strategies to get by or get ahead and offers a more complete understanding of these complex and hidden economic and social strategies.


Awards and grants

  • 2018/19 King-Chavez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship. Wayne State University, Graduate School.

    2018  Frank E. Hartung Memorial Award. Wayne State University, Department of Sociology.

    2018 Summer Dissertation Award. Wayne State University, Graduate School.

    2017/18 King-Chavez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship. Wayne State University, Graduate School.

    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. 2018. “Motivations, Limitations, & Guilt: Women who Marathon.” Critical Perspectives on Gender and Sport. Champaign, IL: Common Ground Publishing. Editor: Curtis Fogel. Invited reprint. DOI:

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.