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Gang leader for a day : a rogue sociologist takes to the streets / Sudhir Venkatesh.

By: Venkatesh, Sudhir Alladi [author.].
Material type: TextTextPublisher: New York, New York : Penguin Press, 2008Description: xiv, 302 pages ; 22 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781594201509; 1594201501; 9780143114932; 014311493X.Subject(s): Gangs -- Illinois -- Chicago | African Americans -- Illinois -- Chicago | Sociology students -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Biography | Urban poor -- Research -- Illinois -- ChicagoDDC classification: 364.1/0660977311 Online resources: Table of contents
Contents:
Foreword / Stephen J Dubner -- Preface -- How does it feel to be black and poor? -- First days on Federal Street -- Someone to watch over me -- Gang leader for a day -- Ms Bailey's neighborhood -- Hustler and the hustled -- Black and blue -- Stay-together gang -- Author's note -- Acknowledgments -- Index.
Summary: The story of the young sociologist who studied a Chicago crack-dealing gang from the inside captured the world's attention when it was first described in Freakonomics. This is the full story of how Venkatesh managed to gain entrée into the gang, what he learned, and how his method revolutionized the academic establishment. When first-year grad student Venkatesh walked into one of Chicago's most notorious housing projects, he was looking for people to take a survey on urban poverty. He never imagined that he would befriend a gang leader and spend the better part of a decade inside the projects under his protection. He got to know the neighborhood dealers, crackheads, squatters, prostitutes, pimps, activists, cops, organizers, and officials. From his position of unprecedented access, he observed the gang as they operated their crack-selling business and rose or fell within the ranks of the gang's complex organizational structure.
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Book University of Texas At Tyler
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HV6439.U7 C46 2008 (Browse shelf) Available 0000002302354

Includes index.

Foreword / Stephen J Dubner -- Preface -- How does it feel to be black and poor? -- First days on Federal Street -- Someone to watch over me -- Gang leader for a day -- Ms Bailey's neighborhood -- Hustler and the hustled -- Black and blue -- Stay-together gang -- Author's note -- Acknowledgments -- Index.

The story of the young sociologist who studied a Chicago crack-dealing gang from the inside captured the world's attention when it was first described in Freakonomics. This is the full story of how Venkatesh managed to gain entrée into the gang, what he learned, and how his method revolutionized the academic establishment. When first-year grad student Venkatesh walked into one of Chicago's most notorious housing projects, he was looking for people to take a survey on urban poverty. He never imagined that he would befriend a gang leader and spend the better part of a decade inside the projects under his protection. He got to know the neighborhood dealers, crackheads, squatters, prostitutes, pimps, activists, cops, organizers, and officials. From his position of unprecedented access, he observed the gang as they operated their crack-selling business and rose or fell within the ranks of the gang's complex organizational structure.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

The grad student whose work with Chicago crack dealers was featured in Freakonomics has his own story to tell. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-As a young graduate student fresh off an extended stint following the Grateful Dead, Venkatesh began studying urban poverty. With a combination of an ethnographer's curiosity about another culture and some massive naivete, he gathered firsthand knowledge of the intricacies of Chicago's Robert Taylor projects. Early on, he met a megalomaniac gang leader known here as J.T., who became his mentor. Venkatesh observed and learned how the crack game works, and how many have their fingers in the pie and need life to remain the way it is. He observed violence, corruption, near homelessness, good cops, bad cops, and a lot of neglect and politics-as-usual. He made errors in judgment-it took a long time for his street smarts to catch up to his book smarts-but he tells the story in such a way as to allow readers to figure out his missteps as he did. Finally, as the projects began to come down, Venkatesh was able to demonstrate how something that seems positive is not actually good for everyone. The first line in his preface, "I woke up at about 7:30 a.m. in a crack den," reflects the prurient side of his studies, the first chapter title, "How does it feel to be black and poor?" reflects the theoretical side, and both work together in this well-rounded portrayal.-Jamie Watson, Harford County Public Library, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Author notes provided by Syndetics

<p> Sudhir Venkatesh is William B. Ransford Professor of Sociology at Columbia University in the City of New York. He is a researcher and writer on urban neighborhoods in the United States (New York, Chicago) and Paris, France. He is also a documentary film-maker. His most recent book is Gang Leader for a Day. In 2006 he also published Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor about illegal economies in Chicago. Off the Books received a Best Book Award from Slate.Com (2006) as well as the C. Wright Mills Award (2007). His first book, American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto (2000) explored life in Chicago public housing. <p> He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago. He was a Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows, Harvard University from 1996-1999. He is currently Director of the Center for Urban Research and Policy, and Director of the Charles H. Revson Fellowship Program, both at Columbia University. (Bowker Author Biography)

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