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In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio (1995)
by Philippe Bourgois
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I found the introduction wayyy to long. Over all I found the book to be very insightful and informative.l ( )
This is an incredibly well written ethnography, it's very accessible and could be read by anyone. Really illustrates the problems of people in ghettoised areas, with restricted access to the job market and a stigma attached to them.
After reading that excerpt in my anthropology class lo these many years ago, about Bourgois's confrontation with the crack dealer Ray, I admit I thought of this book as exotic - a travel narrative, a (sympathetic) "your correspondent among the Hottentots". Reading it, though, feels like peeling off a scab in a sense - takes you back to the old wounds of youth, which it feels good to expose to the air. In other words, Bourgois does us a great service in reminding us that East Harlem, for all its particularity, is also just like Esquimalt, or wherever you grew up, only with more institutionalized racism and the inequities of American late capitalism to boot. Are they damaged people? Sure, but so are we all. There's a wealth of ethnographic and sociological information here, and there's also a lesson: These are your friends and neighbours, or if they're not, it's probably because you're profiting off their exploitation somewhere along the line, intentionally or unintentionally. Love them.
A good argument for structure over agency and depressing too, but that's all, with no good conclusion or lasting impression.
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Wikipedia in English (1)
In Search of Respect, Philippe Bourgois's now-classic, ethnographic study of social marginalization in inner-city America, won critical acclaim after it was first published in 1995 and in 1997 was awarded the Margaret Mead Award. For the first time, an anthropologist had managed to gain the trust and long-term friendship of street-level drug dealers in one of the roughest ghetto neighborhoods in the United States - East Harlem. This edition adds a prologue describing the major dynamics in America that have altered life on the streets of East Harlem in the six years since the first edition. Bourgois, in a new epilogue, brings up to date the stories of the people - Primo, Caesar, Luis, Tony, Candy - who readers come to know in this remarkable window onto the world of the inner-city drug trade.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)363.45097471 — Social sciences Social problems and services; associations Other social problems and services Drugs, Abortion, Pornography Illegal drugs Illegal drugs - subdivisions Illegal drugs - by place
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