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HV5810 .B68 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

Philippe Bourgois's ethnographic study of social marginalization in inner-city America, won critical acclaim when it was first published in 1995. 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--East Harlem. This new edition adds a prologue describing the major dynamics that have altered life on the streets of East Harlem in the seven years since the first edition. In a new epilogue Bourgois brings up to date the stories of the people--Primo, Caesat, Luis, Tony, Candy--who readers come to know in this remarkable window onto the world of the inner city drug trade. Philippe Bourgois is Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. He has conducted fieldwork in Central America on ethnicity and social unrest and is the author of Ethnicity at Work: Divided Labor on a Central American Banana Plantation (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989). He is writing a book on homeless heroin addicts in San Francisco. 1/e hb ISBN (1996) 0-521-43518-8 1/e pb ISBN (1996) 0-521-57460-9


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

During five years of research in East Harlem's Puerto Rican neighborhoods, San Francisco State University anthropologist Bourgois gathered material to paint an intimate, disturbing portrait of an alternate world in which the crack-dealing and -using minority dominates public space. Mixing long stretches of recorded dialogue with reportage and academic interpolations, Bourgois lays out the details and the logic behind his subjects' lives. Long noted for an immigrant underworld, East Harlem hosts dislocated ex-rural Puerto Ricans unwilling to conform to today's ``highly feminated'' work in the service economy and unable to find more autonomous factory work. They learn crime, including rape, at an early age, and street macho combined with unemployment contributes to violence against women and children. The author does not absolve his subjects of individual responsibility, but he compellingly concludes that drugs are more a symptom than the root of the problem: class and ethnic ``apartheid.'' In fact, he argues, decriminalizing drugs would make them less accessible because street-corner sales would no longer be profitable. Photos. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Choice Review

Bourgois spent nearly four years in an East Harlem neighborhood, where he gained the confidence of street-level drug dealers. His book is a vivid chronicle of crack-house society and barrio street culture. Bourgois offers sensitive insights into the lives of his subjects without sanitizing their brutality and violence. Dealers--largely offspring of Puerto Rican immigrants--recount dispiriting experiences of discrimination and dead-end, poorly paid jobs in the legal job market. Even as the drug dealers and street criminals are shown in these pages to be caught in a downward spiral of crime, violence, and poverty, they are also depicted, and depict themselves, as followers of an "American dream" of upward mobility--rugged individuals pursuing careers and fortunes as private entrepreneurs. This book does three things well: it presents a superbly written ethnography; makes a sound theoretical contribution to the study of the relationship between social-structural constraints and individual behavior; and advances cogent public policy recommendations, not simplistic solutions, for confronting inner-city poverty and substance abuse. Upper-division undergraduates and above. E. Wellin; University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee


Table of Contents

Preface to the 2001 second edition
Introduction
1 Violating a Partheid in the United States
2 A street history of El Barrio
3 Crackhouse management: addiction, discipline, and dignity
4 'Goin' legit': disrespect and resistance at work
5 School days: learning to be a better criminal
6 Redrawing the gender line on the street
7 Families and children in pain
8 Vulnerable fathers
9 Conclusion;
Epilogue 2001