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In search of respect

20 Pages
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University of Toronto Scarborough
Maggie Cummings

In Search of Respect Introduction - Bourgois forced into crack - Looking for an inexpensive apartment - wanted to write book on the experiences of poverty and ethnic segregation in the heart of one of the most expensive cities in the world - thought drug themes was one of the main things he would explore - original subject was the entire underground licensed off-track betting and drug- dealing - people didnt know what cocaine was when he first arrived because it was not available as a mass-marketed product - by the end however a lot of people knew about it - heroin has rejoined crack and cocaine as a primary drug of choice available in the inner city as international suppliers of heroin have regained their lost market share of substance abuse by lowering their prices and increasing the quality of their product The Underground Economy - book not about crack or drugs - substance abuse is just a symbol of deeper social marginalization and alienation - according to the statistics Burgoises neighbors should be dressed in rags and homeless - most local residents are adequately dressed and reasonably healthy - why should people take the subway downtown to work minimum wage in downtown offices when they can sell drugs in their street corners in front of their apartment or school yard - because fewer households than individuals are missed by the Census in urban settings, one possible measure for the size of the underground economy is the figure got households that declare no wage or salary income - this provides only the roughest comparative measure for the size of the underground economy in different neighborhoods because some households survive exclusively on retirement - this figure only measures drug dealing even more tenuously since many rely on the untaxed economy for supplemental income Street Culture: Resistance and Self Destruction - street culture offers an alternative forum for autonomous personal dignity - street culture has emerged as an oppositional style - although street culture emerges out of a personal search for dignity and a rejection of racism and subjugation it ultimately becomes an active agent in personal degradation and community ruin - most El-Barrio residents have nothing to do with drugs - the drug dealers in this book represent a small minority of East Harlemites but they have managed to set the tone for public life - street-level drug dealers offer a persuasive, even if violent and self-destructive, alternative lifestyle to the youths growing up around them 1 - the extreme response to poverty and segregation that the dealers and addicts in this book represent, afford insight into processes that may be experienced in one form or another by major sectors of vulnerable population experiencing rapid structural change in the context of political and ideological oppression Ethnographic Methods and Negative Stereotyping - hopes to restore the agency of culture, the autonomy of individuals, and the centrality of gender and the domestic sphere to a political economic understanding of the experience of persistent poverty and social marginalization of the United States - individuals who have been marginalized socially, economically, and culturally have had negative relationships with mainstream society - even honest citizens for example, regularly engage in underground economy practices when they finesse their deductions on income tax returns - Cultures are never good or bad, they have an internal logic. Suffering is usually hideous, it is a solvent of human integrity, and ethnographers never want to make the people they study look ugly Critiquing the Culture of Poverty - bourgeoiss feels that it is imperative from a personal and ethical perspective, as well as from an analytical and a theoretical one to explain the horrors that he witnessed from a personal and an ethnical perspective Chapter 1: Violating Apartheid in the United States - research almost came to an end when he disrespected Ray Learning Street Smarts - Ray was having a good time with his friends, acquaintances and it was rare to catch him this happy - Ray and Burgouise were close, Ray had told him about his stickup artist past, and because in the party Ray had just made a point of buying Burgoise a Heineken instead of the cheaper Budweiser that everyone else received - Burgouise thought it would be a good moment and it would impress everyone if he shared a photograph of him on the newspaper standing next to Phil Donahue following a prime-time television debate on violent crimes in East Harlem - He wanted to show that picture because some of Rays most closest men thought that he was an imposter, pretending to be a stuck up professor, and some thought he was a narcotics agent on a long-term undercover assignment - Basically burgouise stuffed the paper into Rays face and told him to read the caption, and Ray cant read - He got very upset and swore at everyone and said he didnt care about any of this shit - Primo turned to him and said you dissed the fat nigga The Parameter of Violence, Power, and Generosity 2 - Ray had taught Primo how to steal car radios and burglarize downtown businesses. - Primo told burgoise that Ray will not be okay he is respected on the streets, people know him, he was wild when he was a kid .On the streets that means respect. So, Burgoise asked him if he was scared of Ray, and Primo admitted he has been scared of Ray. He told him stories of childhood terror that Ray inflicted on him. - Rays ruthlessness and cruelty were an integral part of his effectiveness at running his networks and crackhouses smoothly - Behavior that appears irrationally violent, barbaric, and ultimately self-destructive to the outsider can be can be reinterpreted ones human capital development - Caesar is Primos best friend and he works as the lookout in the gameroom. - Primo and Caesar explained to Burgoise that its not good to be sweet sometimes to people because they are going to take advantage of you. You have to be a nice and sweet person in real life but you got to have a little meanness in you and play street. You cant allow people to push you around because otherwise people think youre a punk and thats the whole point to make people believe your cool so that nobody bothers you - After that Burgouise tried to keep a low profile, and not encounter Ray. Ray had told Primo that he had a dream that Burgouise was part of the FBI. Everyone took these symbolic warnings seriously because dreams have a powerful significance in Puerto Rican culture - Rays followers did not remain loyal to him solely out of fear and violence, some of the older network members of his network genuinely liked him. He was capable of reciprocating friendship. The Barriers of Cultural Capital - Ray expected Burgoise to serve as his cultural broker to the outsider world, ultimately demanding that he help him launder his money - He wanted bugoises help him in all the bureaucratic hoops that kept him from operating as a legal entrapaneur. - Burguiose was careful not to offend Ray and always found excuses to avoid unwittingly becoming a facilitator to his money-laundering schemes, which inevitably failed miserably as soon as he encountered institutionalized bureaucracies or any kind of formal paperwork Confronting Race, Class, and Politics - Burgoises accent made police officers think he was making fun of them, or putting on airs when he spoke politely to them in complete sentences. When he sounded polite he risked offending them Racism and the Culture of Terror - everyone in El-Barrio is conscious of the real possibility of assault - Michael Taussigs term: culture of terror to convey the widespread violence on a vulnerable society 3 - Spanish Harlem is a consequence of the culture of terror dynamic is to silence the peaceful majority of the population who reside in the neighbourhood. They isolate themselves from the community and grow to hate those who participate in the street culture sometimes dynamic mandates distrust of ones neighbor - In order to have a successful ethnography, Burgoise had to be relaxed and enjoy himself on the street. Internalizing Institutionalized Violence - judges in Manhattan never send people to jail for the first time for selling or buying small quantities of drugs after being arrested Accessing the Game Room Crack House - burgouise refused to sniff cocaine when he was with Primo and Benzie and they ended up telling him that they were thrilled to be hanging out with such good people who did not sniff. Primo always liked to have conversations with Burgoise because he was an actual live representative of drug free live America - burgouise started to hang out with people at the Game Room crackhouse chattin
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