Presentations: Cairo (divided city)
12:09 PM **Study Guide Questions - see Portal for textbook readings)
- Essay proposal via Blackboard latest by Friday noon
Questions to Keep in Mind when reading Ethnographic texts
1) What is the overall goal of the text? Does the text have a central argument or is it primarily descriptive?
- case study style
- always have central argument
2) What is the research methodology?
- how did they go about doing their research?
- how did they collect data?
3) If there is a central argument, what other subsidiary arguments are developed? If it's primarily descriptive, what kinds of
arguments - implicit or explicit - are contained within the description?
- implicit or explicit
4) What is the data that is offered up (e.g. interview excerpts, photos, maps, personal narratives, archival documents, reference to
secondary literature, etc..)? How is the data used to build the author's argument, and how do the various types of data reinforce (or
contradict) each other?
- Do you have a diff interpretation?
- Describe not only the actions, events, and things witnessed, but also explain and interpret
5) Is the evidence adequate for the argument being made? Is the description "Thick" enough and representative enough?
- Interpreting description
- Understanding through interpretation / explanation
- Factual description + interpretation / meanings ("thick description")
6) How does the author establish ethnographic authority? How do they describe their positionality in the field? How do they represent
their informant's voices?
- Pay attention to the weight of the words of the participants and how they are presented to you (as the reader)
- How does ethnographer position themselves in the fieldwork?
Themes to cover: (textbook: "In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Bario")
- The culture of poverty
- Respect (what is it & how it works, how it is shown)
- Cultural & social capital
- Structure and agency (next week)
Point of the book
- Make these ignored population visible
- He wants us to confront the blameless participants
- Show the reality of social suffering of the people in East Harlem
"We don't know who these people are, we don't know how they survive and some of us are giving dollars and quarters and all of us are
wondering should we or should we not. We project whatever biases we have about the goodness or badness or neediness of people . I really
wanted to figure out whot hese people are and take them seriously as human beings, and learn how they live. That's what participant
observation field work in anthropology allows you to do - you suspend your moral judgement and you dive into the universe of the people you
want to sutyd to try to see the world through their eyes and wlak in their shoes as much as you can."
- Phillippe Bourgois
He really did an extreme life-style emersion
- Living like the homeless (on the streets)
- Talking to them as much as much as possible
- Made conscious choice to sleep on the street to feel how these homeless feel
- He argues - because the lack of trust people in the neighborhood has, with institutions and society, esp with the context of the illegal
activity they partake in, and he had to do participant-observation for the reason of lack of trust ..
○ People who do illegal activities like crack will not trust academics or people who are there to research them
○ Took a while to gain trust
- His initial intention was to study the underground economy (how people under the poverty line make a living and how they survive)
- People avoided giving data to the government, don't trust state, don't want to give honest answers scared of being caught
- Avoid heavily penalized
- Use statistics, and take away from the stats
- He doesn’t take the stats from face value
- Page 6
○ No official data exist
○ He looks at number of households who declare no wage and no salary income
○ He tries to understand the stats not what it is but what it may be inferring or implying
- Some households
How does Bourgois violate the apartheid (chapter 1)
- Apartheid = separation between groups / discrimination
- Slang and control they exhibit
Term 2 lectures Page 1 - Slang and control they exhibit
- He writes academics, but he also
- He violates by breaking the social norms - racism involved
○ The whites /blacks / Puerto Ricans agree that whites have no right in this area
○ Violation of the apartheid is breaking this social norm, making it seem like it is okay
- They can't believe that he belongs there
- Use of concept of 'Apartheid' - he frames his subjects as powerful and free
- He struggles with talking about relationship of structure and agency and too much weight to the power and structure with squashing free
- He represents himself as subject to the same kinds constraints
- He is powerless? He is a white, academic, and educated he is clearly someone who doesn't belong in that neighborhood
- He grew up near by
- He is worried about unnecessary exoticize what they are observing
○ He does exoticise it probl