CRIM 3652 Study Guide - Final Guide: Gang Leader, Ethnography, Ethnic Group

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Ethnographies of Crime and Policing CRIM 3652
- Ethnography
o The systematic study of people and culture
o It is designed to explore cultural phenomena where the researcher observes
society from the point of view of the subject of study
o A means to represent graphically and in writing the culture of a group
- The word ethnography is derived from the Greek word “ethnos” meaning “a nation” and
“graphy” meaning “writing”
- Field-based qualitative research
- Personalized research that requires a long-term commitment
- Appreciate a social world from another individual’s point of view
- The results of ethnographic research often are regarded as unreliable and lacking in
validity and generalizability (LeCompte & Goetz, 1982)
- Since unique situations cannot be reconstructed precisely, even the most exact replication
of research methods may fail to produce identical results; human behaviour is never static
(LeCompte & Goetz, 1982)
- The codification of ethnographic research methods represents an effort to ensure that
researchers gather data carefully, thoroughly, and in a way that is understandable to
others so that it can be replicated by other researchers (LeCompte & Schensul, 1999)
- Using the research to solve problems or help bring about positive change in institutions or
communities (LeCompte & Schensul, 1999)
- In ethnographic research, gaining trust is sometimes referred to as building rapport
(LeCompte & Schensul, 1999)
- Theorizing at 3 levels:
o Micro theory
Individual social psychology
E.g. Sudhir focusing on a biography of JT at the beginning of the novel
o Meso theory
The sociology of the group, organization, or institution
The study of intermediate social forces and stratification such as income,
age, gender, race, ethnicity, organizations and geographically restricted
communities
E.g. Sudhir changed the focus of his research looking at many gang
members and tenants
E.g. community Robert Taylor was perceived to be crime riddled and
characterized by violence, Sudhir was able to see the sense of trust and
community, was invited to Ms. May’s home, taking care of the abandoned
daughter shows the deep-seeded empathy and sense of community
o Macro theory
The social structure of capitalism, patriarchy, racism, etc.
Need supplementary research to get to this level
E.g. relate Gang Leader for a Day to interactions with the police and
“poor/crime ridden” communities like Jane and Finch
- Questions:
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o What is the relationship between structures and individual agency?
Free will vs determinism
o How do we get from data about the world to theory?
Induction vs deduction
Deductive reasoning works from the general theory to specific
conclusion
Inductive reasoning works from specific data to a general
conclusion
o How do ethnographers link particular observations to an account of “the social”?
The particular vs the general
- Conceptual baggage an understanding of what we think the world is like
- The ethnographic voice can often have shock in it as they are often an outsider of the
community they are studying
- E.g. squatters in the projects stay in the stairways because it is safer than outside
locations
- Through comparative analysis we can examine different communities
** The Making of a Classic Ethnography: Notes on Alice Goffman’s On the Run Academy of
Management Review
- “Gut-wrenching, incisive representation of the social life of young African American
men hounded by the police in a poor, inner-city Philadelphia neighbourhood a world
most of us have limited, if any, knowledge of.”
- “This is the sort of work in which the fieldworker subjects herself her own body, her
own personality, her own social situations to the life contingencies of those studied,
seeing not just what is happening in the research site but feeling it, bodily and
emotionally.”
- Ethnographic work is about these “invisible” spaces that we don’t have much knowledge
about except what is shared with us in the biased media, e.g. Jane and Finch
- Ethical issues with ethnographic research, e.g. being covert with your research and not
disclosing it with the research subjects, sometimes must participate in crime to blend in
with the community of study
- 4 stages of culture shock
o Honeymoon
o Culture shock
o Adjustment
o Mastery/acceptance
- Understanding the families in the community vs just viewing it with a stigma or label of a
high crime area
- Ethnographies are typically a piece of induction where we go in and observe and end
with a general location, not entering the community to verify any theory (deduction)
- “Relies on fine detail to gain insight into social processes and contextualize behaviour,
rather than seeking to generalize from what is, after all, a sample of one”
- “One has to ‘be there’ and ‘there’ is not ‘here’”
- “The view of the ghetto as populated by ignorant, criminally minded, shiftless, lazy black
folk as ‘deserving victims’ – persists in the popular imagination”
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- We are conditioned to think this way in our dominant hegemonic culture ^
- Our actions towards people from these communities is governed by our cultural
perception
- We must take on an appreciative stance to understand the values and norms of people
who live in these communities; statistics do not tell the full story
- The workplace is also seen as a place of insecurity, e.g. warrants
- Poverty cycle
- Work and the hospital is a sight of insecurity for the non-hegemonic
o Young black males often do not show up to the delivery of the baby because the
hospital often reports their names and there is a high police surveillance
o Much more complicated, police take hospital records and record an individual’s
information
Structure of the assignment:
- “What value does ethnographic work provide to the study of crime/policing?
- Illuminates hidden spaces and ruptures the notions about subordinate hidden communities
and discourses associated with them
- Gives us a deeper understanding of these communities
- Disrupts the relationship between cultures and subcultures
- Talk about the ethnographic voice
- Cultural conflict
- Symbolic interaction
- Inductive reasoning
- Intro trying to assess the value of ethnographic work in the study of crime through a
critical book review of Gang Leader for a Day
- First few pages = create the ethnographic lens outside academic sources to talk about
ethnography, bias, key elements of ethnographic work, benefits, talk about taking the
appreciative stance, ethnographic work is an analytic induction, triangulation
- ETHNOGRAPHIC IMAGINATION
o Talk about certain elements of doing ethnography and how they’re important
o Potentially use subheadings for these elements
- Now use examples from the book talk about how Sudhir from the dominant culture
goes to the subculture to understand with specific examples
- Introduce a theoretical concept then relate it to the book
- ** Mention when JT beat up C-note and how Sudhir’s perspective changed
- Ethnography is an attempt to access the “backstage”
- Analytic induction is a method of observation and reflection, not one where you enter the
field with a hypothesis to verify (use an outside source to verify)
- What is culture?
o It is a system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviours, and artifacts that the
members of a society, or social system, use to cope with their world and with one
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Document Summary

Ethnographies of crime and policing crim 3652. The word ethnography is derived from the greek word ethnos meaning a nation and. Personalized research that requires a long-term commitment. Appreciate a social world from another individual"s point of view. The results of ethnographic research often are regarded as unreliable and lacking in validity and generalizability (lecompte & goetz, 1982) Since unique situations cannot be reconstructed precisely, even the most exact replication of research methods may fail to produce identical results; human behaviour is never static (lecompte & goetz, 1982) Using the research to solve problems or help bring about positive change in institutions or communities (lecompte & schensul, 1999) In ethnographic research, gaining trust is sometimes referred to as building rapport (lecompte & schensul, 1999) Theorizing at 3 levels: micro theory. Induction vs deduction: deductive reasoning works from the general theory to specific conclusion.

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