oDifficulty of estimating the size of underground economy – let alone drug dealing
– is even thornier.
• “inner-city” street culture: a complex and conflictual web of beliefs, symbols, modes of
interaction, values and ideologies that have emerged in opposition to exclusion from
•French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s analytical category, “cultural capital”.
•Street culture’s violence pervades daily life in El Barrio and shapes mainstream society’s
perception of the ghetto in a manner completely disproportionate to its objective danger.
Part of the reason is that violent incidents are highly visible and traumatic.
•Michael Taussig: “culture of terror” to convey the dominating effect of widespread
violence on a vulnerable society. One of the consequences 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 internalizing racist stereotypes in the process.
•Conversely, mainstream society unconsciously uses the images of a culture terror to
dehumanize the victims and perpetuators and to justify its unwillingness to confront
segregation, economic marginalization and public sector breakdown.
•Social marginalization in El Barrio: Puerto Rico’s colonial quandaries and the streets of
East Harlem have always produced violent, substance-abusing fellows no matter what
immigrant ethnic group happened to be living there at the time.
•Mafia has left a powerful institutional and ideological legacy on East Harlem by
demonstrating decisively that crime and violence pay, which is periodically reinforced by
mainstream society with the recurring financial scandals on Wall Street and in the
•One contemporary street-culture kinship arrangement is that women are obliged to
establish serial households with different men through their life cycles.
•The contrast between Ray’s consistent failures at establishing viable, legal business
ventures versus his notable success at running a complex franchise of retail crack outlets,
highlight different cultural capitals needed to operate as a private entrepreneur in the
legal economy versus the underground economy.
•Entry-level inner-city workers are hindered by the fact that the vocabulary used in office
work performance evaluations has no counterpart in street culture.