Zahir's Reviews > Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets

Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh
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M_50x66
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Mar 18, 12

Read in September, 2011

An interesting read about a part of American and urban life that we have a tendency to know next to nothing about. We all are familiar with hip hop music and seeing things on tv about rough neighborhoods, and movies about urban life, like Boys n' the Hood and New Jack City, but Venkatesh actually does something people have entirely failed to do through mainstream media - tell a human story about what life is like for some of the poorest people who live in the projects.

Overall, Venkatesh gets in with a drug gang in Chicago operating out of the Robert Taylor Houses. He gives a human account of their backgrounds, what types of problems and challenges they face in life, the role of the police and other soceital institutions, the utter failures of government policies, and generally how the society operates in the projects. The stress is on "society," because those living in the projects are very much part of a functioning community, with their own rules, their own culture, and their ways of interacting one another. Overall a good read.
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