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9780374527259: Sidewalk

An exceptional ethnography marked by clarity and candor, Sidewalk takes us into the socio-cultural environment of those who, though often seen as threatening or unseemly, work day after day on "the blocks" of one of New York's most diverse neighborhoods. Sociologist Duneier, author of Slim's Table, offers an accessible and compelling group portrait of several poor black men who make their livelihoods on the sidewalks of Greenwich Village selling secondhand goods, panhandling, and scavenging books and magazines.

Duneier spent five years with these individuals, and in Sidewalk he argues that, contrary to the opinion of various city officials, they actually contribute significantly to the order and well-being of the Village. An important study of the heart and mind of the street, Sidewalk also features an insightful afterword by longtime book vendor Hakim Hasan. This fascinating study reveals today's urban life in all its complexity: its vitality, its conflicts about class and race, and its surprising opportunities for empathy among strangers.

Sidewalk is an excellent supplementary text for a range of courses:

INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY: Shows how to make important links between micro and macro; how a research project works; how sociology can transform common sense.

RACE AND ETHNIC RELATIONS: Untangles race, class, and gender as they work together on the street.

URBAN STUDIES: Asks how public space is used and contested by men and women, blacks and whites, rich and poor, and how street life and political economy interact.

DEVIANCE: Looks at labeling processes in treatment of the homeless;
interrogates the "broken windows" theory of policing.

LAW AND SOCIETY: Closely examines the connections between formal and informal systems of social control.

METHODS: Shows how ethnography works; includes a detailed methodological appendix and an afterword by research subject Hakim Hasan.

CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY: Sidewalk engages the rich terrain of recent developments regarding representation, writing, and authority; in the tradition of Elliot Liebow and Ulf Hannerz, it deals with age old problems of the social and cultural experience of inequality; this is a telling study of culture on the margins of American society.

CULTURAL STUDIES: Breaking down disciplinary boundaries, Sidewalk shows how books and magazines are received and interpreted in discussions among working-class people on the sidewalk; it shows how cultural knowledge is deployed by vendors and scavengers to generate subsistence in public space.

SOCIOLOGY OF CULTURE: Sidewalk demonstrates the connections between culture and human agency and innovation; it interrogates distinctions between legitimate subcultures and deviant collectivities; it illustrates conflicts over cultural diversity in public space; and, ultimately, it shows how conflicts over meaning are central to social life.

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"I've had the luxury--if you can call it the luxury," says Hakim Hasan, "of working in the formal economy, and of working at certain companies that required a certain level of training, however rudimentary, and a certain level of education." Instead, he chooses to sell books from a table on the sidewalk in New York's Greenwich Village. Soon after he met sociologist Mitchell Duneier, Hakim described himself as a "public character," and sent Duneier scurrying to reread Jane Jacobs's The Death and Life of Great American Cities to find out what he meant.

That moment was one of Duneier's inspirations to spend years studying--getting to know, really--Hakim and other book and magazine vendors on his patch of Sixth Avenue. Sidewalk explains much about the street vendors: How did this become legal? Where do vendors obtain their merchandise? How do they interact with potential customers? When do they find time to go to the bathroom (and, for that matter, where do they go)? But it's ultimately about the people themselves--quoted at length from Duneier's tape-recorded interviews and photographed by Ovie Carter--as they do their best to live successfully on their own terms, with all the good and bad consequences that entail. Some of these people (almost all men) are drug addicts, yes, and some of them choose to live as "unhoused" individuals. But many of them find a strong sense of purpose and identity in their work and choose to live in ways that best facilitate that work; they are as motivated--more, perhaps--as workers holding "respectable" office jobs. Nonacademic readers may glaze over at some of Duneier's longer explanations of his methodology, and he seems occasionally overapologetic when quoting the uncensored language of his subjects, but few books succeed at plunging the reader into a community and delineating the character of its members as Sidewalk does.

From the Publisher:

Winner of the 1999 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest

SPIKE LEE: "With SIDEWALK, Mitchell Duneier has taken me into a world that I have passed by and rubbed shoulders with my entire New York adult life. He has opened that world up to me and allowed me to understand it in a way that only a work of the greatest integrity could. He writes to inform rather than impress. The result is the most readable work of sociology that I have ever come across."

ROBERT COLES: "SIDEWALK brings us close to the hustle and bustle of urban street life--the book is a knowing, thoughtful exploration that will earn it a place among the classics of the documentary tradition."

DERRICK BELL (author of FACES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WELL): "Beyong its sensitive portrayal of black men living on the margins of society, SIDEWALK is a testament to the survival skills of a people who from slavery to the present somehow have cobbled lives stunted by racial deprivation into a mostly unheralded affirmation of the human spirit."

WILLIAM FOOTE WHYTE (author of STREET CORNER SOCIETY): "[SIDEWALK] is in the best traditions of participant observation. If I were still teaching, I would want all of my students to read this book."

HOWARD S. BECKER (author of OUTSIDERS): "An exciting and original approach to the problems of urban life, informed by years of intensive participation and by a deep understanding of social science thinking. No one has combined theory and intimate knowledge of city streets as successfully. A masterpiece of fieldwork."

SASKIA SASSEN (author of THE GLOBAL CITY): "Mitchell Duneier must be one of the outstanding ethnographers of our time: he renders visible what typically remains submerged as we take in the world at street level. This is a deep, complex, moving book that yanks you out of your own lived experiences of that world and draws you into another."

RUBIN D.G. KELLEY (author of YO MAMA'S DISFUNKTIONAL!): "SIDEWALK will radically change the way we think about 'the public sphere.'"

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Verlag: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, New York (1999)
ISBN 10: 0374527253 ISBN 13: 9780374527259
Gebraucht Softcover Anzahl: 1
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Buchbeschreibung Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, New York, 1999. Softcover. Buchzustand: Very Good Condition. Has used textbook stickers to back and lower spine. Size: 5 1/2" x 8 1/4". Text body is clean, and free from previous owner annotation, underlining and highlighting. Binding is tight, covers and spine fully intact. NOT ex-library. Shipped Weight: Under 1 kilogram. Category: Sociology & Culture; ISBN: 0374527253. ISBN/EAN: 9780374527259. Inventory No: 022673. Artikel-Nr. 022673

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