Review Of In Search Of Respect: Selling Crack In El Barrios

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Phillippe Burgois, the author of In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio, lived in East Harlem doing research for 3 years. His wife and child also lived with him during this time. Burgois was interested in studying the social and economic aspects of East Harlem, also known as El Barrio. His research required him to be closely involved with the crack dealers in the area. In my review, I will first, summarize the main points of the book. I will cover theories and concepts I think Burgois used while conducting his research. I will also explain why the self-immersion into the neighborhood, the violence, and illegal activities was necessary for the author to obtain an accurate understanding of life in one of the poorest and most violent …show more content…

Crack dealers assumed he was an undercover cop, while cops assumed he was a drug addict. Area thugs did leave him alone though because they also assumed he was an undercover cop. People in the neighborhood struggled with his name so instead of Phillippe, he became known as Felipe. Throughout the book, Felipe notices the racial tension in the neighborhood primarily between the whites, blacks, and Puerto Ricans. In the beginning of the book Felipe starts to learn how to conduct himself around people. He learns to not expose people’s faults and how there are barriers that people face that he was unaware of. Ray was unable to run a legal business because he had no idea how to work within the legal system. Phillippe also learns the balance between generosity and violence to keep his friends and stay …show more content…

This is where the author see the dynamics of managing a crack house. Ray owned the Game Room and we can see how some people prefer the adrenaline rush of selling crack appeals to many. The sellers would eventually quit smoking crack because they want to get promoted. Users were not generally promoted because they were seen as a liability. The author also shows us how Ray keeps the crack house safe from cops and outsiders by incentivizing people to keep a look out. He also has managers that he manipulates to do his bidding and increase his profits. The ethnography continues to show us how working class jobs are looked down upon. Many people go back to selling crack to make money because they felt they were being exploited. The mafia has control of many jobs that the lower class can perform and it can be hard to get into a secure job. Many people rather work than go to school to better themselves but drive to work is lost in recession and we can see a never-ending poverty cycle for many people. The public school system is also described as a subpar institution that often contributes to Harlem’s problems. Bullying and rapes play into street culture and subjugation of women. As you move into the inner city the author describes that traditional patriarchal lines are redrawn as women are becoming more independent. Many males use violence against women to try and keep

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