The Sociology and Anthropology Department here at Northeastern University is staffed by the most amazing faculty on the planet, for example: Michael Brown Ph.D., Professor in Theory, Cultural Sociology, History of Sociology/Social Thought; and Jack Levin Ph.D., Professor in Criminology, Prejudice, Social Psychology, Aging/Social Gerontology. It is no wonder that the graduates of this program mirror the excellence of their professors; for example, Katherine Rickenbacker, Stanislav Vysotsky, Peter P. Cassino, Janese Lynette, and Marci Lee Gerulis-Darcy. Check out their disserations and master’s thesis now easily viewable and readily available on IRis. Simply browse “collections,” scroll down to Department of Sociology and Anthropology, or click here.
I (was forced to) read In Search Of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio by Phillpe Bourgois in on of my anthropology classes and now it’s one of my favorite books. The book provides detailed insight into the lives of crack dealers in East Harlem in the early 1990s. Bourgois studied the drug economy there for 3 years, moving his wife and new born into East Harlem. What he found is truly amazing- a society that has it’s own value system. Bourgois argues this has developed due to the plight of the poor who have been rejected from society. In search of respect, they create a new value system they are able to uphold. The detailed insight into the lives of those both overlooked and condemned by society is a perspective rarely seen. The book is a very humanizing element in discussion about drugs or the poor, for it showcases the daily lives and struggle of individuals one can easily identify with. It reveals that the drug economy is not an effective method of providing an income, but becomes a last ditch effort at survival for those unable to find employment. In Search of Respect has changed my perspective on society and the drug war. After reading this, it seems to me the people most hurt by both the drug economy and the war on drugs are already marginalized and never really had a fair shot at getting out of poverty. You can find In Search of Respect in Snell library, I recommend you give it a read!