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2 Hawthorne Sociology- Poverty

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Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor

by

Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor Cover

ISBN13: 9780674023550
ISBN10: 0674023552
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Listen to a short interview with Sudhir Venkatesh
Host: Chris Gondek | Producer: Heron & Crane

In this revelatory book, Sudhir Venkatesh takes us into Maquis Park, a poor black neighborhood on Chicago's Southside, to explore the desperate, dangerous, and remarkable ways in which a community survives. We find there an entire world of unregulated, unreported, and untaxed work, a system of living off the books that is daily life in the ghetto. From women who clean houses and prepare lunches for the local hospital to small-scale entrepreneurs like the mechanic who works in an alley; from the preacher who provides mediation services to the salon owner who rents her store out for gambling parties; and from street vendors hawking socks and incense to the drug dealing and extortion of the local gang, we come to see how these activities form the backbone of the ghetto economy.

What emerges are the innumerable ways that these men and women, immersed in their shadowy economic pursuits, are connected to and reliant upon one another. The underground economy, as Venkatesh's subtle storytelling reveals, functions as an intricate web, and in the strength of its strands lie the fates of many Maquis Park residents. The result is a dramatic narrative of individuals at work, and a rich portrait of a community. But while excavating the efforts of men and women to generate a basic livelihood for themselves and their families, Off the Books offers a devastating critique of the entrenched poverty that we so often ignore in America, and reveals how the underground economy is an inevitable response to the ghetto's appalling isolation from the rest of the country.

Review:

"In this revealing study of a Southside Chicago neighborhood, sociologist Venkatesh opens a window on how the poor live. Focusing on domestics, entrepreneurs, hustlers, preachers and gangs linked in an underground economy that 'manages to touch all households,' the book reveals how residents struggle between 'their desires to live a just life and their needs to make ends meet as best they can.' In this milieu, African-American mechanics, painters, hairdressers, musicians and informal security guards are linked to prostitutes, drug dealers, gun dealers and car thieves in illegal enterprises that even police and politicians are involved in, though not all are criminals in the usual sense. Storefront clergy, often dependent 'on the underground for their own livelihood,' serve as mediators and brokers between individuals and gang members, who have 'insinuated themselves — and their drug money — into the deepest reaches of the community.' Although the book's academic tenor is occasionally wearying, Venkatesh keeps his work vital and poignant by using the words of his subjects, who are as dependent on this intricate web as they are fearful of its dangers." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

appalling isolation from the rest of the country.

About the Author

Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh is Professor of Sociology and African-American Studies at Columbia University.

Table of Contents

Prologue

1. Living Underground

2. Home at Work

3. The Entrepreneur

4. The Street Hustler

5. The Preacher

6. Our Gang

7. As the Shady World Turns

Notes

Acknowledgments

Index

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

JRT, April 23, 2009 (view all comments by JRT)
I bought this book on the strength of the story that I heard on NPR about the illegal ammunition dealer who tried to have a yard sale to get rid of all his money.
I was disappointed that I didn't find the story here.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674023550
Subtitle:
The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor
Author:
Venkatesh, Sudhir Al
Author:
Venkatesh, Sudhir Alladi
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Subject:
Criminology
Subject:
Sociology - Urban
Subject:
Poverty
Subject:
Poor
Subject:
Informal sector (economics)
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - African American Studies - General
Subject:
Minority Studies - General
Subject:
Poor -- Illinois -- Chicago.
Subject:
Informal sector (Economics) - Illinois -
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Cloth
Publication Date:
October 2006
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » American Studies » Poverty
History and Social Science » Sociology » Poverty

Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$13.50 In Stock
Product details 448 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674023550 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this revealing study of a Southside Chicago neighborhood, sociologist Venkatesh opens a window on how the poor live. Focusing on domestics, entrepreneurs, hustlers, preachers and gangs linked in an underground economy that 'manages to touch all households,' the book reveals how residents struggle between 'their desires to live a just life and their needs to make ends meet as best they can.' In this milieu, African-American mechanics, painters, hairdressers, musicians and informal security guards are linked to prostitutes, drug dealers, gun dealers and car thieves in illegal enterprises that even police and politicians are involved in, though not all are criminals in the usual sense. Storefront clergy, often dependent 'on the underground for their own livelihood,' serve as mediators and brokers between individuals and gang members, who have 'insinuated themselves — and their drug money — into the deepest reaches of the community.' Although the book's academic tenor is occasionally wearying, Venkatesh keeps his work vital and poignant by using the words of his subjects, who are as dependent on this intricate web as they are fearful of its dangers." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , appalling isolation from the rest of the country.
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