Synopses & Reviews
Randol Contreras came of age in the South Bronx during the 1980s, a time when the community was devastated by cuts in social services, a rise in arson and abandonment, and the rise of crack-cocaine. For this riveting book, he returns to the South Bronx with a sociological eye and provides an unprecedented insiderand#8217;s look at the workings of a group of Dominican drug robbers. Known on the streets as and#147;Stickup Kids,and#8221; these men raided and brutally tortured drug dealers storing large amounts of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and cash.
As a participant observer, Randol Contreras offers both a personal and theoretical account for the rise of the Stickup Kids and their violence. He mainly focuses on the lives of neighborhood friends, who went from being crack dealers to drug robbers once their lucrative crack market opportunities disappeared. The result is a stunning, vivid, on-the-ground ethnographic description of a drug robberyand#8217;s violence, the drug market high life, the criminal life course, and the eventual pain and suffering experienced by the casualties of the Crack Era.
Provocative and eye-opening, The Stickup Kids urges us to explore the ravages of the drug trade through weaving history, biography, social structure, and drug market forces. It offers a revelatory explanation for drug market violence by masterfully uncovering the hidden social forces that produce violent and self-destructive individuals. Part memoir, part penetrating analysis, this book is engaging, personal, deeply informed, and entirely absorbing.
In the context of two hundred years of American colonial control in the Pacific, Katherine Irwin and Karen Umemoto shed light on the experiences of today's inner city and rural girls and boys in Hawai'i who face racism, sexism, poverty, and political neglect. Basing their book on nine years of ethnographic research, the authors highlight how legacies of injustice endure, prompting teens to fight for dignity and the chance to thrive in America, a nation that the youth describe as inherently "jacked up"--rigged--and "unjust." While the story begins with the youth battling multiple contingencies, it ends on a hopeful note with many of the teens overcoming numerous hardships, often with the guidance of steadfast, caring adults.
and#147;The Stickup Kids
is an extraordinary work of brillianceand#151;complex critical theory woven fluidly through a gripping narrative of intimate personal experience. Contreras is a genuine, organic intellectual a la Gramsci. His is a brand new voice that challenges elitist ways of doing fieldwork and analyzing theory in academia. Rich and honest, this work deserves to be a classic ethnography of U.S. inner-city suffering.and#8221;and#151;Philippe Bourgois, author of Righteous Dopefiend
and#147;In The Stickup Kids, we witness the trickery and tactics of robbing drug dealers,torturing them to reveal their money stash, and the talk and emotions by which all this is normalized. Contreras gets us closer to the lifeworld of violent professional criminals than any previous researcher.and#8221;and#151;Randall Collins, University of Pennsylvania
and#147;Contreras is that rare breed of ethnographer who studies race, poverty and crime from the ground up and from the inside out while avoiding the traps of moralism and paying due attention to structural forces. His carnal dissection of the double marginality and built-in liminality of drug robbers in the South Bronx offers a dense, penetrating, and poignant acccount of the murky intersections of street violence, economic destitution, ethnoracial anguish, and masculine hubris. The Stickup Kids is a book to ruminate and emulate.and#8221;and#151;Loand#239;c Wacquant, author of Body and Soul: Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer and Urban Outcasts
About the Author
Randol Contreras is Assistant Professor of Sociology at California State University, Fullerton.
Table of Contents
Part I: Becoming Stickup Kids
1. The Rise of the South Bronx and Crack
2. Crack Days: Getting Paid
3. Rikers Island: Normalizing Violence
4. The New York Boys: Tail Enders of the Crack Era
5. Crack is Dead
Part II: Doing the Stickup
6. The Girl
7. Getting the Shit
8. Drug Robbery Torture
9. Splitting the Profits
10. Living the Dream: Life after a Drug Robbery
Part III: Todo Tiene Su Final
11. Fallen Stars