"In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio" - An Analysis
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This paper reviews and analyzes Philippe Bourgois's book "In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio" in which he shows the underlying causes of drug dealing among Puerto Rican immigrants in East Harlem. The paper discusses Bougois's findings about the root causes of substance abuse and also why many young people choose selling crack over finding a legitimate career. The paper includes several anecdotes about young people who chose this path. Bougois's work addresses additional reasons why crack dealers have not been able to maintain regular jobs, citing lack of "cultural capital" as partially responsible for this. The paper concludes by stating that Bourgois presents a credible conflict between structure and agency in the ethnography that causes people to have a dilemma in their life because they feel like they cannot act against the El Barrio culture.
From the Paper:"According to the author, "substance abuse in the inner city is merely a symptom-and a vivid symbol- of deeper dynamics of social marginalization and alienation" (Bourgois 2003: 2). For Bourgois, the actions of drug dealers are nothing more than "an alternative forum for autonomous personal dignity" by mainstream culture (Bourgois 2003: 8). One of the main themes in the ethnography is the ability to classify oneself as respectable. The failure of Puerto Ricans of El Barrio to gain respect in the legal community pushes them into a culture of crime along with male dominance in society. They find the need to interpret and look at power and respect as an important component of survival in society. This is strongly demonstrated through the aspect of crack dealers. When they are faced with daily struggles for subsistence in earning money illegally versus obtaining a legitimate career, where no respect or progression is certain, their ultimate choice is selling crack. One of the clearest examples of this in the ethnography is seen with Primo and his best friend, Caesar, respectively. By having an illegal job such as crack dealing, Primo was able to build up confidence and take control of the situation which lead towards individuals gaining respect for him."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Bourgois, Philippe 2003 In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio. 2nd edition. New York: Cambridge University Press
Cite this Analytical Essay:
"In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio" - An Analysis (2012, October 26) Retrieved July 19, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/in-search-of-respect-selling-crack-in-el-barrio-an-analysis-151927/
""In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio" - An Analysis" 26 October 2012. Web. 19 July. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/in-search-of-respect-selling-crack-in-el-barrio-an-analysis-151927/>