• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Gang Leader for a Day: The Ethical Concerns and Questionable Motives Behind a Rogue Sociologist. Sudhir Venkatesh, the rogue sociologist took to the Chicago streets in the most notorious housing projects in search of people to take part in his survey o

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Gang Leader for a Day: The Ethical Concerns and Questionable Motives Behind a Rogue Sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh, the rogue sociologist took to the Chicago streets in the most notorious housing projects in search of people to take part in his survey on urban poverty and crime. He entered a poor black crime ridden neighbourhood for seven years and his first question was, "How does it feel to be poor and black?" Venkatesh was a first-year graduate student at the University of Chicago at the time. What he found in the abandoned apartment building was beyond his expectations. He met a gang leader named JT and they would soon become friends as Venkatesh observed the gang life. Venkatesh's study is nonetheless gripping and nothing short of interesting, however it raises some ethical concerns regarding the relationships with the gang members as well as that of his professor. The largest ethical concerned is obvious when Venkatesh himself says that he was a hustler among hustlers, however the substance he was hustling was not drug or money - it was the participants. It appears that Venkatesh used the gang members for his own personal advancement due to the fact that he received academic acclaims, a prestigious fellowship, a position at a renowned university, and general public recognition. ...read more.

Middle

Even when faculty and an attorney warn him that participating in illegal gang activities puts him at risk of criminal prosecution, he continues his research anyways. Venkatesh, who claimed to be writing JT's biography, has everyone convinced. . JT's mother was even deceived by Venkatesh, "My son says you're writing about his life - well, you may want to write about this community, and how we help each other." (page 43). Sudhir had given not only JT but also his community a false sense of hope and security for his own self-serving motives. His motives are somewhat malevolent in that his research required him to work with and encourage a vicious gang leader for nearly seven years. During this time period, he gained the trust and friendship of many people that, in the end, he would turn his back on and take from them the hope of ever finding a life beyond community housing. Venkatesh fails to acknowledge and excuses his ethical failings as a researcher. Throughout the entire study he never once filed a plan with the Institutional Research Board until he is almost done his research. ...read more.

Conclusion

Venkatesh is lucky that he did not get harmed in the process, or killed for that matter. Throughout the book, he comes across as na�ve and almost too egotistical for the nature of his work and the situation he has immersed himself in. It appears that Venkatesh and JT are using each other mutually, that is a deception. Venkatesh uses JT to become involved in the Black Kings crack gang for the purpose of observing how gangs functions and how society responds to gangs. JT thinks he is using Venkatesh for future recognition as he told him he would write his biography. This never happened. Venkatesh makes a bold statement when he claims that he became a gang leader for a day because in reality he avoided doing anything that could get him in serious trouble with the law. He claims to be a hustler among hustlers, but the only thing he is hustling is the hustlers themselves. Therefore, while the true hustlers are hustling drugs to make a meek living, they are being hustled by a sociologist who would soon become a success in the world of academia and leave the gang members in their destitute situations. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Applied Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Applied Sociology essays

  1. African Society. This study seeks to highlight why some people in the case study ...

    Misunderstandings about case study Research According to Flyrbjerg (2006) identifies and corrects five prevalent misunderstanding about case study research: > General, theoretical Knowledge is more valuable than concrete, practical knowledge. > One cannot generalize on the basis of an individual case and, therefore, the case study cannot contribute to scientific development.

  2. American Culture. It is evident that part of the definition of contemporary American ...

    geological elements known to humankind: mountains, deserts, swamps, plateaus, glaciers, lakes, rivers, caves, volcanoes, canyons, mesas, seashores, plains, and even geysers and tar pits. The country was patched together over time, not always peaceably, out of Native American territories that had been settled and or claimed by England, France, Holland, Sweden, Spain, Mexico, and Russia.

  1. Action Plan for research into the effects of playing violent video games.

    to measure the dependent variable myself however I will get a clear idea of what I am looking for and I will look for relevant secondary research related to my hypothesis. At first I did not understand what operationalising variables means but I learnt about it in my lessons.

  2. Utilitarianism. When it comes to welfare and wellbeing utilitarianism plays its role and ...

    The vaccination is seen to provide the greatest happiness for everyone who is involved, yet at the same time with the furore surrounding MMR steps taken to change the MMR jab from being compulsory to being the individuals choice have a detrimental effect because more people will be affected by

  1. Describe any one approach to identity. Discuss how this approach can help to explain ...

    explained at the start, regarding anything that might influence their willingness to take part for instance they would be observed urinating. (Word count:62) Right to withdraw (BPS 2006). The participants were not able to withdraw from the study as they were not aware they were part of one.

  2. This evaluation study will thoroughly study factors that influence teen pregnancy and parenting on ...

    Both, Bem (1981) and Petersen (1988) found that higher levels of low self esteem was found amongst girls who were not properly trained about female appearance and expectations and their role in the society.         Several research studies also show that the relationship between body image and self-esteem is strongly influenced

  1. Research - In this assignment, we are trying to find the factors and effects ...

    Based on the research, this question can related to question 8 and 9. Some students spend much time online or have after-image of the content they saw online so that affect their study. Students spend too much time online like play games, watch movies and chat with family, friends.

  2. How are marked and unmarked identities socially produced

    Social order can be referred to as a set of linked social structures, social institutions and social practices which act to conserve, maintain and enforce an orderly way of relating and behaving within society. There are various views and theories of how social order is created within society two such views come from Erving Goffman and Michael Foucault.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work