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Living the Drama: Community, Conflict, and Culture among Inner-City Boys Paperback – May 1, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0226316659 ISBN-10: 0226316653 Edition: 4.1.2010
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Living the Drama tackles a substantive topic, engages in key theoretical debates, employs a distinctive comparative approach, gives ample voice to its subjects, and enriches our knowledge of poor youth." - Claude S. Fischer, University of California, Berkeley"

About the Author

David J. Harding is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and the Ford School of Public Policy and Research Associate Professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 4.1.2010 edition (May 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226316653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226316659
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #622,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Adams on May 17, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Over the past 10 years, David Harding has established himself as one of the "young," up-and-coming urban sociologists. His work has appeared in the most prestigious social science journals and it has been discussed by major news outlets, like the New York Times. In this ethnography, Harding focuses on three neighborhoods in the City of Boston: two poor with high violence rates and one poor but with a much lower level of violence. His main research question is on how neighborhood context, especially level of violence, influences how teenage boys view their world, develop friendships with other boys, establish relationships with girls, and succeed, or fail, academically. Using both observational and qualitative interview data, this study focuses on urban adolescent boys (primarily African American), a group understudied by social scientist researchers. In my view, Harding is very successful at describing the world of these boys and the ways in which neighborhoods play an important part in how they choose to live their lives. The first section of the book concentrates on level of violence in the three neighborhoods and how it completely dominates the thinking of boys in high violence neighborhoods. It influences their choice of friends, where they go, and how they spend their time. I found it truly amazing just how small the social and physical world of these boys is. For many, they feel safe only within a few blocks of their home and have very limited number of close friends. On the other hand, boys in the less violent neighborhood have much greater freedom of movement and choice of friends. The second part of the book focuses on how boys in violent neighborhoods learn mixed cultural messages about how to be successful academically and establish trusting relationships with girls.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Timothy R. Lauger on January 25, 2013
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I don't often review books on Amazon, but the misguided statements made by a previous reviewer need to be countered. This is a significant book that adds plenty of depth to the research on culture in inner-city communities. The book has already been influential in the academic community and has been cited by top-notch scholars in sociology and criminology. It includes core concepts that significantly advance our understanding of culture, street life, and how youth on the street must negotiate competing cultural ideas.

Harding challenges the notion that low-income neighborhoods are culturally isolated (and therefore homogeneous) and develops the concept of cultural heterogeneity to more accurately describe various competing cultural models within multiple Boston communities. This concept is defined, described, and linked to contemporary thinking about culture (somewhat academic but should be manageable for college-educated readers). He then uses this concept to demonstrate that youth in some Boston communities have to manage or negotiate the various elements of culture in multiple contexts. In short, youth living in these communities have to make sense of ideas about fatherhood, sex, school, etc., but they must do so in a cultural milieu that contains competing ideas about such things. Although I won't provide an exhaustive review of the entire book (He also writes about the importance of violence and community boundaries for organizing social life), Harding's identification and demonstration of these ideas greatly enhance our understanding of city life. For instance, he demonstrates that youth are not passively reacting to a uniform culture that is pervasive in inner-city communities.
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the book tells so much about inner city boys and how their surroundings and other factors affect who they are.
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