"I've had the luxury--if you can call it the luxury," says Hakim Hasan, "of working in the formal economy, and of working at certain companies that required a certain level of training, however rudimentary, and a certain level of education." Instead, he chooses to sell books from a table on the sidewalk in New York's Greenwich Village. Soon after he met sociologist Mitchell Duneier, Hakim described himself as a "public character," and sent Duneier scurrying to reread Jane Jacobs's The Death and Life of Great American Cities to find out what he meant.
That moment was one of Duneier's inspirations to spend years studying--getting to know, really--Hakim and other book and magazine vendors on his patch of Sixth Avenue. Sidewalk explains much about the street vendors: How did this become legal? Where do vendors obtain their merchandise? How do they interact with potential customers? When do they find time to go to the bathroom (and, for that matter, where do they go)? But it's ultimately about the people themselves--quoted at length from Duneier's tape-recorded interviews and photographed by Ovie Carter--as they do their best to live successfully on their own terms, with all the good and bad consequences that entail. Some of these people (almost all men) are drug addicts, yes, and some of them choose to live as "unhoused" individuals. But many of them find a strong sense of purpose and identity in their work and choose to live in ways that best facilitate that work; they are as motivated--more, perhaps--as workers holding "respectable" office jobs. Nonacademic readers may glaze over at some of Duneier's longer explanations of his methodology, and he seems occasionally overapologetic when quoting the uncensored language of his subjects, but few books succeed at plunging the reader into a community and delineating the character of its members as Sidewalk does. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Investigating the complex social ecology of a three-block span of New York's Greenwich Village (a neighborhood that helped shape pioneering urban critic Jane Jacobs's thinking on the structure of cities), Duneier offers a vibrant portrait of a community in the shadows of public life. A white, middle-class sociologist whose Slim's Table won plaudits for its nuanced portrait of urban black men, Duneier infiltrated a stretch of lower Sixth Avenue frequented by scavengers, panhandlers and vendors of used and discounted books and magazines. As participant-observer, he spent months working the vendors' tables, gaining impressive access and insight. He suggests, contrary to Christopher Jencks in The Homeless, that many choose to sleep on the sidewalk even if they have money for a room. He not only observes but experiences arbitrary displays of authority by the police, who tell him to stop selling books and magazines one Christmas. Duneier adroitly explains how disparate policiesAsuch as pressure on the homeless at Penn Station and a law that exempts vendors of written matter from licensingAhave redefined life and business conditions in the city streets. He further argues that, despite the apparent disorder created by the vendors, the sidewalk creates an opportunity for income, respect and social support. In a retort to the influential "broken windows" theory behind community policing, he concludes that policy makers must do better to distinguish between inanimate signs of decline, such as graffiti, and the vendors or panhandlers who strive for better lives. The dozens of photos interspersed throughoutAby Chicago Tribune photographer Carter, a previous collaborator with the authorAadd depth to a book that achieves a remarkably intimate perspective on life on the margins of New York City. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This was required reading for an anthropology class, but it was actually an awesome read. Wonderfully insightful an honest, hard to read on just a scholastic level.Published 15 months ago by patrice
Duneier gives you a glimpse of what street life is really like and a lot of it does NOT match your typical stereotype. Give it a read and expand your horizons.Published 18 months ago by Spinner Dolphin
The writing style is very useful to maintaining interests in the subject manner, and the author dosen't just throw terminology and theories at the reader.Published 18 months ago by Jesus Valle
NEEDED THIS FOR ONE OF MY CLASSES AND YOU HAD IT FOR SUCH A GREAT DEAL, YOU SAVED ME A LOT OF MONEY, THAX AGAIN.Published 19 months ago by Robbin
It's an interesting read, both academically and for entertainment. I feel like this text perfectly supplements the sociological concepts discussed in class.Published 22 months ago by Amazonian Girl