Friday, December 4, 2009

Chilling with the I.O.S (Insane Original Scholar)

Today I will introduce my gang series, consisting of Links and Notes entries--a set of annotated bibliographies. I have nine so far, and expect to have more than twenty when I am done: some on topics, like economics, some on individual street, prison, or motorcycle gangs. I'll just keep posting them in my August month under the gangs category, in the best order.

Each has pictures, illustrations, and videos I’ve carefully culled out of hundreds. It includes my random thoughts toward a theme, working my way as I go. Links will soon show up on my sidebar.

I’m sure there’s a vast well of secret handbooks and rules in the gangs. I’m equally sure there’s an underground lake of law enforcement information that never gets shared. Official redaction as aggressive graffiti: it’s pitifully easy to guess at the turf war between law enforcement agencies, seeing what’s missing out of these reports.

The public gets information that either creates panic or talks down to them. Many law enforcement presentations aim for middle-class voters with children--educated people, but that education isn’t trusted. We get a recipe, not a way to back up our instincts.

A few sites are giving bona-fide information, and I’ve tried to collect them in one place. A few are giving out strange or anonymous information, but what sits between the lines seems valuable. So it's the good out of the larger, mostly non-academic pile on the Web.

A good presentation often gives glamour, even to painful subjects. I don’t think it’s wrong to show what makes gangs attractive—it’s one key to understanding their persistence. But to counteract the glamour, I tried to pick examples that were realistic, as raw an example as I could find from pre-presented material.

For scholarly purposes, I looked past glamour, doubletalk, disgust or humor and tried to see what’s lying underneath or inbetween. That’s the approach I recommend.

This information helps me understand political economy and a significant set of subcultures in the U.S. and around the world. Maybe it will be useful or insightful to others.

I eagerly look forward to corrections, amplifications, requests, in fact anything that advances the streetwise, all-eyes, tell no lies, Web-u-lized, intellectual turf of the I.O.S.

Photo above, AP, Chicago, 2009. After-school fight that ended in the homicide of Derrion Albert.


Slamdunk said...

Wow, you have been busy with the comprehensive links.

In the discussion boards that I frequent, I see questions about tagging and what not sometimes--it will be nice to refer them to your resources as opposed to trying to find it myself.

Christopher said...

There is, of course, a big difference between tagging and gang graffiti, and the public often misunderstands this... two distinct and often separate, though sometimes related, problems.

I'm looking forward to what you have to say, and add in my own observations and theories when relavent.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk and Christopher,

See, this is exactly what I wanted. The reminder about tagging and gang graffiti. I added it into my new post, the "Gangs for Parents" 1-4 and it's on the sidebar.

Whatever makes it more useful to everyone, including myself. I'd like to build it as a real resource or "resource gate" for others.

Thank you Very much!

the observer said...

Have you seen the book "Gangleader for a Day" by Sudhir Venkatesh? It's the follow up to his interview included in "Freakanomics" The short story is that he stumbled into a gang of drug dealers in Chicago while doing research. He got to see their books and see how leadership worked. His closeness may influence some of what he saw, but the work is totally fascinating for those of us for whom the gang is foreign territory.

Ann T. said...

Dear Observer,
Thanks for this. I read one of the academic papers related to Freakonomics, but I'm very interested in getting this book!

Ann T.