University of Connecticut: /SOCI 1001/ Introduction To Sociology- Floating City Notes
University of Connecticut: /SOCI 1001/ Introduction To Sociology- Floating City Notes 1001
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This 27 page Study Guide was uploaded by Nick St. Sauveur on Monday September 26, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to 1001 at University of Connecticut taught by Burton Levine in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 64 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Sociology in Sociology at University of Connecticut.
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Nick St. Sauveur Introduction To Sociology Floating City Notes 16 September 2016 Chapter One: When Worlds Collide Plot Points: ● Sudhir arrives to a New York museum early both nervous and excited to meet a man named Shine who is a successful crack dealer out of Harlem that he followed (through Midtown, Wall Street, The Village, and Upper East Side) for ten years in order to write his most previous book Gang Leader for a Day. He’s been in the city for five years since 1997 in order to understand the good and bad tricks of the city’s economic trade. Sudhir is an ethnographer, which he defines as a sociologist who watches people in everyday situations with no questions or surveys like a journalist. ● Sudhir says that the museum room he walked into was a white loft covered in lumber, scrap metal and wrecking balls. It looked more like a construction site than art he said. Nevertheless, Shine owned this section of the museum and Sudhir’s friend (Shine’s cousin) Evalina had a featured piece there. She was entitled to 30% of all purchases of her art in that space, while Shine kept the rest to fund her. He was coming tonight to collect his 70%. ● Sudhir recalls that (in the past five years) he has seen Shine bandage his knuckles after a beatdown, care for a troubled relative, convince kids to sell crack, and everything in between. He has never met any drug dealers (of which he’s met a good amount) that were as willing to break boundaries as Shine. He calls his illegal actions and reactions adaptive genius. Sudhir says that all over the city, because of Mayor Rudy Giuliani , middle and upper class people were beginning a historic migration back from the suburbs that was celebrated by the media. He thinks because of these quick changes across the city that an economic bubble and crash are inevitable. He says that Chicago thinks it’s better than New York because of its unlikeliness to change to please and because it is a city of neighbors. He shuns this idea because the city is very segregated still ( since the Civil Rights Era of the 1960’s), meaning that its inability to change is what kills it. Sudhir says that a popular local catchphrase says it all: “Don’t make no waves, don’t back no losers.” The idea of bricolage kept coming at him, which he defined as the art of combining fragments of existing things to make a new order. ● Suhir realizes that Annalise Is addicted to cocaine that is supplied by Shine. However, he is nervous given that Annalise Does not know Evalina is also supplied cocaine by Shine as well. He says that the art gallery was bought by the Upper East Side blue bloods using trust fund dollars and a few thousand dollars dollars from the city’s art development fund. Shine met him at the bar to say that the two of them had been invited to Annalise's party tomorrow night. Suhir asked if he had any new customers (meaning Analise internally) but he shook his head no and before leaving nodded strangely to Annalise. Sudhir says that he has seen that nod before and thinks that means she’ll get her drugs dropped off later, meaning that Shine lied to Sudhir. ● Sudhir spends the next day at the University experimenting with a documentary film project relative to the Chicago housing market and its destruction projects. He thinks about how cool it would be to document the friendship between Annalise And Shine when they first crossed paths, but shrugs off the idea. Before he goes to the party, Shine calls him and tells him he’ll be late so he should meet him there. When Sudhir arrives, Brittany brings Sudhir out to a smoking patio where she, Evalina and Annalise Use cocaine as Sudhir looks on, thinking. He thinks that Shine lied to him and had made a customer out of Annalise At the art show, giving the cocaine to her at her home the night before to bring to the party tonight. Sudhir thinks that Shine won't show up at all. As Brittany tells Annalise That she is leaving for Boston tomorrow and can’t hang out with her, she also reminds her not to forget that she has to call the hotel for check in on her behalf. Sudhir imagines the worst headline possible regarding the night's activities: “ Upscale Drug Ring Linked to Columbia Professor.” He doesn’t want to think about it. As the girls get crazier, Sudhir thought about calling Shine and telling him not to sell her any more cocaine or other drugs. He didn’t however because he expected Shine’s typical “She’s over 21” statement, implying she’s old enough to make her own decisions regarding drug consumption. He leaves the party and walks 15 minutes to the nearest subway because there are no cabs in the street at this time of night. ● On his walk, Sudhir disappointedly says that he’ll have to find another documentary idea similar to his about Annalise And Shine since it didn't seem like it would work out. The next night, Annalise Calls Sudhir and says that her boyfriend beat her up and she didn’t want to come home. She asks if she can stay in Sudhir’s spare bedroom, to which he answers yes without hesitation. Regardless, he wonders why she didn’t think to call Britney or another girlfriend first. She got to his house 30 minutes later with an overnight bag and no makeup on. She had no forms of jewelry on her other than a few loose arm bracelets. She and her shoes were so wet from the rain that she squeaked as she walked into his home. Sudhir asks if she wants to go to the hospital or call the police, but she declines. Annalise Says that her boyfriend J.B. stole her money from her. In two separate instances she details how J.B. has taken a total of over $80,000 from her because she was leaving it in her apartment rather than in a bank investment. Annalise Says that her boyfriend invested it for her, but she doesn't know where it is. Sudhir wonders where she got the money from, why she didn’t put it in a bank, why she didn’t count it, and where it was now. Sudhir says that Annalise Told him six months ago that her family threatened to cut her out of the family estate if she was not the married and socialite style of woman that they wanted her to be but followed her own ideal career in fashion instead. She was nervous that she would not only lose J.B. if this happened, but also never get married because of her poor status. Sudhir asked her what kind of investment he planned to make. She said he needed to get some work done on some new projects. He knew this to be J.B.’s weakness, trying to find new talent and fund their NYU graduate directing projects until his trust funds ran out. Then he would ask his parents for money until they would refuse. He then worked out a plan with his parent’s chauffeur, where he would get injured and a portion of the insurance money would be J.B.’s. After all that failed, he stole from Annalise. Sudhir thinks that it would be cool if he made a documentary comparing J.B.’s crooked film business and Shine’s crooked drug business. ● Annalise Tells Sudhir that J.B. has taken other people’s money on top of her own, making him wonder what other people, why did she have their money, and what were they likely to do when they found out there money was gone. Annalise Opens up to Sudhir saying that she is basically a female pimp to Britney and many other girls. She also keeps track of their money for them, which is part of the money that J.B. stole. She tells him that she manages five women on a daily basis, but six to seven on rare occasion. Sudhir deduces that Max, Annalise’s family lawyer, helps her launder money over currency and tax laws meaning bigger payouts for her to keep. Sudhir calls Annalise A broker rather than a pimp and says that she has been abusing her women workers mentally and physically to get what she wants. Sudhir figures out that she makes $100,000 a year as a broker (pimp). Annalise Feels insulted and hurt that Sudhir would say such things. Nevertheless, he knows they are true facts and does not apologize until he sees her cry. Annalise Comes clean and admits she is a pimp and that Sudhir is right. He says it’s best that she gets some sleep, she agrees, but asks if they can talk about the situation later. She asks this because she feels good talking to Sudhir about her problems, because he understands her like no one else ever has. He repeats a statement that he uses often in his work with sociology at the university that now makes no sense to him in this situation: “ The poor live in the same world as you and me, and it’s the job of the sociologist to demonstrate these relationships. He feels as if the statement struck him as downright reckless. Annalise, by her words and actions, teaches Sudhir that in order to correctly document social roles, he must find those who are not changing to their environment. He also realizes that Shine taught him the lesson that immersement (staying in the same place and always coming back to it) is not the answer to social landscaping, but that constant motion is. He begins to understand that breaking boundaries is important in sociology as Shine and Annalise Were trying to tell him all this time. True sociological principles that came into question upon Sudhir learning this message included: “Where we come from defines who we are” and “Education is the key predictor of success.” He learns that entrepreneurship in its truest form involves risk taking for both material gain and personal transformation. Upon discovering this around anthropologist Clifford Geertz “Webs of Significance” analogy, Sudhir shocks himself realizing that he was not in the typical good researcher mode of itinerary including but not limited to: designing a careful study, be a skeptic, find more data, and keep questioning until some version of truth arises. He begins to wonder why he did his work to begin with and what it was good for. He then begins to question the framework that had given him the meaning to his life. Sudhir is motivated to act on these questions and answers and leaves Annalise Sitting on the guestroom bed in his home. He thinks about how Annalyse admitted to not only committing crimes of prostitution, but enjoying them. He himself was confused and lost, looking forward to finding the answers he needed to know and more in the coming future. Persons Perceived: ● Sudhir Venkatesh: The main protagonist of the story. He likes art. He came to New York in 1997. He is very interested in the good and bad sides of big city economics. He is a passionate ethnographer. He spent ten years with a Chicago crack gang to write his most previous book titled Gang Leader for a Day. He is Native American. He was born into an ethnic caste of Indian Brahmans (also known as the Alladi) that also had their own distinct dialect, in California. ● Shine: An accomplished Harlem crack dealer known by Sudhir that was trying to expand into new markets since the crack business was slowing down. He has traveled with Sudhir through the areas of Midtown, Wall Street, the Village and the Upper East Side to advance his drug trafficking objectives. He wears jeans, a hoodie, and high top sneakers.He is described as confident, tall, and handsome. He is African American. ● Evalina: Shine’s cousin. She knew Sudhir from his study of Illegal economics when they always surprisingly bumped into each other. She is described as short, but voluptuous and always full of zesty energy. She worked for Shine in High School and then ran away to the West Coast to find herself. She had been arrested for car theft and shoplifting before going back to New York to sell cocaine for Shine again. Shine made her go back to school in order to work for him though. She likes arts including photography and sculpture. She hopes to one day display her art in other more expensive venues than in Soho and Chelsea. She is African American. She is addicted to cocaine. Shine is her supplyer. ● Rudy Giuliani: The current then (but former now) 107th Mayor of New York City that helped clean up a neighborhood called Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan and bring back tourists and their money. He is Caucasian. ● Annalise: A wealthy Harvard graduate friend of Sudhir’s. She met Sudhir at a Harvard wine tasting event. She is described as a slender brunette. She is Caucasian. She is addicted to cocaine. Shine is her supplyer. She is a pimp to Britney. ● Brittney: A former classmate of Annalise’s in college. She uses her good looks to make men bring her to the fanciest New York restaurants on dates and justifies it because at least she eats well. The last time Sudhir met her was at a party on the Upper East Side where she asked him and other men about their deepest desires (as examples: Do you like lingerie? What kind?). She is pimped off to men by Annalise. ● J.B./Junebug: The wealthy and young blue blood boyfriend of Annalise’s since college. Sudhir describes him as a young guy that just loves to show off his money. He takes pride in trying to discover new talent. ● Max: Annalise’s family lawyer that helps her pimping business by laundering money. He also gets the money over currency and tax laws for bigger payouts. Sudhir knows him through some foundation work. ● Clifford Geertz: An Anthropologist who established the “Webs of Significance” analogy meaning that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun. It refers not to the laws of science, but the laws of human nature and one’s individual search for meaning of life inside of said interchangeable webs or patterns of existence. Chapter Two: New York, New York Plot Points: ● Sudhir rewinds time back to his first few days in New York as a starting professor at Columbia University. He feels guilty for moving him and his wife out of their Chicago home for a New York City stationed apartment, but hopes that it will be worth it in time. Sudhir says that it wasn’t the easiest place to start his career, but it was in fact the best place. He said that the young staff and junior professors (regardless or not of receiving tenure) were treated as expendable laborers. He says that his friends told him not to take the job. Sudhir says that even though he received a job offer from NYU, he greatly desired instead to go for the high stakes Ivy League environment he believed Columbia could provide. His time studying at the University of Chicago taught him this. At Columbia, his department was going through a transition period because of a bitter struggle regarding the merger of cultural sociology with networkstructural sociology. Professor Herbert Gans (inspired by past professors Robert Merton and C. Wright Mills) disagreed with the university professors Harrison White and Peter Bearman thinking it should not be done. Sudhir says that a knee jerking definition of academic quality was beginning to resurface at the time which stated: “If too many people can read your work, then it must not be very good. However, if you could quantify your research and make it sufficiently unreadable, then you were onto something.” In Sudhir's terms it simply stated: “Write only for sociologists, because a popular book might jeopardize your chances for tenure.” He agreed with Peter Bearman’s idea that: “Only through careful, systematic observation and analysis could we really learn about the world”. Sudhir was credited with an attention to detail and objectiveness during his career, so he supported Peter Bearman’s theory fully. He didn’t like the activist label he often received from other scientists. Nevertheless, he credits White and Bearman for motivating his research on race, inequality, and the fate of our cities. Sudhir also credits his work with Professor and personal advisor, William Julius Wilson at the University of Chicago. Wilson believed that the scientific method was not the only thing to sway the opinion of the public or policymakers. He used epochal books to stretch this such as “The Declining Significance of Race” or “The Truly Disadvantaged” that challenged how Sudhir’s generation looked at poverty. ● After learning this information from Wilson, Sudhir felt that the everyone needed to know what he knew about poverty and sociology and how they connected. He spent hours researching sociological roots at the University of Chicago’s library and discovered a founding father named Robert Park. This man (like Sudhir) thought that the subject was meant to inform and educate the public. Park also pushed for a scientific and empirical approach that recognized the dangers of anecdotal portraits that proved nothing of broader significance inherent of journalism. Sudhir says that when he was searching the archives, he found a note that read: “Rigor and relevance.” This told Sudhir that truthful, scientifically valid insights that are comprehensible and speak to timely social issues is what is valued in sociology. He tried to use this theory in his book “Gang Leader for a Day”, to better explain the struggles of America’s urban poor (from putting food on the table to fighting off drug lords). Sudhir developed a theory that more truth and less cliches meant better social policy and better lives for those he studied. He says that the two sociological perspectives were like two warning bulls. If you told too deep of a story you were called a journalist and if you used too much number crunching science, you were called a specialist. Sudhir had a hard time finding a middle grounded group at Columbia. Even though his colleges were mostly supportive, they gave him the same advice saying that in order to receive tenure, he had to publish in leading (science dominated) journals. ● Sudhir goes back to his academic foundation work through Midwest Chicago crack dealer Michael Clark. He had offered him the help of his New York based cousin named Shine back in 1997. Sudhir takes Clark’s contact information on Shine but does not call him right away out of eagerness to explore New York by himself and not use Shine as a crutch of sorts for guidance. Shine’s old home in Harlem was less than a mile away from Sudhir's new apartment in Morningside Heights. He felt that he would relive his experience at the University of Chicago in New York by halving to guide new students (as he was once) via map where it was safe to be and not to be (all the black neighborhoods, he says). Nevertheless, while traveling through New York he realized it was anything but Chicago. Sudhir travels downtown to find Shine coincidentally at the same bar he walks into. He says it was a nice contrast to the noisy university based environment he was so used to. He feels more comfortable around working people (like those in the bar), and would leave the West End to the ghosts of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. ● When Sudhir meets Shine at the bar, Shine finds out that they have ghetto wisdom in common with one another when referring to Michael Clark as someone who’s so good “(He) doesn’t even need to try.” They bond so much over this that when Sudhir refers to New York as “friendlier than Chicago” Shine gives him the advice that he (Sudhir) “Can’t survive being friendly in New York. He also says to him that he must be able to take drug trade secrets pretty easily because the dealers don’t fear him (as Shine does not) like they may other individuals. Shine asked Sudhir how he met Michael Clark, to which he answered saying a long story about how he wandered into the projects one day by accident and was held hostage by Michael Clark’s gang. He goes on to say that: “The next thing I knew I was moving in and then seven years go flying by.” Sudhir forgave Michael Clark eventually, telling Shine that he knew everyone had to “hustle” at one time or another. Shine agrees in the form of a warning saying “Especially around here”. Shine says that it is wise to just “Keep on keepin’ on” despite Sudhir’s confusion of who to trust and where to continue his research. ● Fast forwarding two years ahead, Sudhir had won a research grant from the University of Columbia to study black street marketing and had spent said time with Shine and his friends in Harlem collecting data. He says he has so far learned that the underground economy of New York had plenty of sustenance so support life. Sudhir says that there were honest working people on the streets (legal things) making a living and dishonest working people on the streets (illegal things) making a living. He thought that it would be interesting to research (with help from the University) the old and new patterns of New York’s economic underground. Sudhir says that Urbanists like Saskia Sassen and David Harvey wrote about New York’s rebirth into a global metropolis more linked with Tokyo, London, Newark, or Philadelphia. He defines Buffalo, New York and Cleveland , Ohio as “twentieth century cities” that lived and died by the resources around them. He also says that business leaders from Sao Paulo to Mexico City, to Bangkok dreamed to posses modern technology in their factories and workplaces to better fit in the emerging global networks. Sudhir says that Saskia Sassen once stated in her works that: “90% of the highest paid professionals arriving in the new New York City were white consumers that spawned across all industries that were mostly staffed by minorities from distant homes. He says the once global city was becoming divided. He brings up that New York and London had eight million people while Tokyo had thirteen million people. He was shocked to know that only a small portion of these groups worked in the industries of finance, real estate and art while they were so dominant. Sudhir says that in accordance to sociable research, his coworkers were having a “generalizability problem” where small numbered focus group studies were often disregarded as illegitimate by the scholars who studied them. He says that size mattered, especially at the new Columbia University. ● He is nervous that, because of this new issue, his research of smaller (urban relative) groups will not be considered as legitimate as before. Therefore, Sudhir thinks about the possibility of expanding his research study group, regardless of race, gender, age or background. He thinks diversity may be the key to reinstating the importance of his work, but is nervous if it will because of the growing need for more data. He didn’t know if he would ever find a study group large enough to please the scholars as before. When starting his new study, Sudhir says that a good sociologist always needs two things in his toolbox: “A few guiding concepts and a strategy for getting evidence.” He used Shine’s idea of “floating around” outside of his Chicago shell and instead embracing a New York one. In New York, he meets a police officer who happens to be a friend of another police officer Sudhir knew from Chicago. His name is Mike Collins. They shared a passion toward history. While talking, Collins makes a statement that surprises him: “The days of street prostitution are over.” Sudhir jokes and asks if they went from the city streets to the internet instead to do their work. He understands the joke and says that some do, but he was talking about a new kind of prostitution being on the rise. Collins says that random women would get arrested for drug possession or disorderly conduct and have hundreds of thousands of dollars with them for some reason. It didn’t make sense to Collins, but Sudhir is eager to think that he may have found his new study. ● He connects with the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center. It was an advocacy group that provided legal services to sex workers. He thought this was a good thing because he could help victims with their problems and help himself in his study. Only three out of twentyfive agency managers return his call on the first day. Many who were called thought it was a con to arrest people, or a joke to mock them. Sudhir goes to a New York strip club in Tribeca to study the ways and whys of a dancer’s life. Then, a 6’4” 250 pound security guard grabbed him by the arm and brought him to the manager. The manager couldn’t understand why Sudhir was there, despite what he told them about his studies. The manager asked him to leave rudely, but right before he left he was able to confirm an interview opportunity with a dancer in the manager's office.The manager sighed but agreed to let her have the interview with him, but only if it was conducted outside. Sudhir understood and went outside without delay, eagerly waiting for the interviewee that would never come outside to greet him after two hours of waiting. Disappointed but not deterred, he said that he needed a “Virgil who could teach and vouch for him.” He needed a broker, he needed Annalise. ● Sudhir recalls when he met Annalise For the first time at a Harvard fellowship meeting for the Society of fellows. It was a sixty year old organization that involved dinners with famous writers and scientists of the world. They gathered around a large mahogany table once owned by Oliver Wendell Holmes. Suhir, eager to fit in at Harvard, volunteered to help serve wine at the event. Nevertheless, he didn’t know anything about wines or their stemware formalities. Fortunately, Annalyse stepped in and helped to increase his knowledge on the subject. She and Sudhir continue talking and eventually discuss his Indian culture and how it was there. Annalise Said she had been sent there as a form of punishment, but loved it anyway. She goes on to tell him that she always felt smarter after coming back because she just didn’t care what anyone thought about her. She told him that no one really cares about wine specifics. All in all, she tells him not to worry about the embarrassment, and that it is really based on “just knowing what you like” for wine that matters. Annalise Says that the key is to “start drinking a lot” of it, to which response Sudhir laughs. ● He talks about the success of interviewing eight to ten dancers on the stripper lifestyle. He learned about the fees they had to pay to get into clubs, the cost of renting back rooms, and the chance for severe and abusive punishment for being unable to pay if the manager wasn’t willing to bail them out in tight spots. They also informed him of the positives of the stripper life style including manager and bouncer protection from “Abusive Johns”. Nevertheless, despite all he learned, he would need more numbers to begin to call his efforts serious research. Sudhir finally gets in touch with his data framer and woman broker Annalise And finds another strip club to conduct his research. ● Sudhir finds another bar to settle down in and meets a sporty individual there named Mortimer Conover. It was clear to him right off the bat that he was a ladies man, with women swooning over him in the bar like geese. Mortimer said he could “Travel the whole world in one night” if he wanted to including Russia, Missouri, Mexico and the Dominican Republic and “Never leave the neighborhood”. Mortimer had been going to that bar for twenty years and discussed a variety of topics including politics, sports, great Irish politicians, and the mysteries of female psychology. He had a particular pattern developed upon visits too. According to Sadhir, this pattern included drinks (An old fashioned, a glass of water, multiple glasses of red wine, tea) and doings (lighting his pipe outback periodically, visiting with a “lady friend”). He said little about his past though other than the fact that his right hand had been crippled in the war (although he never tells Sudhir what war), that his son John was a construction foreman in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and that his grandchildren were all in high school (he had pictures to prove it). His heartbreak was his daughter in law. Mortimer says that she calls him a “Sexual predator”. He explains the story to Sudhir saying that he had retired from his job in his early sixties and went to a strip club one night trying to pay money to a dancer for sex that turned out to be an undercover cop. His son almost refused to pick him up from jail and his daughter in law, being a devout Christian cut him off from all family events and gatherings (such as Thanksgiving dinners or grandchildren visits). ● Mortimer kept Sudhir company when he would wait outside the strip club for dancer interviews. Nevertheless, Mortimer never seemed to have any visible health issues until he collapsed on the floor of the bar one night. Mortimer had a stroke that made his left hand as much of a claw as his right hand. He also wore thick glasses now because of his weak eyesight. He even needed help walking with his limp or climbing stairs. However, Sudhir noticed that the social groups Mortimer was a part of, seemed to protect him after his stroke and help make his life easier (as if nothing had changed). This fascinated Sudhir. Apparently, according to dancer interviews, Mortimer wouldn’t have sex, but instead fondle the women he made time with while telling tales of his past loves. He says that prostitutes becoming “lay therapists” for their patrons is relatively common in today’s world rather than simply sex. Reciprocity, according to Sudhir, was an expected part of the little bar’s communal life. ● Sudhir was with Shine in his black german sedan headed south on Malcolm X Boulevard for a mission he knew nothing about. Sudhir talks about the theory of freakonomics (economics based on incentives) and how he helped coin and progress the term with college Steven Levitt. He felt that this term greatly applied to Shine given that he tried to hide his motives for why he worked and what he did for reasons unknown to Sudhir. As Shine drives very illegally into Hell’s Kitchen, Sudhir can’t help thinking about actor Sean Penn and his film “State of Grace”, and how it was relative to an extent of their situation, given that they were both trying to find their own successful paths in life but hadn’t yet discovered them. Shine stops the car in front of a porn shop on Ninth Avenue. A woman waves at the two of them in the car through the store window. Shine identifies her as Angela and says that Sudhir will like her. Upon their entrance, Angela gives Shine a big hug, joking with him in spanish about how his hair is turning grey. While being hugged, Shine asks Jun, the man behind the counter, how it was going. He responded saying that not much was going on. Jun shook Sudhir’s hand, saying that it was a pleasure to meet him and then Sudhir shook Angela’s hand. He was lost in her comforting eyes as if they were that of a relative's. After he had shaken her hand, Shine called Angela and Jun over to the back room of the store. Sudhir was asked to man the register until they returned, and if anyone wanted something, all he had to do was “Take their money” according to Shine . He took on the job, but was nervous because he didn’t know how to open up the cash register. He had never been surrounded by so much pornography. Sudhir began to wonder what Jun and Angela were doing working together in the first place and what they had to do with them. A large Latino man asked if they had a movie called “Prison Girls 5” while standing in aisle two, not seeming willing to approach the counter. Sudhir said he would check and looked over at the back room where he could see Shine, Jun, and Angela moving their hands frantically, seeming to be arguing about something stressful even though he could only make out a few words. ● Jun returns to the counter replacing Sudhir. Shine calls him over to he and Angela. He walks down aisle two past a gauntlet of porn and sees them waiting in front of a rack labeled “Foreign” as if they were hosts on the receiving line of a telephone. Shine says that Angela and Jun agreed to help Sudhir in his research. He finds out that Angela was not an employee of the porn store, but instead, a sex worker. It was Jun’s store. He was willing to rent out the back room to Angela and her friends for private dealings as long as Shine provided drugs to them and her clients. She asks if Sudhir wouldn't mind helping to stock the shelves, so kind heartedly, he does so as Shine tells him to “Have fun” as he leaves laughing at him. He didn’t see Shine for two weeks after that. He assumes that Shine was annoyed with him always complaining about how he did not know where to go for his research, so he brought him there. He learned through his research that New York City was a lot smaller knit of a community versus Chicago (everybody knew everybody). Sudhir learns that predictability was a necessity when it came to self protection in the city’s underground environments. Persons Perceived: ● Herbert Gans: A sociologist who taught at Columbia University between 1971 and 2007. He studied, like Sudhir, at the University of Chicago. When teaching, he combined vivid storytelling with thoughtful explorations of great national issues. ● Robert Merton: A sociologist who taught at Columbia University between 1941 and 1984. When teaching, he combined vivid storytelling with thoughtful explorations of great national issues. He inspired Herbert Gans. ● C. Wright Mills:A sociologist who taught at Columbia University between 1946 until 1962.When teaching, he combined vivid storytelling with thoughtful explorations of great national issues. He inspired Herbert Gans. ● Harrison White: A sociologist who taught at Columbia University between 1988 and 1992. He taught sociology at the University of Chicago from 1958 to 1963. ● Peter Bearman: A sociologist who has taught at Columbia University since 1997. ● William Julius Wilson: A sociologist who taught at the University of Chicago between 1972 until 1996 when he transferred to Harvard University. ● Robert Park: An urban sociologist who taught at the University of Chicago from 1914 to 1933. ● Michael Clark: A crack dealer out of Chicago that Sudhir had written a good amount about in in the middle to late 1990’s. He directed Sudhir to his cousin Shine in New York in 1997. ● Jack Kerouac: A novelist and poet who studied briefly at the University of Columbia between 1940 and 1942. ● Allen Ginsberg: A poet who studied at the University Of Columbia between 1944 and 1948. ● Jackie Clark: The young five year old daughter of Michael Clark who will one day take over her father’s drug industry in Chicago. ● Saskia Sassen: A professor of Sociology at Columbia University since 1991. She coined the term global city, meaning a city that is big enough to have a huge impact on the world's economy as a whole. ● David Harvey: A professor of Geography at the City University of New York (CUNY) since 1984. ● Officer Mike Collins: A friendly New York police officer who knew one of Sudhir’s police friends from Chicago. ● Virgil: A poet from the Augustine Empire of ancient Rome who lived from October 15th, 70 B.C. to September 21st, 19 B.C. ● Oliver Wendell Holmes: A juror then Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1902 to 1932. He also served as Acting Chief Justice of the United States from January to February of 1930. ● Mortimer Conover: A man who Sudhir met at a bar in Hell’s Kitchen. He is described as a man in his 70’s that wears a jacket, tie, and pocket square. ● Steven Levitt: A professor of economics at the University of Chicago who helped coined the theory of freakonomics (economics based on incentives) with Sudhir. ● Sean Penn: An actor, filmmaker, and political activist who starred in the film “State of Grace” (1990) that involves the struggles of organized crime in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. Sudhir references this movie, having seen it himself. ● Angela: A friend of Shine’s who owns the “Ninth Avenue Family Video” store. Sudhir says that it’s a porn store. He says that she had comforting eyes. ● Jun/Manjun: A friend of Shine’s who coowns the “Ninth Avenue Family Video” store. Sudhir says that it’s a porn store. He is described by him as a small Asian man in a blue plan suit. He seems to be nearly bald. Chapter Three: The Shifting Ground Beneath Your Feet Plot Points: ● In the autumn of 2002, after a few months of visiting and helping at the “Ninth Avenue Family Video” porn store, Sudhir is invited by Jun to explore the neighborhood around the business. Sudhir happily accepts, thinking of this as a reminder of his time in Chicago learning about the lives of his subjects through the stomping ground in which they survived. Jun refers to his slum surroundings as “the most spiritual place in the city” and introduces him to an African American friend of his named Shoomi on the street. Within his introduction, Jun mentions Sudhir’s general educational background as well as his expertise in human civilization and mathematics. He thinks racistly that the only reason Jun told him about his mathematics degree is because he is of asian descent. Shoomi tells him in a friendly way not to acknowledge the “garbage” of Chicago’s society, but rather its people. Sudhir jokes to him saying that it’s hard to ignore it. Shoomi looks at him with pity as he explains his travel from Nigeria to New York with his wife and three daughters five years ago. He tells Sudhir that he told his daughters on a train ride to always look for a way out of the “garbage” (society),but at the same time accept it if you have nowhere else to go. Jun and Shoomi question Sudhir’s belief in God, as they state that Americans are losing religious faith. He says in response that he grew up in the United States, but was born in India. Jun and Shoomi are overjoyed to know that Sudhir is like them. They begin to name their friends from the city that fit what Sudhir calls their cultured “tribe”. They mention a gas station working hindu woman named Kurana, a muslim newspaper stand owner named Ahmed, a mexican catholic New Yorker named Jose, and a friend of Shoomi’s named Santosh who prays a lot. A mexican man that is a friend of Jun’s and Shoomi’s named Carlos is riding a beaten bike with an empty pizza box strapped on the back of it down the road smiling. Shommi greets him in spanish and learns that his wife had a child in his home country. They are both excited for him. Jun asks, despite the language barrier, if his wife and newborn child will come to see him in the United States. Carlos, frowns, shaking his head no and rides away on his bike crying. Using Carlos as an example, Shoomi asks Sudhir if he can see that even the “garbage” citizens of a society have lives too. ● Sudhir says that New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has made Jun’s business industry a dangerous one because of his “Quality of Life” campaign organizing police forces to shut down that form of vulgarity and inappropriateness in order to attract more people to the city. The week after his first city tour, he says that Jun introduced him to two homeless men (that panhandled, squeegee washed cars on the street for money, recycled, became petty thieves, and shoplifted), an asian kiosk vendor ( that sold stolen passports and temporary work visas), and a preacher on 51st Street ( that got illegal immigrants daycare and nanny jobs). Sudhir feels that Jun wanted him to look on the bright side of a dark city. He remembers back to when he had complained to Shine about how no one had ever done a research paper about the underground side to society, and how he thought if he did it may help his career. He felt fear that the only place he could be successful academically was in Chicago. He remembers shortly after that conversation going back to the “Ninth Avenue Family Video” porn store to see Shine laughing with Jun. A customer approached Sudhir at the counter and asked if they had another copy of a DVD to rent given that the one he had was broken, Shine laughs at the fact that Sudhir was viewed as one of the porn store clerks like they were. Jun jokes with shine and says that he should replace him as manager of the store. He had become one of the “garbage” people at that moment. As he looks in back for the customer’s DVD, Jun asks why he seems unsatisfied with the people of New York he is introducing him to. He means no disrespect, but he was not looking to study the bright side of the “garbage” society, but the dark side instead. He notices that he has been wearing the same clothes for the past two weeks, which is weird given his personal attention to hygiene. Jun says he can still help him, but is exhausted and sits down. When motioned to go away, Sudhir leaves the room and talks to Shine. He talks to Shine about the dislike of his secrecy with what was really going on between them. He says that he learned in Chicago that secrets can be dangerous, which is why he is trying to derail Shine’s attempt at more of it. He says that gangs have used his research in the past for their own gain against his wishes. He didn’t want Shine’s friendship to mirror his gang experiences. ● Sudhir’s distrust of Shine has become overbearing, he therefore goes to Angela for help with research rather than Jun. In the back of the “Ninth Avenue Family Video” porn store, he was able to speak with women from all over the world (including Europe, Africa, Australia, China, Singapore, and Brazil) about their role in the underground economy of New York. According to Sudhir, sex was both literally (physically) and figuratively (socially) bonding the world together. He says that Angela’s role in Jun’s “Ninth Avenue Family Video” porn store perfectly demonstrated his thesis of how the illegal money she brought in helped them keep the legal business alive and how the legal business gave her a refuge for her illegal business. He says that with this thesis, there is no clearly defined line between above ground economy (right) and below ground economy (wrong). In 2003, he says that he decided to focus on researching Jun and three other asian store clerks in order to see their role in the underground economy while also broadening (but concentrating) his subject of study. ● Sudhir begins talking about the oldest and most successful of the four named Santosh, who at 53 years old was a patriarch of a successful business and supporting family back home. Nevertheless, his success of an American life was all thanks to sex. He came to the country through New York in 1993 and made money driving a cab. He started out making an average of $100.00 on a really good night but then started helping people find prostitutes and letting them use his cab for sex with them. Because of these actions he made $2,000.00 a month. One day a friend suggested he invest in a video store so he invested 15% of the store and started working there as a night clerk. However, his regular customers still wanted to work with him. Therefore, he would tell said individuals where the best sex was based on what they wanted. He earned enough money overtime to bring his brothers and mother to the United States. His family thought that he made this money as a software consultant. ● Sudhir then talks about an immigrant from Pakistan named Azad who once worked at a snack and news stand for little money in Chelsea, New York. One day, a blond prostitute walks up to the stand and says that she will pay him ten dollars to refer clients to her services. He agrees, and after a while begins the same deals with other neighborhood prostitutes. He made about $150.00 a week, more than half of what he made selling newspapers. He saved up this money to bring to buy a store and bring his family to New York from Pakistan. He teamed up with another store owner named Rajesh to create a city wide sex and drug ring for them to continue making money. ● Sudhir then discusses Jun, and how the job he has now at the “Ninth Avenue Family Video” porn store was his first job in the country. He learned about the store’s illegal connections from other employees and was instantly hooked, using the back room to charge customers $20.00 an hour with prostitutes. He also charged $50.00 an hour to criminals who wanted to hide from the police. Jun would not have done this if he did not need $5,000.00 to bring his wife and infant son from Bangladesh to stay in New York with him. He covered the fee within six months of working there the way he did. ● Suhir says that in time, Santosh sold laptops, Rajesh started offering small short term loans, and Azan operated in a job referral service for undocumented immigrants. He thinks back to a particular night in Jun’s store when he was playing with his ten year old son, Joshi, who was playing ping pong against a wall not covered with DVD’s. Angela came into the store that night to check her voicemail and drink a cup of coffee to suppress her exhaustion. He talks about Angela’s backstory involving her arrival to the United States when she was little. Her parents were claimed by death and mental illness, abandoning her on the Lower East Side as an undocumented teenager. She created a system involving trading sex for food. Nevertheless, despite her many jails for prostitution, she always considered an arrest as an opportunity to “make a friend of the police”. Sudhir gives her a moment to gather her rising emotions in the room alone. After she collects herself, she waves goodbye and leaves the store. Sudhir helps Joshi get ready for bed. After he is in bed, Jun tells him that he is in big trouble with his business. Due to missing stock, cut paychecks, and a $1,200.00 robbery by an unknown man. He was afraid that he would have to make family cutbacks and go deeper into the underground economy of New York City. Jun invites him to his home where his wife can cook them dinner. He begs Sudhir to come so he won’t be yelled at when he tells his wife about the store’s financial issues. He agrees to go, thinking that he does not want to go home himself. He thinks that after ten years of marriage, him and his wife are considering divorce. Upon arriving to Jun’s home in Queens, New York, his wife is already mad at him. Sudhir recalls Jun talking about how they couldn’t afford a doctor to help soothe his wife’s six month long string of pain with a “woman’s doctor” (gynecologist). Sula, after putting Joshi to bed, is very mad at Jun for bringing her and her son into the United States. Joshi wakes up to their yelling, but ignores it while playing with his army dolls at the door of his room. Sudhir feels he can relate to Joshi’s effort to ignore his parents fighting, given that it is exactly what he had to do as a child. ● Back at the “Ninth Avenue Family Video” porn store, Jun is getting more anxious by the day about what to do and where to go with his current situations. Angela and her sex worker friend Christina walk into the store. Angela says that she wants to smarten up her act while working and needs to figure out things like cheap medical insurance, bank accounts, and Visa cards. She wanted to be cleaned of the term “streetwalker” and be upgraded to “escort services”. Sudhir discovers that like Mortimer, the sex worker community was networked together as one through anyone such as doctors, bankers, lawyers, and landlords. Sudhir mentions University of Chicago sociologist Morris Janowitz, and how he classified situations of bonding communities as “a communities unlimited liability” meaning they are bound to eventually help one another in the long run. On a cold Saturday night in November, Angela and Christina were tired after a long work day and went to Jun’s back room to rest. Jun collects the money they were able to scrounge up and then closes for the night. The next day at the store Angela says that Jun has been worried because his wife is very sick. ● Sudhir plans to visit his parents in California because of the Christmas season being around the corner. Sudhir, before he goes, wants to give Joshi the World Book Encyclopedia as a present for the holiday. He goes into the “Ninth Avenue Family Video” porn store to find someone he has never seen before running the counter. When he asks where Jun is, the man says that he does not work there. He walks to the back room to find no traces of anything belonging to Angela or Jun. He panics and goes to see Santosh at his store for information of their whereabouts. Nevertheless, after being told to meet him there later because of the busy nature of the store, Sudhir returned to find that he had not kept his promise and went home early for some reason. He called all of the sex workers and checked Jun’s home to no answers on either spectrum. In desperation for an explanation, Sudhir turned to his friend, police officer Mike Collins for help. He finds out through the police that Jun had been beaten up by the unknown man who had robbed him of money before. Sudhir says this is a time when an ethnographer is always haunted by their subjects and their tragic vulnerabilities. Insight gets more painful the closer you get to someone. ● A few weeks later, after returning from the holiday break, Sudhir goes to the “Ninth Avenue Family Video” porn store again. There is no sign of Jun or Shoomi there. He thought maybe Santosh could give him some information, so he went to see him for lunch at the restaurant he bought with his time in the pornography business. Upon arrival, Sudhir learns that he is using the restaurant as a front to sneak illegal immigrants into the United States. Santosh charges $5,000 to smuggle illegal immigrants into the country and $10,000 for all related activities. Sudhir finds out that Azad is back in the black market and Rajesh became an accountant. He also finds out that Jun, Sula, and Joshi, are all back in Bangladesh in order to avoid legal trouble in the United States. Santosh invites Sudhir to his grandson’s birthday party in two weeks to get over the sadness of his friend Jun leaving. He agrees to come, and learns after attending to more often look on the bright side of a situation or a society rather than only it’s darkside because even “garbade” people have feelings. He references Nancy Foner, an anthropology professor at the State University of New York who found that immigrants made up 37% of a city’s population. He also says that sociologist professor Mary Waters had found that more than half of the second generation immigrant children in New York would attend or graduate from a four year college or university. Persons Perceived: ● Shoomi: An African American friend of Jun’s who helps Sudhir see the underbelly of Chicago’s society. He came to New York five years ago, bringing his wife and three daughters over to the United States gradually until they were all together. ● Kurana: A Hindu woman who works at a gas station in New York City that is in what Sudhir classifies as Jun and Shoomi’s cultured “tribe”. They classify their “tribe” as a group filled with people who grew up in the United States, but were born in different countries or belong to different faiths. ● Ahmed: A Muslim man who owns a newspaper stand in New York City that is in what Sudhir classifies as Jun and Shoomi’s cultured “tribe”. They classify their “tribe” as a group filled with people who grew up in the United States, but were born in different countries or belong to different faiths. ● Jose: A Mexican Catholic who lives in New York City that is in what Sudhir classifies as Jun and Shoomi’s cultured “tribe”. They classify their “tribe” as a group filled with people who grew up in the United States, but were born in different countries or belong to different faiths. ● Santosh: A Indian male friend of Jun’s. He is in the “porn store” business like Jun. He is in what Sudhir classif
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