Sudhir Venkatesh’s ethnography Gang Leader for a Day is a summary of his research through the University of Chicago in the 1990s. Venkatesh chose to do research on poor African-Americans in Chicago, and their experiences in public housing developments. He concentrated his study on the Robert Taylor Housing to better understand how residents lived and differentiated from those in other parts of the city. Venkatesh’s target population was those living in harsh living conditions, primarily black and poor. Throughout this paper, I will be addressing Venkatesh’s research and its limitations. I will also share my opinion on Venkatesh’s analysis and understanding of his findings about the residents, and how his experiences mesh with my own. In his dissertation, Venkatesh used the method of being an ethnographer to collect data, record observations, and find a way to extrapolate meaning from the communities’ experiences.
To begin, Venkatesh used both quantitative and qualitative research. Quantitative analysis is when a researcher collects data numerically, and organizes statistics, to find a correlation to a hypothesis. Venkatesh investigated about how to approach young black men in the Lake Park projects. As part of his quantitative research he planned to ask them multiple choice questions. One question was, How does it feel to be black and poor? With a Likert scale answer, which falls under quantitative research, that question can be hard for people to answer with only the following choices: very bad/somewhat bad/ neither bad nor good, etc. Therefore, he went out to two buildings within the projects that were located in Oakland and as well was one of the poorest communities in Chicago at the time, which had horrible living condit...
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...w it affects people. Outsiders viewed the Robert Taylor Housing as a place with a gang and drug problem, that demonstrated how terrible the conditions were in Chicago around 1989 (37). In the novel it also depicted how civil their gang groups are because the gangs went around the community and tried to get other people to vote. for someone in particular because their interests could get them on their side (79).
All in all, the novel was intriguing where I could not wait to turn the page. Venkatesh’s experiences with the Black Kings was very interesting in the way that he was able to befriend JT and other residents of RTH. Even though he was confidential about everything it was a well-documented because his experiences came from six years of field-notes (which are detailed notes from a ethnographer 's experience with hid interactions and activities that were done.)
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