Gang Leader For A Day By Sudhir Venkatesh Essay examples

Gang Leader For A Day By Sudhir Venkatesh Essay examples

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The story, Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh, is a ethnographic study of a Black King Gang in the Robert Taylor community. Venkatesh accidentally stumbles upon the gang lead by J.T. and decided to study them. Throughout his journey he learns from the violence and illegal activity he witnesses that “in the projects it’s more important that you take care of the problem first. Then you worry about how you took care of it”’ (Venkatesh. 2008:164). He witnesses beatings, selling of illegal drugs, and exploitation of residents; but he also gained a lot of knowledge about the community. He works with J.T. and Ms. Bailey, the community leader, closely through his study. J.T. has taken a sociology class and he allows Venkatesh to shadow the gang as J.T. uses violence to keep his power. Ms. Bailey helps Venkatesh learn how she solves problems, and the effects of her power and affiliation with the gang to extort money out of the community members. Throughout his seven years on this project, Venkatesh experienced many situations where he was not prepared for working with a gang, he harmed participants, used deception inccorectly, and did not fallow confidentiality agreements. “All of us [sociologists] consider ourselves ethical; not perfect perhaps, but more ethical than most humanity,” but as Venkatesh works with the gang he continues to be unethical (Babbie. 1992: 463). If Venkatesh was competent about before he started his research he would have avoided many other ethical problems.
Before Venkatesh started his research he had an ethical obligation to prepare himself before making the observation. It is important to discuss all materials with an advisor or board to make sure the intended methods and activities are ethical and inside...


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...know how to avoid unethical situations. Avoiding harm could have been avoided. The harm that Venkatesh faces during his research is physical, like beating, and social, not informing them about the risk he is. Harming people is an important ethical standard as it protects people from the harm that researchers can conduct. He could have easily protected them from these harms. Deception also plays a part in the ethical standards that Venkatesh could have avoided. When he decided what his research was going to be about, he had the ethical duty to inform everyone. Sadly he continued to tell everyone that it was going to be a biography about J.T.. Venkatesh breaks confidently and puts the residents of the community in harm. Ethics are important to protect the participants during a study, and Venkatesh does not follow them and puts the community members in a lot of trouble.

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