SOULSIDE: Inquiries into Ghetto Culture and Community by Ulf Hannerz
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SOULSIDE: Inquiries into Ghetto Culture and Community

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Swedish anthropologist Hannerz spent two years on the ""soul side"" of town, the Winston St. area of Washington, D.C., and emerges with an account that is both intimately detailed and socially relevant. As an ""informal participant observer"" (as much of one as a white Swede could be) Hannerz was privy to the personal terms of ghetto life and portrays quite concretely the sights and sounds of a black urban community. The well-rendered cadences of ghetto speech contrast Sharply with his own slips into sociological jargon (never too heavy to keep the interested layman down). Except for the delineation of four distinct life style types--the mainstreamers, swingers, street families, and street-corner men--to underline the actual heterogeneity, Hannerz avoids Schematizing. A focal concern of the ""inquiries"" is the problematic relationship between the sexes and particularly the stereotyped conceptions of the difficulties of growing up male. Hannerz's emphasis is on the functional rather than the dysfunctional aspects of ghetto behavior. Thus he is at odds with the concept of a self-perpetuating culture of poverty which fails to consider that much of this culture is, in fact, a realistic adaptation or at least an understandable reaction to the particular situation in which the black people find themselves. A solid and sympathetic study that should soon be bedecking most sociology reading lists.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1969
ISBN: 0226315762
Publisher: Columbia University Press