Critical Analysis Of Ethnography: The Stickupkids

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Critical Analysis of Ethnography: The StickupKids The StickupKids by Randol Contreras is an ethnography of mid to late 1990’s drug robbers in the Bronx, New York. Contreras studies a group of Dominican men who participate in violent robberies where they steal money and drugs from drug dealers and split the profits amongst themselves and their informants. He offers background into the lives of the main participants and tries to demonstrate to the reader how the people involved went from neighborhood kids, to drug dealers and eventually became drug robbers. The book is centered on a small group of mostly men and one woman, in their mid to late twenties. Contreras documents their lives as they deal drugs, rob drug dealers and commit other crimes. …show more content…
He asserts that as the crack market began to decline the research participants could no longer operate in the same fashion by simply selling crack on the streets. Structural changes shifted the crack economy causing anomie to arise that momentarily uprooted norms before the participants innovated and shifted to stealing from drug dealers. This period of anomie was brief as the people in the study found a new way to make money and adjusted to new norms. However, later in the ethnography they experience an extreme state of anomie boarding on anomic suicide. After drug robbing became no longer lucrative due to a major decline in crack sales and a rising demand for other drugs the world that the participants lived in had change completely. The norms that once dictated their lives had disappeared. They did not have the skills to operate in the new environment, which had a negative psychological impact on them. Further, the participants did not have the means to make money legally, as they had lengthy arrest records and little formal education. The use of anomie as a theoretic explanation of the situation of the participants seems appropriate. Here Contreras is properly applying theory to contextualize the actions of the people in his ethnography. Anomic theory shows helps to demonstrate the structures …show more content…
This helps the research by making it generalizable; these categories could possibly be applied to others in similar contexts (Wilson and Chadda 2009). This also runs the risk of being to simple and not representative of the complexities of the research participants (Waquant 2009), trying to fit them into specific, enclosed categories. However because these categories were created inductively they do appear to be representative and suitable for this ethnography. The first set of categories is that of the participants roles while they are conducting a robbery. Contreras identifies two distinct roles in the drug robbery that must be filled for the robbery to be successful and to create situational social cohesion amongst the drug robbers. The first

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