Floating City

Floating City

A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York's Underground Economy

Book - 2013
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Based on Venkatesh's interviews with New York City prostitutes and socialites, immigrants and academics, high end drug bosses and street-level dealers, "Floating City" exposes the underground as the city's true engine of social transformation and economic prosperity--revealing a wholly unprecedented vision of New York. A remarkable memoir of sociological investigation.
Publisher: New York : The Penguin Press, 2013
ISBN: 9781594204166
1594204160
Characteristics: 287 pages ; 25 cm

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bibliotecarria Jan 04, 2016

A different type of book than the author's lauded Gang Leader for a Day, Floating City explores Venkatesh's complicated relationship with his work as an urban ethnographer as much as it describes those he studies. As a new arrival to New York City, Venkatesh struggles to understand an environment much more fluid and global than his previous home, Chicago, ultimately realizing that the paradigms he relied on previously may not serve his work well in New York. He questions his own motives for his work and sees his role as research scientist in difficult situations increasingly unclear. Throughout this time, the fascinating people he studies - Shine, Margot, Analise, Angela, and more - offer him much more than data for his work. It is through these relationships that Venkatesh both questions and comes to understand himself.

I enjoyed learning about Venkatesh's process as an urban ethnographer in New York, and I appreciated that he shared his uncertainties and vulnerabilities with us. I found it interesting to read about the sometimes thin line between sociology and journalism, which Venkatesh's colleagues at Columbia often warned him about. If you're interested in a thoughtful, behind-the-scenes look into sociological field work, try Floating City!

w
wind2448
Feb 25, 2014

Riding off the coattails of his 1st book, Gang Leader For A Day, the author basically writes another book and makes it literally all about himself and his problems. That coupled with his apparent support for crime by saying that people have no choice to be prostitutes and drug dealers and society NEEDS them, made this book boring and hardly readable. He even has reviews for Gang Leader on the back of this new book--all in all a very lame attempt at keeping the popularity of that first effort going. If he feels compelled to write another slop fest of a book, I won't be reading it.

msmigels Jan 11, 2014

Too much self-promotion; too many sentences beginning with β€œI” as the subject or β€œme” as the object. Sudhir is not a disinterested researcher, but very involved with his subjects. Thus, this reads much more interestingly as mainstream journalism than professional sociology.

hgeng63 Nov 01, 2013

Readable but shallow "portrait" of NY's illicit sex trade, Shine the drug dealer, & Venkatesh's identity crisis. Disappointing.

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