Analysis : ' The Game Room '

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Bourgois’ ethnography delved deep into the everyday lives of a pocket of society situated in El Barrio (also commonly referred to as East Harlem). Through permanently situating himself and his family within the illicit underground culture, he developed a string of firm friendships with drug dealers, crack addicts, and individuals emotionally defeated through the corrupt employment chain of New York. Bourgois adopted a relatively humanistic anthropological approach to gathering fieldwork, being granted permission to freely record, photograph and observe the inner-workings of life amongst ‘The Game Room’ (an illegal hand-to-hand centre for crack distribution) and its patrons. A humanistic approach is defined by anthropologist John T. Omohundro as “striving to understand, engage with, and sometimes celebrate, defend, evaluate, or protect another way of life rather than to explain it” (2008, p.414). Such actions can be noted within Bourgois’ ethnography, as he seeks to shine light upon a culture largely shunned and ignored by its surrounding locale.
A prominent strength to Bourgois’ ethnographic research was his immense personal integration into the community of El Barrio. Through moving into an apartment alongside his wife and newborn child (who was born within the duration of Bourgois’ five year research period), Bourgois himself became, to an extent, a part of the local population, eating at the same restaurants, visiting the same ice cream parlors and supermarkets, and

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