Social Control And Its Impact On America 's Public Housing Essay

1658 Words7 Pages
Promised a helping hand, security, and affordable living, residents of Chicago’s public housing soon found themselves in dilapidated, drug-infested, crime-filled, isolated centers of despair. During a time in which most American citizens could easily turn their eyes from the struggles of the poor, Sudhir Venkatesh’s Gang Leader for a Day took readers into the depths of the world in which the poor resided. Through Venkatesh’s work, readers are inadvertently introduced to broader sociological concepts such as, collective efficacy within communities, the concentration effect, recurring themes of morality, and the underlying power of race, class, and gender as it related to the crime that took place during Venkatesh’s ethnographic like research. Collective efficacy is defined as social control exerted by cohesive communities in which there exists a mutual trust and shared responsibilities including the care of children (Siegel, 2011). When a neighborhood, or in this case a building complex, has high collective efficacy it is believed to lower crime rates because the community members are essentially setting the standards for the behavior for what will and what will not be accepted. However, in Gang Leader for a Day, I have noticed a deviation. The people who lived in the Robert Taylor homes had been there for years, take women such as Ms. Mae and Ms. Bailey for example. Neighbors knew neighbors, children were taken care of by other neighbors, and there were respected and
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