Reddit Reddit reviews Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets

We found 39 Reddit comments about Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

Ethnic & National Biographies
African-American & Black Biographies
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets
Penguin Books
Check price on Amazon

39 Reddit comments about Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets:

u/sweadle · 2026 pointsr/NoStupidQuestions

There aren't as many very large, highly organized gangs as there were in the 80's and 90's. Those functioned more like a black market business. The goal was to make money, gain territory, and move up in the hierarchy.

Now that a lot of the head guys were taken down, the gangs splintered and are much smaller, and less organized. In Chicago where I live, gang territories are very small and gangs run a corner, but the whole south side or north side isn't split between the People and Folks, across the line. There is tons of infighting between cliques that are technically affiliated with the same larger group.

Gang leaders are not as often powerful black market CEOs, but more than likely an 18 or 19 year old kid running a group of 20 kids.

Dismantling the gangs in the 90's actually really increased violent crime in the city, because the focus is no longer on making money. There aren't level headed guys at the top telling people to quit it with petty violence, because body counts are bad for business.

Most homicides in Chicago are not related to the drug trade, but to some little slight or disrespect, a $20 loan, someone flirting with someone else's girl.

If you'd like to really learn what gangs today are like I'd suggest Gang Leader for A Day

To understand some more of the structures of violence and gangs I really highly recommend The Interrupters

If you want to understand what gangs were like at the height of their influence, in the 80's and 90's, there's nothing better than The Wire. But that shows a reality that no longer really exists.

The exception is the Latino gangs that are trafficking drugs into the US. They are HIGHLY organized and very disciplined in their use of violence. If you'd like a snapshot of this, I'd recommend Sin Nombre

And if I may briefly stand on my soapbox, please be aware that if you buy your (illegal) drugs from anywhere but a legal pot dispensary, it's very likely that you ARE supporting the highly organized Latino gangs that are ruthless and violent. It's difficult to harmlessly buy black market drugs, unless you personally know your grower.

u/kodt · 13 pointsr/chicago

There are no Children Here

Gang Leader for a Day

Hoop Dreams - Also a very good documentary film.

u/fdsa4327 · 8 pointsr/The_Donald

Chicago gang life is essentially a shadow government keeping its own brand of order in the ghetto, its pretty scary in some ways, but also actually really interesting to read that there really are "rules" and people enforcing the rules....

here's an interesting book about a university of chicago sociologist who hung out with them for a while.

good read

u/Phrenzy · 6 pointsr/news

Or read the book they were talking about: Gang Leader for a Day.

u/flossettosset · 5 pointsr/Denmark

>Tak, men det er ikke helt rigtigt. Der er lande der håndterer det fint. USA, Canada osv. Jeg kan ikke tage hele kreditten alene.

1 ud af 3 sorte amerikanere vil ryge i fængsel i løbet af deres liv. Sorte og latino bander der får LTF til at ligne spejderdrenge. L.A. urolighederne med 53 døde. Ghettoer i alle storbyer. White flight. Gated communities. Osv. Ja, det går sgu rigtig godt i USA.

Det går lidt bedre i Canada, men de har også store problemer med ghettoer hvor de etniske minoriteter bor.

>Der kan sagtens blive bygget boliger til 100.00 mennesker på et år

Ja, lad os bygge en masse store bygninger hvor vi kan placere alle disse udlændinge. Vi kan kalde det Gellerup v2.0. Det har vi jo gode erfaringer med.

>Det er ligesom med alle andre varer, mangler er altid et resultat af regulering.

Fordi finanseringen er noget der kommer fra gud?


>Bandekriminalitet er bare business, og hele levegrundlaget afhænger af salg af stoffer.

Ja, fordi 1 sociolog har gået rundt og snakket med et par bandemedlemmer og derefter skrevet et par bøger om det, MÅ det jo bare være sådan. Er hans bog og påstande blevet peer-reviewed? At tro man kan udrydde bandekriminalitet ved at liberalisere narkolovgivningen er dybt naivt. Tror du virkelig at Jønke og Lille A vil opgive deres kriminelle levevej, droppe de store biler, dropper magten, droppe pengene ved kriminalitet og i stedet for få sig et arbejde. Kriminalitet vil altid eksistere, og det samme vil bander.

Og hvis man er fræk, kunne man jo spørge, om det var stoffer der fik denne sociolog til at fuske med bilagene som han nu engang gjorde.

u/WhyIsYosarionNaked · 5 pointsr/booksuggestions this is about a sociology student who had the opportunity to follow gangs around in the ghetto and lead them for a day

u/CaduceusRex · 3 pointsr/chicago

I think you'd really enjoy this book then; it's about a grad student who spent some time observing the gangs at the Robert Taylor homes for his research.

u/twoambien · 3 pointsr/nfl

good book on this general topic

he asked people and families that, their answer was that the projects are what they know, where their friends and family are, where they fit in. some tried moving to the suburbs and didn't like it.

u/SheikYobooti · 3 pointsr/chicago

Check out Gang Leader for a Day

While it might not get in to specifics for your project, you may find more resources. If you do have the time, it's a great read.

u/vaevictius2u · 3 pointsr/books

Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets is a great book. It focuses on a Chicago gang.

u/sunyudai · 3 pointsr/politics

I'm going to respond to this in pieces.

> What I mean by that is when someone has an addiction or commits a crime, they want to blame society instead of themselves. It's always someone else's fault.

I'm not sure which way to interpret this. Are you saying that the criminal is blaming society, or that the liberals are blaming society for that criminal's behavior?

If it is the criminal, then yes, that's an issue, but that's an issue regardless of party.

If you are saying that the liberals want to blame society, then I don't think that is quite correct. If someone commits a crime, then they should be caught, evidence gathered, and if found guilty they should be punished and then rehabilitated. There's argument over the ratio of punishment versus rehabilitation, as to an extent those are separate things.

If there is an upward trend in crime, particularly among a particular group or area however, then we need to ask the question of why. All to often society is a factor here - poverty increases crime in two ways:

  • Desperate people are more likely to commit crimes, as the immediate need for food/safety/whatever outweighs the abstract fear of punishment in their minds.
  • Poverty decreases intelligence: - the stress on the mind of simply being poor impairs decision making. Not only do you get more crime, but you also get more poorly-planned crime.

    Neither of those points releases the individual who committed the crime from responsibility, but it's also important to acknowledge that so long as the factors exist that promote crime within that group/community/area, then it will continue to be a problem.

    I strongly suggest reading this book: - it gives a very in depth view of how poor urban economies work, how it promotes crime, and really highlights the balance behind that issue.

    > If someone tried breaking into your house and you shoot them, they seem to want to blame you for something.

    I've seen a few cases of this, but really not many. Most of the time it seems to be more of a people thing than a particular party thing - for the flip side, any time there is a police shooting of a black male, the conservatives try to paint him as a thug, a criminal, or a gangster.

    > If there's a shooting, people want to blame the gun and not the person wielding it.

    For this one, the only response I can make is OH HELL NO. This is pure NRA/FOX News pandered bullshit, and not the view of anybody but the outside fringe of the left.

    Guns, like all weapons, are a force multiplier. Nothing more, nothing less.

    For a mass shooting to happen, three things need to exist:

  • Intent - if no one wants a mass shooting, then there won't be one.
  • Opportunity - if someone intending a mass shooting can't find a target, then there won't be one.
  • Effect - once they have intent and opportunity, how much damage can they do?

    If one of those things does not exist, then there can't be a mass shooting. Both of these break down further into different factors:

  • Intent:
  • Mental Health can be a major driver. We can't completely eliminate this factor, but adequate funding of mental health institutions, de-stigmatising mental health issues, and encouraging people to seek treatment can all mitigate this. Conservatives block all three of those efforts: mental health institutions face funding cuts under the umbrella of "Social welfare" cuts, De-stigmatizing got caught up in the asinine anti-pc backlash, and and encouraging people to seek treatment gets lost amidst the difficulty to find adequate treatment amidst and under-funded and poorly organized mental health system.
  • Terrorism. This isn't as big of an issue as the media makes it out to be, but it is definitely a threat. This comes down to a balance - strong enough central government and security state to catch terrorists, but not so strong central government or security state in order to impinge on the rights of innocents. There is no good solution to that balance, and everybody is going to have a different opinion of where to draw that line. At either extreme, you can't eliminate it entirely... however, one way you
    can mitigate it without infringing on the rights of citizens is to keep relationships between the government and various communities positive - most would be terrorists who are caught are caught because of tips from their friends or family.
  • Opportunity:
  • If they can't come up with a target, then intent doesn't matter. Good luck preventing a bad actor from finding a target in today's world.
  • Effect:
  • Once they have a target, then force multipliers come into play. This is where guns are involved: A bad actor with a knife is unlikely to do as much damage as a bad actor with a gun. A bad actor with a gun is unlikely to do as much damage as a bad actor with access to large enough explosives. And so on up the chain.

    The force multiplier thing is another "Where do you draw the line" issue. We can pretty much all agree that random people on the street shouldn't have easy access to ICBMs with nuclear warheads - that would be both absurd and insane. Likewise, we can all pretty-much agree that we don't want to live in a world where kitchen knives have regulated maximum sharpness and require licenses to own. That would also be absurd. The question is, between those two absurd extremes, where do we draw the line?

    Another factor to consider is, where it makes sense to draw that line? Varies regionally. Particularly, urban versus country.

    Mental health issues are similar between the two, but terrorists are going to be more drawn to urban environments (Bigger targets, more impact), and likewise there is more opportunity in urban environments. So intent and opportunity are both bigger factors in urban environments (which run liberal), and there's little we can do about that (We're trying). Therefore, the Effect is what is getting attention. This is why the point that makes sense differs between urban, suburban, and rural - and where I feel the biggest national divide on gun issues lays.

    Policies that make sense in urban environments make little sense in rural environments, and vice versa.

    We know that there will always be bad actors, there will often be intent, and there will almost always be opportunities - so we want to mitigate how effective these mass shooters can be. You have to get pretty close to the left fringe before that line is "ban all guns".


    Ah, sorry to talk your ear off here - but I think you are operating under a misapprehension about what the liberal stance actually is in that regard. I know we get portrayed that way, but it's no more accurate than the "All conservatives hate women's rights" stereotype.
u/mods_can_suck_a_dick · 3 pointsr/worldpolitics

For me, it was a hipster friend of mine. We would debate politics and I had an answer for everything but really I was just repeating things I had heard my whole life. He finally said "You know what, you are a horrible person!" I was like wtf and he just walked away. Rather than feeling like I had won the argument, my feelings were hurt and I went home and thought for a long time about why he would think I was a horrible person. I started to notice things that I did and the way I treated people. I really was an asshole. I started to question my view of the world. I had traveled half way around the world and had seen a bunch of things that I now realized didn't really jive with what I had been taught.

Before that I had never questioned what I had been taught but the more people I met (especially educated people) the more I realized that my ideas of people and cultures and race were totally fucking wrong. It took a lot of effort to "reprogram" myself. You have to pay attention to your thoughts and question them and analyze them. It was a bitch at first but you get used to it. That was about 11 years ago and I still have to check myself sometimes.

Edit: A friend of mine in grad school recommended a book. It was the first chip in the wall for changing my view of black people. I realized that people, regardless of their race, are just going through their life and trying to make the best of their situation, just like me.

Gang Leader for a day

u/Aramz833 · 3 pointsr/Documentaries

>Gangs are for adults who never grew up

If you have any interest in actually understanding the composition and function of gangs I recommend reading Gang Leader for a Day. Here is a brief article about the book.

u/_vikram · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

I'm going to recommend Gang Leader for a Day. It's a memoir of a sociology PhD student studying the Chicago projects. His highly personal interactions with its residents -- who ranged from drug dealers and prostitutes to store owners and mechanics -- allowed him to gain unprecedented access to a world that those outside of it barely understood.

His anecdotes brought his cast of characters life: JT, the regional head of the Black Kings gang who justified his crack-cocaine deals were good for his community because he was taking money from society's dregs and redistributing it to the project; or Autry Harrison, a former pimp who severed his formal gang ties to become a Boys & Girls club director; or Officer Jerry, the crooked cop who stole from the project's residents and even threatened Sudhir on numerous occasions if he ever published his research; or Taneesha, who attempted a career as a model while attending college at night before her jealous "manager" beat her badly for signing a contract with a legitimate agency. Although I felt like I was reading the script to a movie at times, this highlighted to me my ignorance of what life in the Robert Taylor Homes project was like.

My primary issue with the work was a lack of discussion about his research itself. He would write, a few times, something like (I'm paraphrasing here) "everything about sociological theory says X, but what I've witnessed is Y" without delving into the details. These moments peppered throughout his narrative would have allowed for a somewhat more formal discourse by introducing some interesting ideas about what sociologists think and how his research differs. His published research must discuss these issues at depth, but an informal, less pedantic approach could have been incorporated into this book.

u/warm_sweater · 2 pointsr/Portland

This book may interest you:

No affiliation with it, other than I read it a few years ago and it was really interesting.

u/Pro-Patria-Mori · 2 pointsr/CasualConversation

"Horns"is a terrible movie, but not as bad as "Tusk". "In the Name of the King is the worst movie I've ever seen, derivative drivel of plot craters and just terrible storyline, script, acting, and directing. I was so disappointed. It's kind of funny how both Ray Liotta and Jason Statham started their careers in awesome movies and then just couldn't maintain consistent quality.

Sorry for the rant.

"Gang Leader For A Day" gives a glimpse of life in a gang controlled project tenement in Chicago. A sociology student at University of Chicago befriended the gang leader and got unrestricted access to the inner workings and daily life.

It's not just about the gang, although the author led the gang leader into thinking he was doing a biography on him. The book is also about the day to day lives of people living in poverty in the inner city.

u/MiserableFungi · 2 pointsr/writing

With your question framed specifically in the context of a totalitarian state, not sure how different you'd want it to be from North Korea. For what its worth, you might want to check out the works of Sudhir Venkatesh for a more academic treatment of illegal economic systems. Here is a short TED talk from his academic co-author, Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame, talking about what its like to be a drug dealer in an inner city gang.

u/koalaberries · 2 pointsr/WTF

If this interests you, then you should read Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets, the book written by Sudhir Venkatesh (the sociologist from the article) about the Black Disciples (the gang from the article.) I just finished it a month or so ago and it was fantastic.

u/gfds1 · 2 pointsr/The_Donald

chicago has been shit like this for decades

its like fucking mad max with a quasi criminal warlord state in the ghetto there. if you want to read an interesting book about the batshit insanity of it, check this out

u/pondering_stuff5 · 2 pointsr/videos

>So he failed to consider that those crack dealers or drug dealers or gangsters are trying, in some twisted bumfuck way to try and get themselves out of the situation by slinging crack at the corner. Nobody was born with a desire for a hard life. When your whole family is in tatters and there is no generational wealth to inherit except bloodshed and poverty and undereducation, when the only option to get out of the hood is via a body bag or peddling dope, when the only heroes one has growing up is either in jail or absent and the whole neighbourhood is a fucking ghetto spliced with the thunderdome, how does one expect to have upward mobility?

I seriously think people fail to understand that for many people who grow up in these situations, selling drugs and a life of crime has more opportunity in it then going to school and getting a job. The book [Gang Leader for a Day] ( by [Sudhir Venkatesh] ( has an in depth description of a man who grows up in the ghetto, goes to college, gets a white collar full time job and then comes back to his home because he see's no opportunities for him to make real wealth at his full time job. More importantly, his book shows you how fucked up and intricate gangs are to both supporting and bringing down these communities. I really suggest anybody read it who wants to have a better understanding of why a life of crime looks like a better option for so many young people.

Ultimately this video, and anything that says "if black people just stopped _ then __ wouldn't happen" is simplifying something that is so much more complex. Life is not black and white (no pun in intended).

u/BurningShell · 2 pointsr/news

Yeah, I think I read that one. About 180 degrees from our situation here, at least my building/neighborhood. At least as far as I know - I just might be a blind idiot, but I don't think I could be quite that myopic.

u/mrbooze · 1 pointr/WTF

If you're really curious about gang life in Chicago, a UofC professor basically embedded himself with Chicago gangs for seven years to observe them and wrote a book about his observations.

u/mclairy · 1 pointr/JoeRogan

It isn’t exactly the same, but “Gang Leader for a Day” is fantastic:

u/ExplainItBetter · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

As others have said, the primary reason is gang violence. There are areas where you have no choice to NOT be in a gang. By simply living on a particular block, you are associated with a certain crew.

To get a better idea of what it is like in some areas, listen to This American Life, Harper High School

Also, try reading There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America by Alex Kotlowitz and Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to The Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh

u/Existential_Owl · 1 pointr/AskAnAmerican

Most of the commonly cited problems caused by "immigration" in our country are, in actuality, caused by the drug trade.

Reduce the country's reliance on drug importation, you reduce the influence of the cartels and the gangs.

As sociologists have pointed out, gangs exist, not to form some sort of mythical "hispanic/black menace", but because the gang system mirrors the McDonald's franchise model for supply and distribution (with the cartels standing at the top of the c-suite).

If Mexico is failing to "send their best", it's because of drugs. Take care of the drug problem, and you take care of most of the problems with "bad immigration" (i.e., drug mules and drug runners).

u/SandyRegolith · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

These and lots more questions are answered in a very interesting book, Gang Leader For A Day whose author literally went through the account books of a gang. Fun fact: they often pay for the funerals of people they've killed.

u/mrfancytophat · 1 pointr/GymMemes

If I recall correctly, Sudhir claims that 54% of users he observed in the South Side of Chicago back in the 1980's were actually functioning.

u/[deleted] · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Well, I've lived in a pretty gang-ridden area but I'm from Australia so it's different here. I've never observed it to be the case here.

But from what I've read about ghettos in America, that's how it works. Could it be that you didn't receive any assistance from any gangs because you stayed away from them? I imagine it would be different if you grew up as a black kid in a public housing block in the ghetto. Though maybe you did and I'm just wrong. I mostly got this info from reading a book called Gang Leader for a Day.

u/large-farva · 1 pointr/chicago

> Hope the elders of those cliques squash this shit soon.

Seriously, even the gang leaders that ran robert taylor homes and cabrini green understood that shootings are no good for anybody.

edit: for chicagoans that haven't read gang leader for a day, I suggest it. Good read of how an understaffed Chicago PD and gang members used to work together to make a "uneasy pact" of sorts.

u/WienerCircle · 1 pointr/chicago

Maybe this doesn't fit, but if you're looking to learn more about it Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets provides some really great insights into the gang community and how the day-to-day is run as well as the community efforts the gang bring in an effort to deter being reported to the police

u/Hutterscutch · 1 pointr/whatsthatbook

Gang Leader for a Day is now on my must-read list, but it's not the book I was thinking of. This was 2003-4 that I took the class.

The cover is brighter. Like a vibrant contrast-y orange/yellow and bright lighter shade of blue.

u/_espy_ · 1 pointr/IAmA

For some reason, reading this and the comments/questions below made me think of the book Gang Leader For A Day by Sudhir Venkatesh. Some really interesting insight on the sociology of gangs in Chicago and it reads really fucking well for a non fiction book. I felt like I was just reading a story instead of some dry set of facts. I highly recommend this book.

u/wnchlsw · 1 pointr/news

Crime has been down so far this year, but that's due to the weather, not policing. In Chicago shootings are correlated to temperature. It's unfortunate, but immediately after thinking about how nice the weather is, "how many people will get shot tonight?" is in the back of your head.

There are a few programs/organizations that temper the violence. [Cure Violence] ( known as CeaseFire) and Blocks Together both try to intervene to prevent escalation. But this problem is too big for any not for profit or politician's pet project.

The violence in Chicago is one of the many layers (or symptoms) to systematic social inequalities. Chicago politicians have been very good at throttling money going into developing these neighborhoods (the CPS school closings for instance), and draining any money that does go into these neighborhoods. Chicago is a microcosm of the relationship between the IMF and "developing" countries.

Check out these books if interested in learning more -
Great American City by Robert J. Sampson and Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh

u/pungkrocker · 1 pointr/news

Nice! I am glad they are not fronting with it. The chicago book was written by a sociologist who spent time with a gang that was deling crack. Very interesting. Glad you don't see it. In his case the whole neighbour hood knew about it and you couldn't really separate their lives from the crack gang.

Edit: This is the book im referring to: Gang Leader for a day

u/dontspamjay · 1 pointr/audiobooks

Ghost in the Wires - The story of famed hacker Kevin Mitnick

Any Mary Roach Book if you like Science

In the Heart of the Sea - The true story behind Moby Dick

The Omnivore's Dilemma - A great walk through our food landscape

Gang Leader for a Day - Behavioral Economist embeds with a Chicago Gang

Shadow Divers - My first audiobook. It's a thriller about a scuba discovery of a Nazi Submarine on the Eastern US coast.

The Devil In The White City - A story about a serial killer at the Chicago World's Fair of 1893

u/Jimcant · 1 pointr/news

If you would seriously like to learn something of the mindset and daily life of a Chicago gang member I would recommend the book, Gang Leader for a Day.

It is basically a sociologist who spends time with a black gang on the south side of Chicago and details the environment and mindset.

u/ssd0004 · 0 pointsr/ProtectAndServe

I realize the Wikipedia article isn't terribly helpful, which is why I linked the story about the NYPD case. I, and many many others (unsurprisingly!) find that case to be extremely disturbing. And of course, there is the infamous Rampart Scandal in the LAPD, involving over 70 officers accused of some form of misconduct (and many felonies), with several cases still being unsolved today. I also read a book many years ago called Gang Leader For A Day, where a U of Chicago graduate student embeds himself within a gang of drug dealers in the local projects, and witnesses rampant police brutality (including instances of robbery and unwarranted searches and beatings).

Of course, I'm sure you can come up with excuses as to why these examples don't worry you (NYPD/LAPD cases were exception, the book is just anecdotal and probably full of lies to sell more copies or whatever). And that's fine, I can't change your mentality. But I think it is important for LEOs to understand that these narratives are out there, that they are very convincing to the general population, and that they're not going to go away.

u/stemgang · -1 pointsr/TwoXChromosomes

> Having grown up on the wrong side of the tracks and having lived in the projects for a time, I found myself deeply conflicted by the author's portrayal of others and himself. In the end he is only somewhat honest with himself about being the biggest hustler of all in the book. How exactly do you eat people's food and sit on their couches and follow them around for six years and in the end say you weren't even friends?

Is that the book you meant? I'm not sure I see the applicability.

> I think you're extrapolating from individual stories from the margins to an inaccurate view of how sexist other cultures are, how static other cultures remain, & how separate immigrants would remain in subsequent generations.

I hope you are right. Perhaps I am overly pessimistic.