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9780674030718

Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor

Venkatesh, Sudhir

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Listen to a short interview with Sudhir Venkatesh Host: Chris Gondek | Producer: Heron & Crane

In this revelatory book, Sudhir Venkatesh takes us into Maquis Park, a poor black neighborhood on Chicago's Southside, to explore the desperate, dangerous, and remarkable ways in which a community survives. We find there an entire world of unregulated, unreported, and untaxed work, a system of living off the books that is daily life in the ghetto. From women who clean houses and prepare lunches for the local hospital to small-scale entrepreneurs like the mechanic who works in an alley; from the preacher who provides mediation services to the salon owner who rents her store out for gambling parties; and from street vendors hawking socks and incense to the drug dealing and extortion of the local gang, we come to see how these activities form the backbone of the ghetto economy.

What emerges are the innumerable ways that these men and women, immersed in their shadowy economic pursuits, are connected to and reliant upon one another. The underground economy, as Venkatesh's subtle storytelling reveals, functions as an intricate web, and in the strength of its strands lie the fates of many Maquis Park residents. The result is a dramatic narrative of individuals at work, and a rich portrait of a community. But while excavating the efforts of men and women to generate a basic livelihood for themselves and their families, Off the Books offers a devastating critique of the entrenched poverty that we so often ignore in America, and reveals how the underground economy is an inevitable response to the ghetto's appalling isolation from the rest of the country.

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About the Author:

Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh is Professor of Sociology and African-American Studies at Columbia University.

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Book Description Harvard University Press, 2009. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: An unsentimental but powerfully human analysis of the webs of underground activity that sustain poor neighborhoods and their residents. Venkatesh gives the lie to the denigrating tropes of shiftlessness, mental dullness, government dependence, and disorganization that have been used to indict families in poverty. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0674030710

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Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 208 x 140 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. In this revelatory book, Sudhir Venkatesh takes us into Maquis Park, a poor black neighbourhood in Chicago s Southside, to explore the desperate, dangerous and remarkable ways in which a community survives. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780674030718

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Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 208 x 140 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. In this revelatory book, Sudhir Venkatesh takes us into Maquis Park, a poor black neighbourhood in Chicago s Southside, to explore the desperate, dangerous and remarkable ways in which a community survives. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780674030718

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