From New York to San Francisco, Times Square to the Tenderloin, graffiti artists, young people, radical environmentalists, and the homeless clash with police on city streets in an attempt to take back urban spaces from the developers and 'disneyfiers'. Drawing on more than a decade of first-hand research, this lively account goes inside the worlds of street musicians, homeless punks, militant bicycle activists, high-risk 'BASE jump' parachutists, skateboarders, outlaw radio operators, and hip hop graffiti artists, to explore the day-to-day skirmishes in the struggle over public life and public space.
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JEFF FERRELL is Professor of Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University. He is the foremost practitioner of ethnographic criminology, a field he pioneered. Ferrell has received awards from the American Criminological Association for his research. His acclaimed and widely-reviewed books include Crimes of Style, Cultural Criminology, and Ethnography at the Edge.From Publishers Weekly:
"If I can't dance, it's not my revolution," anarchist Emma Goldman is said to have declared, bringing together the ideals of freedom and pleasure, and her sentiments are echoed by a new wave of grassroots political activism aimed at making streets safe, cities more livable and the environment healthier. This in-depth, wittily written analysis of take-back-the-city activists ranges from graffiti artists who target the "Disnification" of New York City with images of a decapitated Mickey Mouse and the words "Just Say No" to the radical anti-automotive bike group Critical Mass (whose motto is "We Don't Block Traffic. We Are Traffic"), to San Francisco Liberation Radio, which struggles to "free" the air waves. Interweaving political analysis, social history and a semi-gonzo-pop journalism, Ferrell, professor of criminal justice at Northern Arizona University, writes of his own adventures as a graffiti artist, street entertainer and political bicyclist, but places his political commitments in a broad historical and cultural framework that includes discussions of the direct action strategies of the Wobblies, the cultural importance of the 1871 Paris Commune and the political impact of the Sex Pistols, British punk culture and homeless activism. Balancing theory with descriptions and evaluations of actual events New York mayor Giuliani's battle against the nonprofit Housing Works; city campaigns against political Native American graffiti in Denver he provides an energetic and highly informed look at environmental and political movements to nonviolently "reclaim the streets." (Dec.)Forecast: While the movements trying to influence the shape of globalization have been overshadowed by recent events, Ferrell's account of nonviolent activism reveals a humanist core that can be respected regardless of ideology. Readers looking for evidence of what civil liberty means should look no further.
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