Sudhir Venkatesh: Is Collective Efficacy a Form of Social Exchange? Ethnographic Data on Gun Markets and Housing Mobility in Chicago


Monday, November 2, 2015, 12:00pm to 1:45pm


Harvard Kennedy School: Allison Dining Room

Sudhir VenkateshWilliam B. Ransford Professor in Sociology and the Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University.

This talk will present data from the Multi-City Gun Project, based at the Chicago Crime Lab. MCG is a multi-method project that explores the organization of gun markets in several US cities.

The focus is on the pathways by which guns make it into the hands of violent offenders, and the broader impact of gun-related violence on the local community. This talk presents ethnographic data from recent fieldwork in Chicago, Illinois.

Background reading

Those interested in this work may wish to consult Sudhir Venkatesh's piece ,"What about the Day After? Youth Culture in the Era of 'Law and Order'," chapter 10 in The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth, edited by Orlando Patterson with Ethan Fosse, Harvard University Press, 2015.

About the speaker

Sudhir Venkatesh is William B. Ransford Professor of Sociology and the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. Venkatesh returned to Columbia University recently after serving two years as a Senior Research Adviser to the Department of Justice. 

His most recent book is Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York's Underground Economy (Penguin Press, 2013).  His current research focuses on the transformation of the creative industries, including advertising, media, and design, as a consequence of the rise of digital technologies. He is also ethnographic director of the Multi-City Gun Project.

His earlier books include Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor (Harvard University Press, 2006) about illegal economies in Chicago,  which received a Best Book Award from (2006) as well as the C. Wright Mills Award (2007).

Venkatesh received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago. He was a Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows, Harvard University from 1996-1999. 

See also: Fall 2015