Philippe Bourgois is currently the Richard Perry University Professor of Anthropology and Family and Community Medicine, in the departments of Anthropology and Family Medicine and Community Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. Bourgois received a B.A. (1978) in Social Studies from Harvard College. He received an M.A. (1980) in Anthropology and an M.A. (1980) in Development Economics, both from Stanford University. He was also awarded a Ph.D. (1985) in Anthropology from Stanford University. During 1985-1986 he spent time as a post-doc at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, France.
Bourgois cites his research interests as global political economy, urban anthropology, medical anthropology, substance abuse, HIV prevention, violence, ethnicity and immigration, inner city social suffering and ethnography. He has been involved in ongoing participant-observation fieldwork from 1979 to the present, focusing on “Latino/a immigrants, inner city United States, Puerto Rican diaspora, Central America and the Western Caribbean” (Bourgois’ personal website). Much of his fieldwork, research and writing have focused on structural and ethnic power hierarchies as well as social problems related to inner city apartheid, and often involve fieldwork among people who are near to the bottom of the hierarchy.
Philippe Bourgois has been influenced by postmodern anthropology, specifically the works and critiques of Eric Wolf (Haanstad 2001). Public intellectuals such as Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, and Pierre Bourdieu have also influenced Bourgois's active engagement in applied anthropology (Haanstad 2001). Sounds plausible to me. I expect you will go forth an develop this further.
Ethnicity at Work: Divided Labor on a Central American Banana Plantation Edit
Bourgois’s first of two ethnographies offered a detailed and historical look at the Central American banana industry of the twentieth century. Bourgois argues that a constantly changing “[…] ethnic occupational hierarchy” has been one of the most important determinants of social power in the Panamanian-Costa Rican banana industry (Rodriguez 1991:3). And what does that mean? Paraphrase with explanation. Ethnicity at Work was “[…] the first book-length analysis of the ethnically complex reality of Central America’s Atlantic lowlands” (Gudmundson 1990:349). Para with develop. Ethnicity at Work is recognized for providing this new information as well as a new ethnohistory of the region’s banana industry worker force.
In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio Edit
In his second ethnography, In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio (1995) Bourgois is concerned with showing the effects of structural inequality and social marginalization in the United States. Bourgois presents a detailed look at the lives of Puerto Rican crack cocaine dealers and users living in East Harlem from the 1985 through 1991. He provides the reader with verbatim narratives taken from his conversations with drug dealers, police officers (who occasionally mistook him for a drug addict), and drug users (Bourgois 2003). Bourgois’s approach to ethnography has been influential within the field of anthropology. This ethnography especially has often been recognized for its originality in participant-observation fieldwork having been conducted in a difficult environment that often placed Bourgois in dangerous situations. OK: So it was special only because he was in danger, or was there something else important? In Search of Respect was also perceived to be important because it focused on the lives of people who are marginalized within the context of mainstream United States society who have not often been part of ethnographic fieldwork. According to whom?
Since 2007 Bourgois has been working among Puerto Rican street-based ?? street based? youth in North Philadelphia. He has also conducted follow-up visits in previous fieldwork locations. This includes visits to the children of Puerto Rican crack dealers in East Harlem and visits to banana workers in Panama and Costa Rica, among other ongoing work.
So far so good. This is in good shape to develop. I would say one thing I would like to know more about is who uses his work and how? You have all these things that interest him above (urban anth, post modern anth). What does that mean? How does it influence his work? As it is, I can sort of see how he'd be famous for choosing a difficult subject, but not for doing something with that subject. In particular I can see how post modernism would be good for seeing the value in what he chooses to study. But is that all we have going on? This needs to be developed.
1995 - In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio
1990 - Ethnicity at Work: Divided Labor on a Central American Banana Plantation
1981 Class, Ethnicity, and the State among the Miskitu Amerindians of Northeastern
Nicaragua. Latin American Perspectives 8(2):22-39.
1986 The Miskitu of Nicaragua: Politicized Ethnicity. Anthropology Today 2(2):4-9.
1988 Conjugated Oppression: Class and Ethnicity among Guaymi and Kuna Banana Workers.
American Ethnologist 15(2):328-348.
1989a Crack in Spanish Harlem: Culture and Economy in the Inner City. Anthropology Today
1989b Ethnicity at Work: Divided Labor on a Central American Banana Plantation. Baltimore:
Johns Hopkins University Press.
1990 Confronting Anthropological Ethics: Ethnographic Lessons from Central America.
Journal of Peace Research 27(1):43-54.
1996 Confronting Anthropology, Education, and Inner-City Apartheid. American
Bourgois, Philippe, with Mark Lettiere and James Quesada
1997 Social Misery and the Sanctions of Substance Abuse: Confronting HIV Risk among
Homeless Heroin Addicts in San Francisco. Social Problems 44(2):155-173.
2003 In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio (2nd edition). New York and Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
2005 Bringing the Past into the Present: Family Narratives of Holocaust, Exile, and Diaspora:
Missing the Holocaust: My Father’s Account of Auschwitz from August 1943 to June
1944. Anthropological Quarterly 78(1):89-123.
2006 Reinterpreting Ethnic Patterns among White and African American Men Who Inject
Heroin: A Social Science of Medicine Approach. Public Library of Science (PLoS)
1990 Review of Ethnicity at Work: Divided Labor on a Central American Banana
Plantation. Journal of Latin American Studies 22(2):439-440.
1997 Review of In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio. The Journal of the Royal
Anthropological Institute 3(2):377-378.
1990 Review of Ethnicity at Work: Divided Labor on a Central American Banana Plantation.
The Hispanic American Historical Review 70(2):349-350.
2001 Being a Public Anthropologist: An Interview with Philippe Bourgois. Public
j/Wisconsin/Bourgint.htm, accessed March 8, 2009.
Harrison, Faye Venetia
2008 Outsider Within: Reworking Anthropology in the Global Age. Illinois: University of
1997 Review of In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio. American Ethnologist
Pearson, Charles and Philippe Bourgois
1995 Hope to Die a Dope Fiend. Cultural Anthropology 10(4):587-593.
Philippe Bourgois’ Personal Website, 2009. http://www.philippebourgois.net
Rodriguez, Nestor P.
1991 Review of Ethnicity at Work: Divided Labor on a Central American Banana Plantation.
The American Journal of Sociology 97(1):235-237.
1996 Review of In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio. Anthropology & Education
1996 Review of In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio. Contemporary Sociology
1991 Review of Ethnicity at Work: Divided Labor on a Central American Banana Plantation. Theme Issue “Slavery in the New World,” Theory and Society 20(3)393-401.