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Sudhir Venkatesh is Williams B. Ransford Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and a UChicago alumnus (PhD ’97). His book, Gang Leader for a Day, received a Best Book award from The Economist and his previous works have received accolades from Slate.com and Publishers Weekly. A contributor to The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, and a frequent guest on NPR, Venkatesh is de facto public intellectual.
Venkatesh joins us at International House to discuss his latest book, Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York’s Underground Economy. In this book, he returns to the streets to connect the dots of New York’s divergent economic worlds and crack the code of the city’s underground economy. Based on interviews with prostitutes and socialites, immigrants and academics, high end drug bosses and street-level dealers, Floating City exposes the underground as the city’s true engine of social transformation and economic prosperity—revealing a wholly unprecedented vision of New York.
A memoir of sociological investigation, Floating City draws from Venkatesh’s decade of research within the affluent communities of Upper East Side socialites and Midtown businessmen, the drug gangs of Harlem and the sex workers of Brooklyn, the artists of Tribeca and the escort services of Hell’s Kitchen. Venkatesh arrived in the city after his groundbreaking research in Chicago, where crime remained stubbornly local: gangs stuck to their housing projects and criminals stayed on their corners. But in Floating City, Venkatesh discovers that New York’s underground economy unites instead of divides inhabitants: a vast network of “off the books” transactions linking the high and low worlds of the city. Venkatesh shows how dealing in drugs and sex and undocumented labor bridges the conventional divides between rich and poor, unmasking a city knit together by the invisible threads of the underground economy.
Author Event Columbia sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh (Gang Leader for a Day) interviews all species of human strata (prostitutes, socialites, academics and high/low level drug dealers) in Floating City, his in-depth look at New York's underground economy. (afegit de Barnes & Noble)