Getting the Holy Ghost.
Urban Ethnography in a Brooklyn
Pentecostal Tongue-Speaking Church
As America finds itself embroiled in constant debate over religion, secularization and political difference — and as spiritually fueled tongue-speaking charismatic churches spread exponentially across the United States, challenging many mainstream ideas, particularly in big-city ghettos — this manuscript titled Getting the Holy Ghost: Experiences in an American Tongue-Speaking Church focuses on Pentecostalism in late modernity. The book carries an ethnographic signature in approach and style, concerning an examination of a large Brooklyn, New York African American community Pentecostal church congregation and is based on a unique set of data: dozens of ethnographic notes taken over the course of almost four years in New York City. It’s an ethnography, but a unique one, built on participant observation of a Pentecostal church that is known to outsiders almost exclusively for its members’ “bizarre” habit of speaking in tongues. Getting the Holy Ghost, however, puts those outsiders inside the church pews, as it paints a portrait of piety, compassion, caring, love — all embraced through an embodiment perspective, as the church’s members experience these forces in the most personal ways through religious conversion. My book concerns the notion of “spectacle” because of the grand bodily display that is highlighted by spiritual struggle, social aspiration, punishment and spontaneous explosion of a variety of emotions in the public sphere. This work is an inspiring construct that provides both an historical and theoretical overview of the sociological work on religion, race, gender, post-modernity and the Weberian concept of charisma as central analytical frames.
youth school and community violence:
understanding the process of becoming violent
Univeristy of missouri -St. Louis College of Arts and Sciences Research Award: $ 12,000 renewable every year
The objective of this research is to create a theoretical model explaining the individual causes of youth violence that takes into account the role of gendered identities and the narrative accounts of youths concerning their own involvement in violence. Specifically, the goal is to understand the role of “masculinity” and “femininity” in adolescent violence using the self-reported accounts of young people to explain the sequential process of how and why (reasons, motivations, explanations, and causes) a person moves from non-violent to violent. This research fills gaps of past scholarship on youth violence that focuses on prevalence and prevention giving little, if any, attention to the actual causes of violence. Past scholarship on youth violence tends to focus almost exclusively on young men where young women are largely seen as passive victims and denied agency. Recent research has focused on young women sparking much needed debate to understand how gender, in particular hegemonic male and female identities, influences adolescent violence. Other scholars emphasize the importance of giving youth authorship over their own experiences of violence in their schools and communities. The proposed research will have a qualitative and quantitative component. Qualitative in-depth interviews will be used to interpret and expand the quantitative component and vice versa. The way in which the two components interact is described in the proposal. The qualitative research component will use
police culture and practices in the new orleans police department: notes from the inside
This study examines the relationship between the creation of a distinct police subculture and a culture of violence that has far reaching implications for both individual police and those subject to policing. Two main reasons prompt my interest in this study. First, the study of police culture and its impact on urban policing remains largely undeveloped. Sociologists who began studying police culture vaguely defined the concept with themes such as suspicion, isolation/solidarity, conservatism, machismo attitudes, racial prejudice, and pragmatism (Skolnick 1966). More recent scholarship offers still vague concepts that describe police culture as cynical and disregarding due process (Prenzler 1997). Other scholars have written on changing police cultures focusing on themes such as morality, solidarity, and common sense (Crank 2004). Still, the notion of police culture remains vague and underdeveloped in the social sciences. Further, what studies exist in this topic fail to take into account the perspectives of the police, ignoring their own narrative voice in their understanding of police culture.
Second, this concept of New Orleans “police culture” has been largely scrutinized in the local and national mainstream media. This negative publicity often sensationalizes and exaggerates police culture as monolithic – as if there is one understandable culture that all police ascribe to unproblematically. One rare academic study on police culture in New Orleans titled Black Rage in New Orleans argues that the New Orleans Police Department is one of the most “brutal, corrupt, and incompetent police units in the United States in the postwar period,” especially in the mid-1990s (2010).
Again, police culture is applied without any real understanding of what this concept means, how it develops, and how it is maintained over time. Treating police culture as a never changing, static culture fails to take into account various political, social, economic, and institutional changes that shape and transform police culture, e.g. how police culture changed from pre- to post-Katrina.
The purpose of this study is to understand relationship between the notion of “police culture” and police practices in the New Orleans Police Department. This work will consider police culture from both an individual and institutional level showing how various social and political factors shape and are shaped by police culture. This work will also focus on the narrative accounts of police officers and how they understand police culture and how this understanding influences their ideas and behaviors in everyday policing.