Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh
Penguin Books Limited, $23. Reviewed by TERENCE WOOD
As anyone who’s ever completed a graduate degree can tell you, social science field research is often surprisingly tough. It’s hard not to feel like an intruder or, perhaps more accurately, like part of an extractive industry as you pepper people with questions. It’s easy to feel like a fraud too; the aspiring ‘expert’ who knows less about the topic than your research subjects. Then, depending on where you are, there’s the potential for culture shock, not mention loneliness. From mugging, to malaria, to the chance that your data won’t actually be of any use, the whole enterprise is filled with risks.