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Revista de Sociologia e Política

On-line version ISSN 1678-9873


GOMEZ, Joaquín Santiago. The experience of delinquency in two alternative ethnographic approaches. Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2011, vol.19, n.40, pp.255-271. ISSN 1678-9873.

In this essay I present a critical review of three ethnographies dealing with the experience of delinquency in contemporary societies. As is common practice, I look at how they define their object and carry out their work, but most importantly, focus on what I understand as radically different ways of constructing the field. I look specifically at the different place that the "criminal act" has in these anthropological works, which leads me to locate Daniel Míguez' recent work in Argentina within alternative methodologies; something similar can be said regarding Alba Zaluar and Marcos Alvito's ethnographies, carried out in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. Finally, in a last section, I discuss the creative relationship - although not explicitly recognized in the ethnographies I look at - that the Brazilian works may have with Michel Foucault (a relationship that is more evident in other authors, such as Michel Misse, whose work may also be included in this perspective). In this manner, I attempt to direct critical attention to approaches that, while offering valuable contributions on particular issues, remain blind to the same phenomena that conventional criminology ignores, since they also construct their field research around the notion of "delinquency".

Keywords : delinquency; Ethnography; Criminology; construction; Rio de Janeiro.

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