'Street capital' introduces the worlds of young black men dealing cannabis at a drug scene called The River in Oslo, Norway. The lives of these men are structured by a huge and complex cannabis economy and they are involved in fights, robberies and substance abuse. They lack jobs and education, and many of them do not have family or close friends, yet they do have 'street capital': the knowledge, skills and competence necessary to manage life on the streets.
Centred on this concept of 'street capital', this unique book presents a new theoretical framework - inspired by and expanding on the work of Pierre Bourdieu, the French sociologist - for understanding street cultures. It is based on extensive fieldwork and repeated in-depth interviews with dealers aged between 15 and 30, which explore themes including marginalisation, discrimination, cannabis dealing and drug use, violence, masculinity, hip-hop culture, experiences with the welfare system, and issues of immigration and racism. The book also analyses the discursive practice of marginalised people on the street and identifies the narratives by which these young men live.
Sveinung Sandberg is Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Bergen. He has research experience in areas such as violence, masculinity and social movements.
Willy Pedersen is Professor of Sociology at the University of Oslo. He has extensive research experience in areas such as illegal drug use, violence, social marginalisation, prostitution and sexuality.
Introduction; Trajectories to The River; Street capital; Marginalisation and resistance; Drugs and masculinity; Street dealing and drug markets; Violence and street culture; Between the street and the welfare state; Conclusion.
".....a good edition on any book shelf, specifically for those who are criminologically
or sociologically minded or those who have an interest in Bourdieu or
subcultural theories." Theoretical Criminology
"This book is informative, thought-provoking, sensitive, heart-rending in parts and, in my opinion, an outstanding work of ethnography and sociological theory. It would make an excellent teaching book - both to engage college students at the beginning of their courses by showcasing the best type of theorizing, analysis and fieldwork, and also for the teaching of qualitative methods." British Journal of Criminology
"Sandberg and Pedersen's book is a perceptive ethnographic study of a particular social world, giving a voice to multiple players in the street scene they study." Robin Room, Professor of Social Research in Alcohol, University of Melbourne
"The authors make sense of the phenomenon of the persistence of street-based, down-and-out populations in a wealthy social democracy and offer paths out of the impasse. This sensitive ethnographic account reveals the youths search for respect in the underbelly of the Norwegian dream." Philippe Bourgois, University of Pennsylvania