In teaching his MOOC, Mr. Duneier—a sociologist known for his works of urban ethnography, Slim's Table and Sidewalk—says he was excited to reach people choosing between a MOOC and no classes at all. Many who enrolled in his 2012 class were adult learners who were not deciding among online and campus-based educational options.
Yet there were also those who resisted the comparison between black and Jewish ghettos. Duneier quotes the writer Albert Murray, who argued that Jews were far more foreign to Christians than blacks are to whites in America: “The real [Jewish] ghettos also represented profound differences in religion, language, food customs, and were even geared to a different calendar. It is grossly misleading to suggest that segregated housing anywhere in the United States represents a cultural distance that is in any way at all comparable to the one that separated a Jewish ghetto from the life styles of various European countries.”
Week Two Monday 9/23. The Sociological Imagination (Duneier)
Duneier spent five years with these individuals, and in he argues that, contrary to the opinion of various city officials, they actually contribute significantly to the order and well-being of the Village. An important study of the heart and mind of the street, also features an insightful afterword by longtime book vendor Hakim Hasan. This fascinating study reveals today's urban life in all its complexity: its vitality, its conflicts about class and race, and its surprising opportunities for empathy among strangers.