On The Run

On The Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Alice Goffman. amazon

Forty years in, the War on Drugs has done almost nothing to prevent drugs from being sold or used, but it has nonetheless created a little-known surveillance state in America’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Arrest quotas and high-tech surveillance techniques criminalize entire blocks, and transform the very associations that should stabilize young lives—family, relationships, jobs—into liabilities, as the police use such relationships to track down suspects, demand information, and threaten consequences.


I listened to Alice interviewed in a BBC podcast. I learned that the youth life in Philadelphia was more difficult than portrayed on The Wire. I also realized than many youth are not free to associate let alone express themselves online.


Fugitives from the law: Laurie Taylor talks to Alice Goffman, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, about 'On the Run' her study of the lives of African American men caught up in webs of criminality in Philadelphia.

She spent six years living in a neighbourhood marked by pervasive policing, violence and poverty.

She argues that high tech surveillance and arrest quotas have done little to reduce crime or support young lives in the most disadvantaged parts of the US.

They're joined by Professor Dick Hobbs, Criminologist at the University of Essex. Also, Alison Phipps, Director of the Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Sussex, explores the rise of 'lad culture' in Higher Education and its relationship to the 'marketisation' of learning. bbc


See Baltimore’s Anguish by the author of The Wire.