90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Life ‘On The Run’ In America's Big Cities

The underground economy where drug war and police lockdown meet urban America. We’ll look at life on the run.

The cover of Alice Goffman's "On The Run" (Courtesy University of Chicago Press).

The cover of Alice Goffman’s “On The Run” (Courtesy University of Chicago Press).

America’s underground economy sprawls far and wide now.  Maybe $2 trillion in off-the-books work and trade.  A big part of it grows from tough neighborhoods where the formal economy is so thin and the hand of the law is so heavy that it’s hard to stay on the straight and narrow.  Sociologist Alice Goffman has gone there.  To an urban economy and culture so shadowed by police and incarceration that it lives “on the run.”  To a system that finds millions living as fugitives in their own neighborhoods.  This hour On Point:  the underground life of America’s most heavily-policed communities.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Alice Goffman, assistant  professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Author of the new book, “On The Run: Fugitive Life In An American City.”

From Tom’s Reading List

Philadelphia Inquirer: Sociologist chronicles tenuous lives of fugitives — “Goffman, 32, spent six years with the men and their families in a poor, minority Philadelphia neighborhood she calls Sixth Street to protect its identity. She began the work in 2002 as a University of Pennsylvania undergraduate, becoming so immersed she nearly lost herself in the process. She adopted the men’s survival tactics: the art of fleeing through alleyways, the grit of enduring interrogations. Back at school, though, her heart pounded at the sight of clean-cut, white (in short, coplike) professors.”

Chronicle Of Higher Education: The American Police State — “Starting in the mid-1970s, the United States stiffened its laws on drugs and violent crime and ratcheted up the police presence on city streets. The number of people in American jails and prisons has risen fivefold over the past 40 years. There are now roughly seven million people under criminal-justice supervision.”

New York Times: Fieldwork of Total Immersion — “Though written in a sober, scholarly style, ‘On the Run’ contains enough street-level detail to fill a season of ‘The Wire,’ along with plenty of screen-ready moments involving the author herself, who describes, among other ordeals, being thrown to the floor and handcuffed during a police raid, enduring a harrowing precinct house interrogation and watching a man be shot to death after exiting her car.”

Read An Excerpt Of “On The Run” By Alice Goffman

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

 
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Six: What Does A White House Press Correspondent Do?
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We turn to White House Press Correspondents all the time for news, but we’ve never really wondered how they gather their information. Fortunately, our guest host Jessica Yellin had time to sit down with The Explicast to explain.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: November 21, 2014
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We offer a panel of hand-drawn digital sheep, and wonder how to best lead the rest of you to programs that matter.

More »
2 Comments
 
The Explicast, Episode Five: What Is Net Neutrality?
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

The Explicast dives into tech policy territory with a quick look at the real meaning of a complicated bit of tech policy known as ‘Net Neutrality.’

More »
2 Comments