Urban Nightlife: Entertaining Race, Class, and Culture in Public Space

Rutgers University Press
Free sample

Sociologists have long been curious about the ways in which city dwellers negotiate urban public space. How do they manage myriad interactions in the shared spaces of the city? In Urban Nightlife, sociologist Reuben May undertakes a nuanced examination of urban nightlife, drawing on ethnographic data gathered in a Deep South college town to explore the question of how nighttime revelers negotiate urban public spaces as they go about meeting, socializing, and entertaining themselves. 

 May’s work reveals how diverse partiers define these spaces, in particular the ongoing social conflict on the streets, in bars and nightclubs, and in the various public spaces of downtown. To explore this conflict, May develops the concept of “integrated segregation”—the idea that diverse groups are physically close to one another yet rarely have meaningful interactions—rather, they are socially bound to those of similar race, class, and cultural backgrounds. May’s in-depth research leads him to conclude that social tension is stubbornly persistent in part because many participants fail to make the connection between contemporary relations among different groups and the historical and institutional forces that perpetuate those very tensions; structural racism remains obscured by a superficial appearance of racial harmony.
  Through May’s observations, Urban Nightlife clarifies the complexities of race, class, and culture in contemporary America, illustrating the direct influence of local government and nightclub management decision-making on interpersonal interaction among groups. 
Watch a video with Reuben A. Buford May:

Watch video now. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCs1xExStPw).
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About the author

REUBEN A. BUFORD MAY is a professor of sociology at Texas A & M University and a fellow at Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute. He is the author of Living Through the Hoop: High School Basketball, Race and the American Dream
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Additional Information

Publisher
Rutgers University Press
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Published on
Sep 2, 2014
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780813569406
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Sociology / Urban
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Reuben A. Buford May
Visit the author's YouTube channel!

When high school basketball player LeBron James was selected as the top pick in the National Basketball Association draft of 2003, the hopes of a half-million high school basketball players soared. If LeBron could go straight from high school to the NBA, why couldn’t they? Such is the allure of basketball for so many young African American men. Unfortunately, the reality is that their chances of ever playing basketball at the professional, or even college, level are infinitesimal. In Living Through the Hoop, Reuben A. Buford May tells the absorbing story of the hopes and struggles of one high school basketball team.

With a clear passion for the game, May grabs readers with both hands and pulls them onto the hardwood, going under the hoop and inside the locker room. May spent seven seasons as an assistant coach of the Northeast High School Knights in Northeast, Georgia. We meet players like Larique and Pooty Cat, hard-working and energetic young men, willing to play and practice basketball seven days a week and banking on the unlimited promise of the game. And we meet Coach Benson, their unorthodox, out-spoken, and fierce leader, who regularly coached them to winning seasons, twice going to the state tournaments Elite Eight championships.

Beyond the wins and losses, May provides a portrait of the players’ hopes and aspirations, their home lives, and the difficulties they face in living in a poor and urban area — namely, the temptations of drugs and alcohol, violence in their communities, run-ins with the police, and unstable family lives. We learn what it means to become a man when you live in places that define manhood by how tough you can be, how many women you can have, and how much money you can hustle.

May shows the powerful role that the basketball team can play in keeping these kids straight, away from street-life, focused on completing high school, and possibly even attending college. Their stories, and the double-edged sword of hoop dreams, is at the heart of this compelling story about young African American men’s struggle to find their way in an often grim world.

Erik Larson
In The Devil in the White City, the smoke, romance, and mystery of the Gilded Age come alive as never before.

Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair’s brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country’s most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his “World’s Fair Hotel” just west of the fairgrounds—a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium.

Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake.

The Devil in the White City draws the reader into a time of magic and majesty, made all the more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others. Erik Larson’s gifts as a storyteller are magnificently displayed in this rich narrative of the master builder, the killer, and the great fair that obsessed them both.

To find out more about this book, go to http://www.DevilInTheWhiteCity.com.
Reuben A. Buford May
Sociologists have long been curious about the ways in which city dwellers negotiate urban public space. How do they manage myriad interactions in the shared spaces of the city? In Urban Nightlife, sociologist Reuben May undertakes a nuanced examination of urban nightlife, drawing on ethnographic data gathered in a Deep South college town to explore the question of how nighttime revelers negotiate urban public spaces as they go about meeting, socializing, and entertaining themselves. 

 May’s work reveals how diverse partiers define these spaces, in particular the ongoing social conflict on the streets, in bars and nightclubs, and in the various public spaces of downtown. To explore this conflict, May develops the concept of “integrated segregation”—the idea that diverse groups are physically close to one another yet rarely have meaningful interactions—rather, they are socially bound to those of similar race, class, and cultural backgrounds. May’s in-depth research leads him to conclude that social tension is stubbornly persistent in part because many participants fail to make the connection between contemporary relations among different groups and the historical and institutional forces that perpetuate those very tensions; structural racism remains obscured by a superficial appearance of racial harmony.
  Through May’s observations, Urban Nightlife clarifies the complexities of race, class, and culture in contemporary America, illustrating the direct influence of local government and nightclub management decision-making on interpersonal interaction among groups. 
Watch a video with Reuben A. Buford May:

Watch video now. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCs1xExStPw).
Reuben A. Buford May
Visit the author's YouTube channel!

When high school basketball player LeBron James was selected as the top pick in the National Basketball Association draft of 2003, the hopes of a half-million high school basketball players soared. If LeBron could go straight from high school to the NBA, why couldn’t they? Such is the allure of basketball for so many young African American men. Unfortunately, the reality is that their chances of ever playing basketball at the professional, or even college, level are infinitesimal. In Living Through the Hoop, Reuben A. Buford May tells the absorbing story of the hopes and struggles of one high school basketball team.

With a clear passion for the game, May grabs readers with both hands and pulls them onto the hardwood, going under the hoop and inside the locker room. May spent seven seasons as an assistant coach of the Northeast High School Knights in Northeast, Georgia. We meet players like Larique and Pooty Cat, hard-working and energetic young men, willing to play and practice basketball seven days a week and banking on the unlimited promise of the game. And we meet Coach Benson, their unorthodox, out-spoken, and fierce leader, who regularly coached them to winning seasons, twice going to the state tournaments Elite Eight championships.

Beyond the wins and losses, May provides a portrait of the players’ hopes and aspirations, their home lives, and the difficulties they face in living in a poor and urban area — namely, the temptations of drugs and alcohol, violence in their communities, run-ins with the police, and unstable family lives. We learn what it means to become a man when you live in places that define manhood by how tough you can be, how many women you can have, and how much money you can hustle.

May shows the powerful role that the basketball team can play in keeping these kids straight, away from street-life, focused on completing high school, and possibly even attending college. Their stories, and the double-edged sword of hoop dreams, is at the heart of this compelling story about young African American men’s struggle to find their way in an often grim world.

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