Doin the Hustle by Venkatesh and Personal Safety in Dangerous Places by Williams

Sudhir Venkatesh argues that reconstructing the informants’ perceptions of the fieldworker as, variously, academic hustler, ‘nigger just like us’ and ‘Arab’ – can aid the researcher in determining patterns of structure and meaning among the individual, group, and/or community under study. He intended his article, therefore, to reflect on informants’ construction of his subsumption within a field of social relations in which the ‘hustle’ was an overriding organizing standard.
To compare this article now with another article entitled “Personal Safety in Dangerous Places” by Terry Williams is to see first what the latter author is saying about. Williams introduced his work by saying that personal safety during fieldwork is seldom addressed directly in the literature. He narrated a fact drawn from his many prior years of ethnographic research and from field experience while studying crack distributors in New York City, where the authors provided a variety of strategies by which ethnographic research can be safely conducted in dangerous settings. He explained that by protecting an appropriated demeanor, ethnographers can seek others for protector and locator roles, routinely create a safety zone in the field, and establish compatible field roles with potential subjects. Terry Williams (1992) therefore intended of his article to provide strategies for avoiding or handling sexual approaches, common law crimes, fights, drive-by shootings, and contacts with the police. He found out that when integrated with other standard qualitative methods, ethnographic strategies help to ensure that no physical harm comes to the field-worker and staff members. He added that the presence of researchers may actually reduce (and not increase) potential and actual violence among crack distributors/abusers or others present in the field setting (Williams, 1992).