C/Harm City: The Drama of the Baltimore Street in Three Acts
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CitationHawkins, Samantha. 2021. C/Harm City: The Drama of the Baltimore Street in Three Acts. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
AbstractThis is an ethnography of homicide and its effects in inner-city Baltimore based on over 14 months of fieldwork in the city, much of it in support groups, at community meetings, candlelight vigils, on street corners, and in the living rooms of parents whose children had recently been murdered. The study demonstrates how violence shapes healing processes, unapologetically creating a “new normal” for the residents of Baltimore. It argues that collective pain and the experience of grief engender a crisis of meaning for homicide survivors, perpetrators, the police, and the public. Trauma born of grieving desensitizes, shifts moral compasses, and weakens familial bonds, allowing the everyday assaults of institutionalized racism and economic inequality to become even more acute. What is more, the study shows, violence can create circumstances that lead to further dispossession and poverty. What results is a reproductive cycle of violent death, its politicization, its affect, and its effects. C/Harm City analyzes how the narratives and memories of violence interact with efforts to mitigate it—through criminal justice, retribution, and activism. It offers a descriptive analysis of the social and cultural implications of violent crime in Baltimore as experienced, and communicated to me, by city residents. As such, it offers a case study of the ways in which collective trauma and its emotional economy may come to structure a social world.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37370214
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