The Crooked Ladder : Gangsters, Ethnicity and the American Dream
Ethnic organized crime is a phenomenon that has been largely ignored by social scientists and historians, and dismissed as a subject not to be taken too seriously by those researching the mobility patterns of their own ethnic ancestors or current minority newcomers. The Crooked Ladder represents a groundbreaking attempt to describe how some members of ethnic minorities have utilized organized crime as one vehicle of upward mobility, advancing from lower-class status to middle-class power and respectability.O'Kane illustrates the criminal road to prosperity as a process of displacement and succession: each group competes with and eventually eliminates its more established predecessor from the upper echelons of organized crime. This historical criminal succession mirrors the upward mobility of the Irish, Jews, and Italians in the larger, conventional noncriminal realm. Arguing that African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics are pursuing similar criminal routes, O'Kane takes issue with contemporary social scientists who view the current plight of minorities as unique in American social life.As a fundamental rethinking of the American ethnic experience with crime, The Crooked Ladder will be essential reading for social historians, sociologists, and criminologists. Now available in paperback, it will be useful in criminology courses and well as classes in ethnicity and social relations.
- Paperback | 208 pages
- 151.4 x 229.6 x 12.7mm | 294.84g
- 15 Aug 2006
- Taylor & Francis Inc
- Transaction Publishers
- Somerset, United Kingdom
"...O'Kane's study of organized crime provides valuable insights into the nature of both crime and intergenerational social mobility in the United States. The book is informative, grounded in sociological theory, and interesting to read." - Darnell F. Hawkins, Contemporary Sociology "...one of the most interesting books I've read on ethnic patterns of social mobility in America in a long time...there is very little material available that synthesizes and critiques the rags-to-riches ideology this well..." - Deborah A. Abowitz, Bucknell University "Jim O'Kane paints a fascinating portrait of the criminal as an ethnic folk hero. He has written a first-class examination of ethnic crime in America and its relation to status and class. Interesting and well written, it's a real contribution." - Thomas H. Kean, president, Drew University
About James M. O'Kane
James M. O'Kane is professor of sociology at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. He is the author of Pamplona: A Sociological Analysis of Migration and Urban Adaptation Patterns.