On Ethnography, ‘Stick-Ups’ and City: Interview with Jack Katz

Diogo Silva Corrêa, Luana Almeida Martins, Sophia Lucena Prado


In this interview for the Dilemas issue on robbery, violence and the city, Jack Katz is first asked (1) how he came to study deviance and the “seductions of crime” and (2) the importance of thinking about the phenomenon of crime taking into account the dark side of empathy. Furthermore, he is questioned about (3) how to perform an ethnography when we might deal with practices as difficult to access as those involving illegal and illicit activities and the importance of understanding, from a methodological point of view, what he himself called the “visible unconscious” of those studied. He then answers other central questions, such as the variation in the temporality of different types of crimes and faces somewhat thorny issues such as the relationship between crime and poverty and between crime and the city. Finally, the interview is concluded with reflections on what he would do differently if he had to rewrite today his already classic book, Seductions of Crime (1988), which completed 30 years of its first publication in 2018, and what would be the possible political role of ethnography on crime and assault in the current Brazilian context of increased state repression and violence.


robbery, ethnography, stick-ups, Jack Katz, Seductions of Crime

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17648/dilemas.v13n3.35739


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