"The result of over three years of ethnography in Los Angeles is a multi-layered consideration of the ‘interpersonal violence prevention programmes’ delivered to young people across the United States: around two-thirds of high school students are now ‘put through’ some such programme during their education. . . . Greenberg evidences the many positive ways in which POV’s highly-motivated people and other such workers attempt to make a real difference in local communities, and how they seek to negotiate and manage the pressures and constraints they are under."—Process North
"Greenberg unravels our understanding of the notion of 'at-risk youth' and reveals the unexpected consequences of programs meant to transform vulnerable young people. On the other side of the youth control complex is a fleet of agencies and nonprofits striving to prevent harm. Greenberg shows how, despite their best intentions, attempts to transform the lives of marginalized youth fall apart in a cascade of short-term programs, public health data, and market-driven evidence. Greenberg presents an alternative way of thinking about the ways policy shapes the lives of vulnerable young people. Brilliant and deeply human, this book should be read by everyone working to change the lives of young people." —Victor Rios, author of Human Targets
"This is a beautifully written book: its prose is engaging, crisp, and distinctive. Greenberg has a unique voice that he uses well, drawing out sociological insights while reflecting on his own position in the field. He also does an excellent job combining abstraction with ethnographic observation. All very, very impressive." —Lynne Haney, Professor of Sociology, New York University.
"Informed by three years of ethnographic observations in Los Angeles, this book provides a careful investigation of the deeper messages that violence-prevention programming deliver to youth. Insightful, intriguing, and at times lyrical, Greenberg documents what he calls 'the ephemeral state,' which requires that facilitators learn tricks to establish connections quickly before their programs end, and encourages students to stifle or revamp their own personal stories to avoid getting ensnared by institutional surveillance or discipline." —Allison Pugh, Professor of Sociology, University of Virginia.
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"This carefully observed ethnography offers a window into the world of the short-term violence prevention programs that now permeate public schools in poor, urban neighborhoods. The outcomes are, at best, ephemeral and fleeting. Greenberg’s analysis offers key insights into the mechanisms and limitations of these new social control programs." —Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, Author of Paradise Transplanted