Mark Fleisher does not shy away from some of the harshest environs posing some of society’s greatest challenges, be they in the darkest recesses of prison or the streets and hovels that house street criminals or runaways and gang kids. The renowned researcher and author has made a career of focusing in on tough people in rough circumstances, venturing into places most people would rather not think about, much less visit. The titles of his books themselves are a testimony to this work: ‘Beggars and Thieves’, ‘Dead End Kids: Gang Girls and the Boys They Know’, and ‘The Myth of Prison Rape: Sexual Culture in American Prisons’. His most recent book, Living Black: Social Life in an African-American Neighborhood, has recently been published by the University of Wisconsin Press.
He also recently published a chapter entitled, “The Culture of Violent Behavior: Language, Culture, and Worldview of Prison Rape”, appearing in Qualitative Research in Criminology, the latest volume of Advances in Criminological Theory, “a cogent appraisal of qualitative criminology and the ways in which rigorous qualitative research contributes to theorizing about crime and justice.”
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“I’m not necessarily an ‘expert’ in violence,” says Dr. Fleisher. “I am an expert in how to collect data on violence on the street. Basically, I’m a cultural anthropologist and a linguist. And, as an anthropologist, I understand one thing: That there are no simple solutions. You can’t pull at one risk factor or one resiliency factor and get an outcome.”