Doing the Business looks at the culture of London's East End and its relationship with the Criminal Investigation Department of the Metropolitan Police. The cultures of both the East End and the CID are examined in terms of their relationship with the market place and the emergent strategies of negotiation, trading, and, most importantly, entrepreneurship. The author breaks new ground in several crucial areas. He asks how well traditional
notions of working class culture fit the East End, and argues convincingly that they do not. His model of an entrepreneurial working class culture (a shadow economy) is a departure from the routine 'them and us' picture of class relationships in Britain. He links the working class ethos peculiar to the
East End with the occupational culture of detectives in an illuminating analysis of the working identity of plain clothes policing. There is also much of interest and originality in his theories of crime and delinquency, and in his documentation of the history of detective work in London. This is a highly original and at times controversial piece of work that contributes not only to our knowledge of culture and sub-culture, but also to the sociology of policing, and the
study of class relations and organizations.
`This is the best book I've read for a long time ... it is a first-rate example of how the best ethnographic studies can demonstrate the relationships between history, social structure and subjectivity ... Throughout, the already elegant text is enlivened by the colourful and informative stories, analyses and arguments of the (legal and illegal) wheeler dealers themselves ... Doing the Business can be unreservedly recommended to lay readers for its
intelligence, verve and penetrating analysis of police work. For the same reasons, of course, the book will be popular with students of criminology, social work, social history and sociology. But to students the book offers much more than a satisfying literary and academic experience - it is excellent value in
terms of the wide range of topics it covers ... having run out of superlatives all I can now say is: read it! It's a winner.'
Pat Carlen, University of Keele, Centre for Criminology
`Dick Hobbs sharply and amusingly describes his odyssey in research, displays a gallery of East End entrepreneurial types and provides some useful hints on how to behave down Whitechapel way ... Hobbs sees the pathos, the pettiness and the poverty of the culture, he describes from the inside.'
Times Literary Supplement
`offers some unique and poignant insights into an area popularised by many recent television series ... refreshingly different and well worth a read'
The Police History Society Newsletter
`He has written a fascinating and thought-provoking book and while acknowledging the difficulties facing the researcher who is an insider, he demonstrates the benefits that can accrue. He is a participant, he belongs, and while he is sensitive to his culture and its language, he does not become an apologist.'
Times Higher Education Supplement
`This is an effectionate and highly entertaining portrait of East Enders. It is written with immense charm and wit ... Immensely enjoyable, difficult to put down.'
P.A.J. Waddington, University of Reading. British Journal of Criminology