Keeping It Real: Dick Hobbs’s legacy of classic ethnography, and the new ultra-realist agenda

Steve Hall, Simon Winlow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

19 Citations (Scopus)
91 Downloads (Pure)


When the real world out there enters one of its periodic convulsions, and the faddish ways of seeing it which have dominated a particular era become exhausted and begin to lose their credibility, the real world appears more real than it has done in the preceding years. It looms large in our consciousness and demands that we return to it. In such periods of intervallic confusion—which always follow in the immediate aftermath of a major tectonic shift—only the more rigorous, revealing, and properly contextualized examples of our representational work will survive. The work of Dick Hobbs, from its early days of exploring in the East End of London to his late attempt to grapple with the Hydra of global “organized” crime and its “glocal” nodes, stands out in this category. Dick Hobbs is of course known for his detailed ethnographic work and his enduring concern with the connections that exist between crime, political economy, and working-class culture. Here, we discuss Dick’s contribution to urban ethnography and the power of his descriptive account of working-class life, but we also suggest that his work will continue to act as one of the main sources of inspiration for the new ultra-realist program in criminological research and theory.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIllegal Entrepreneurship, ‘Organised Crime’ and Social Control
EditorsGeorgios Antonopoulos
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9783319316086
ISBN (Print)9783319316062
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2016
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameStudies of Organized Crime
ISSN (Print)1571-5493


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