Lessons learned from a Novice Social Researcher’s Journey in her Fieldwork on Criminal Careers
Avainsanat:Migration, Crime, Human Smuggling, Gangs, Social Research
This article reports on fi ndings and lessons learned from fi eldwork that was initially conducted to gather data for a master’s thesis. This article refl ects on narratives relevant to the topic of criminal careers, and lessons learned in the social research fi eld. The source of data utilized in this article is an interview with a selfproclaimed Mexican Paisa ex-human smuggler and ex-drug dealer and his friend, a self-proclaimed male Chicano and ex-drug dealer. The aim is to answer the simple question: What can we learn from this conversion? This question is intended to be quite general, because the aims are twofold: on the one hand the aim is to share what has been learned from the subjects; on the other hand, the goal is to share what has been learned as a novice social researcher in the fi eld. The initial purpose of the interview was to gather information on criminal careers, migration issues and identity. Three themes were derived from the interview: a) gang activity, b) human smuggling and border crossing c) cops and prison incarceration. The findings report that violence was a dominant concept present in the discourse, while at the same time a sense of morality comes to surface on occasion. Limitation and lessons learned in the fi eld were also found to be relevant to report.