In the case of the newly released Coming of Age in the Other America, co-authored by Johns Hopkins sociologist Stefanie DeLuca, the core research took place on sofas and at kitchen tables in Baltimore homes. To get a sense of how children born into city public housing in the 1980s and 1990s were faring as young adults, she spent hours interviewing them in their own houses.
The process turned out to be “incredibly intimate,” she says. “You sit down with a stranger, and if you’re doing your work well, you’re able to create the kind of conversation that invites vulnerability, humor, and honesty … in exchange for openness, empathy, and lack of judgment.”
The result is an in-depth portrait of the lives of young Baltimoreans, looking at factors that have helped them or hindered them on their path to adulthood. DeLuca wrote the book along with Johns Hopkins sociologist and Bloomberg Distinguished Professor Kathryn Edin and Susan Clampet-Lundquist of St. Joseph’s University.