Vice and Gangs
Professors and students focused on the city's problems. In his dissertation/book, Vice in Chicago, Walter Reckless studied fraud, prostitution, and organized crime.
Gangs are a persistent problem in today's Chicago. University of Chicago sociologists have been studying them since the mid-1920s when they were called boys' gangs. Frederic Thrasher's dissertation/book, The Gang: A Study of 1,313 Gangs in Chicago, was the first systematic study. One by one Thrasher located his gangs by neighborhood and ethnicity.
Another notable dissertation/book was The Taxi-Dance Hall by Paul G. Cressey. Aided by a team of assistants Cressey created an ethnography of this popular local institution. He wrote that the taxi-dance hall became a "social world," "morally isolated" from the wider society.
Noting their propensity to study the city's underworld, one contemporary sociologist has written that the Chicago scholars specialized in "Sociology Noir."