Professor Julius Wilson, like many social policy specialists, is enthusiastic about The Wire. Indeed Professor Wilson claims that the programme 'has done more to enhance our understanding of the challenges of urban life and the problems of urban inequality than any other media event or scholarly publications, including studies by social scientists.'
David Simon, the programme's creator, is delighted that it is being seen as social commentary as this is what he intended. He has outlined its themes as being 'the fraud of the drug war, the evisceration of the working class, our inability to reform our political infrastructure, the inequality of educational opportunity and, lastly, the declining ambitions and viability of high-end journalism.'
David Simon also confirmed that Professor Wilson's boook - When Work Disappears: the World of the New Urban Poor - was the inspiration for Series Two which looked at the plight of dock workers in Baltimore.
Professor Wilson now teaches a course on The Wire at Harvard University. One of his research students Anmol Chaddha spoke at our event on the 28th October. Anmol is a co-author of a well-read article called In Defense of the Wire (Anmol Chaddha, William Julius Wilson and Sudhir Venkatesh).