The Chosen Ones

9780520288355The Chosen Ones: Black Men and the Politics of Redemption (2018)

In The Chosen Ones, sociologist and feminist scholar Nikki Jones shares the compelling story of a group of Black men living in San Francisco’s historically Black neighborhood, the Fillmore. Against all odds, these men work to atone for past crimes by reaching out to other Black men, young and old, with the hope of guiding them toward a better life. Yet despite their genuine efforts, they struggle to find a new place in their old neighborhood. With a poignant yet hopeful voice, Jones illustrates how neighborhood politics, everyday interactions with the police, and conservative Black gender ideologies shape the men’s ability to make good and forgive themselves—and how the double-edged sword of community shapes the work of redemption.



2020 Michael J. Hindelang Outstanding Book Award  from the American Society of Criminology. The award recognizes a book published within the past three years that makes the most outstanding contribution to research in criminology.

2018 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles Award

Scholarly Reviews:

“The Chosen Ones is theoretically astute, methodologically sound, and empirically rich and a model of what ethical, ethnographic research should look like in urban sociology.”—American Journal of Sociology

“Nikki Jones addresses a significant sociological puzzle: how does violence in inner-city neighborhoods continue despite institutional and individual level resources aimed at addressing this problem? . . . The Chosen Ones is an in-depth and powerful account that must be read by anyone interested in researching and addressing the violence experienced by those most vulnerable, often young people of color in inner-city neighborhoods, and understanding the material conditions that facilitate and challenge it.”—Social Forces

“Jones does a masterful job exploring the process of redemption among street-involved Black men; a process that is neither linear nor solely an individual effort. Her critique of violence prevention programmes shows the ineffectiveness of such initiatives in making Black communities safer while exacerbating problems of crime and violence. The Chosen Ones is an important contribution at the intersection of race, crime, and justice and would be well suited for scholars and students of Criminology, Sociology, African American Studies, and Gender Studies.”—Decolonization of Criminology and Justice

“The book offers a nuanced account of crime fighting and identifies challenges that are not well covered in the broader sociological and criminological literatures. . . . The Chosen Ones should be read by gender scholars, urban sociologists, criminologists, and ethnographers.” Theoretical Criminology

From the Back Cover:

“A crisp, empathetic, and compelling ethnography that vividly represents the everyday lives of young people who are too often victimized by urban gun violence. This urgent and powerful account is a must-read for anyone who really wants to understand the causes and effects of the senseless violence occurring in our cities today.”—Elijah Anderson, Yale University, author of Code of the Street and The Cosmopolitan Canopy

“An astounding book that captures the breadth and depth of human resilience. It is ethnographic storytelling at its best.”—Waverly Duck, University of Pittsburgh

“A true triumph, easily among the decade’s most important books on the American way of justice.”—Shadd Maruna, University of Manchester and Rutgers School of Criminal Justice, author of Making Good: How Ex-Convicts Reform and Rebuild Their Lives

The Chosen Ones should be required reading for all policymakers concerned with eliminating urban violence and trauma.”— Howard Pinderhughes, University of California, San Francisco

You can buy The Chosen Ones here or here.

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