By Teresa Gowan
Winner of the 2011 Robert Park Award for the easiest e-book in neighborhood and concrete Sociology, American Sociological organization, 2011 Co-winner of the 2011 Mary Douglas Prize for most sensible booklet within the Sociology of tradition, American Sociological organization, 2011 When homelessness reemerged in American towns in the course of the Nineteen Eighties at degrees no longer obvious because the nice melancholy, it at the start provoked surprise and outrage. inside of many years, in spite of the fact that, what were perceived as a countrywide obstacle got here to be noticeable as a nuisance, with early sympathies for the plight of the homeless giving solution to compassion fatigue after which condemnation. Debates round the challenge of homelessness—often set by way of sin, ailment, and the failure of the social system—have come to profoundly form how homeless humans live on and make feel in their plights. In Hobos, Hustlers, and Backsliders, Teresa Gowan vividly depicts the lives of homeless males in San Francisco and analyzes the impact of the homelessness at the streets, within the shelters, and on public policy. Gowan indicates a number of the varied ways in which males in the street in San Francisco fight for survival, autonomy, and self-respect. dwelling for weeks at a time between homeless men—working side-by-side with them as they accumulated cans, bottles, and scrap steel; aiding them organize camp; gazing and listening as they panhandled and hawked newspapers; and accompanying them into soup kitchens, jails, welfare workplaces, and shelters—Gowan immersed herself of their workouts, their own tales, and their views on existence at the streets. She observes a variety of survival recommendations, from the illicit to the industrious, from drug dealing to dumpster diving. She additionally came across that triumphing discussions approximately homelessness and its causes—homelessness as pathology, homelessness as ethical failure, and homelessness as systemic failure—powerfully have an effect on how homeless humans see themselves and their skill to alter their situation. Drawing on 5 years of fieldwork, this strong ethnography of fellows dwelling at the streets of the main liberal urban in the USA, Hobos, Hustlers, and Backsliders, makes transparent that the way in which we speak about problems with severe poverty has genuine outcomes for the way we tackle this problem—and for the homeless themselves.
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Extra info for Hobos, Hustlers, and Backsliders: Homeless in San Francisco
The expansion of the poorhouse system was broadly supported upper classes of the early nineteenth century. e were influenced by the work of Jeremy Bentham, Thomas Malthus, and David Ricardo, who saw the roots of poverty in insufficient discipline, illegitimacy, and the pernicious effects of relief on the labor 10 11 12 u : w 32 H O M E L E S S N E S S market. W i t h the poorhouse, as w i t h the new penitentiary, elites pursued social control over both vagrancy and demands for welfare. They hoped that a centralized institution of confinement and hard labor would deter tramping and applications for municipal relief.
So I let him have a few rocks. I f I don't keep w i t h him, I know he'll go get himself killed. " But Del himself would have none of it, insisting he was still in the game. During those frequent periods when Sonny lost patience w i t h him, Del turned to recycling, mostly in the form of collecting aluminum cans from public trash cans or the dumpsters at the back of the skid row hotels. He stayed w i t h i n the bounds of the Tenderloin, venturing out only to sell his cans at a supermarket up the hill in the Castro.
For their part, poor Americans had by no means given up on systemic interpretations, but these social justice interpretations now rarely found voice beyond smaller African American and left-wing media. Reinventing the Poorhouse The last quarter of the twentieth century saw the resurrection or expansion of many forms of poverty management characteristic of the sindominated mid-nineteenth century. The chaotic, diseased nineteenthcentury poorhouse became the late twentieth-century homeless shelter, and the work test of stone breaking or wood chopping became the humiliation of street cleaning for General Assistance or food stamps.