By Teresa Gowan
Winner of the 2011 Robert Park Award for the easiest publication in group and concrete Sociology, American Sociological organization, 2011 Co-winner of the 2011 Mary Douglas Prize for top ebook within the Sociology of tradition, American Sociological organization, 2011 When homelessness reemerged in American towns in the course of the Eighties at degrees now not visible because the nice melancholy, it firstly provoked surprise and outrage. inside many years, although, what have been perceived as a countrywide problem got here to be visible as a nuisance, with early sympathies for the plight of the homeless giving option to compassion fatigue after which condemnation. Debates round the challenge of homelessness—often set when it comes to sin, illness, and the failure of the social system—have come to profoundly form how homeless humans live on and make experience in their plights. In Hobos, Hustlers, and Backsliders, Teresa Gowan vividly depicts the lives of homeless males in San Francisco and analyzes the impression of the homelessness at the streets, within the shelters, and on public policy. Gowan exhibits a number of the varied ways in which males in the street in San Francisco fight for survival, autonomy, and self-respect. residing for weeks at a time between homeless men—working side-by-side with them as they amassed cans, bottles, and scrap steel; supporting them arrange camp; observing and listening as they panhandled and hawked newspapers; and accompanying them into soup kitchens, jails, welfare workplaces, and shelters—Gowan immersed herself of their exercises, their own tales, and their views on existence at the streets. She observes a variety of survival thoughts, from the illicit to the industrious, from drug dealing to dumpster diving. She additionally stumbled on 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 robust ethnography of fellows residing at the streets of the main liberal urban in the United States, Hobos, Hustlers, and Backsliders, makes transparent that the best way we speak about problems with severe poverty has genuine outcomes for a way we deal with this problem—and for the homeless themselves.
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Extra info for Hobos, Hustlers, and Backsliders: Homeless in San Francisco
Like the roundups of the tramp scare, the contemporary manifestations of sin-talk were predicated on broader shifts in public orientation toward poor people i n general. Particularly significant was the reconfiguration of three key institutional fields: welfare, policing, and community action. The great welfare reforms of the 1990s demonstrated the completion of a broad, twenty-year shift away from service provision and cash 67 68 69 52 H O M E L E S S N E S S transfers and back toward the punitive work programs and criminal sanctions that had proliferated i n the United States between 1865 and the New Deal.
M A N A G I N G M A N A G I N G H O M E L E S S N E S S Liber Vagatorum: the notion that impoverished wanderers lay at the root of social disorder and criminality. The moral construction of poverty thoroughly dominated American poverty management throughout the colonial period and beyond. The colonists of the seventeenth century reiterated the approaches to poor relief unfolding in Britain, combining limited relief for certified residents w i t h stringent settlement laws denying entitlement to strangers.
56 57 The Homeless Archipelago Over the next decade, the radical anti-homelessness activists became victims of their own success. I n the absence of strong government intervention, the emergency was mainly addressed by religious congregations w i t h an existing tradition of charity work. Soup kitchens sprang up in countless church basements in one of the great volunteer mobilizations of the century. " While much immediate hardship was mitigated, the soup kitchen or emergency shelter tended, as ever, to institutionalize the problem of homelessness rather than prevent it.