By Teresa Gowan
Winner of the 2011 Robert Park Award for the easiest publication in neighborhood and concrete Sociology, American Sociological organization, 2011 Co-winner of the 2011 Mary Douglas Prize for top e-book within the Sociology of tradition, American Sociological organization, 2011 When homelessness reemerged in American towns throughout the Eighties at degrees no longer noticeable because the nice melancholy, it in the beginning provoked surprise and outrage. inside of many years, although, what have been perceived as a countrywide obstacle got here to be visible as a nuisance, with early sympathies for the plight of the homeless giving method to compassion fatigue after which condemnation. Debates round the challenge of homelessness—often set when it comes to sin, disease, and the failure of the social system—have come to profoundly form how homeless humans continue to exist 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 exhibits a few of the various 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; assisting them organize camp; looking at and listening as they panhandled and hawked newspapers; and accompanying them into soup kitchens, jails, welfare places of work, 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 ideas, 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 impact 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 best way we speak about problems with severe poverty has actual results 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
Certainly, the classification and management of the poor began to take on a more medicalized character, but the therapeutic construction of poverty remained incoherent, w i t h the concept of rehabilitation constantly undermined by the persistence of moral condemnation and punishment. Outside of the confining institutions, sin-talk proved even more dominant. The migrant poor continued to be plagued by settlement laws that refused relief to outsiders without established residency and „ „ „ ; , I , „ J -digcnce.
At the same time, mass street homelessness became the catalyst for one of the largest charity mobilizations of the century, reviving the Victorian gift relationship between rich and poor that had largely disappeared in the postwar period. Just as Lowell's Scientific Charity transformed more ad hoc charitable efforts into coordinated action under bureaucratic surveillance, the volunteer-run shelters of the mid-1980s were gradually professionalized and incorporated into a network of microsurveillance, where clients are fingerprinted on entry 55 M A N A G I N G H O M E L E S S N E S S and compelled to construct their problems as bad behavior.
Initial charitable attempts were overwhelmed, and many cities provided little support to homeless migrants of any description. The Los Angeles police department, for example, would regularly sweep skid row neighborhoods and book every vagrant for thirty days inside. As millions of workers lost their jobs, the traditional Protestant view of unemployment and vagrancy as the products of character flaws could not sustain its hegemonic position, and Roosevelt and his allies swept into power, promising large-scale government intervention to protect the population from the irrationalities of the economic system.