How It Works: Recovering Citizens in Post-Welfare Philadelphia

University of Chicago Press
Free sample

Of the some sixty thousand vacant properties in Philadelphia, half of them are abandoned row houses. Taken as a whole, these derelict homes symbolize the city’s plight in the wake of industrial decline. But a closer look reveals a remarkable new phenomenon—street-level entrepreneurs repurposing hundreds of these empty houses as facilities for recovering addicts and alcoholics. How It Works is a compelling study of this recovery house movement and its place in the new urban order wrought by welfare reform.

To find out what life is like in these recovery houses, Robert P. Fairbanks II goes inside one particular home in the Kensington neighborhood. Operating without a license and unregulated by any government office, the recovery house provides food, shelter, company, and a bracing self-help philosophy to addicts in an area saturated with drugs and devastated by poverty. From this starkly vivid close-up, Fairbanks widens his lens to reveal the intricate relationships the recovery houses have forged with public welfare, the formal drug treatment sector, criminal justice institutions, and the local government.

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About the author

Robert P. Fairbanks II is assistant professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Sep 15, 2009
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780226234113
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Public Policy / Social Services & Welfare
Social Science / General
Social Science / Sociology / Urban
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This content is DRM protected.
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Winner of the 2011 Robert Park Award for the Best Book in Community and Urban Sociology, American Sociological Association, 2011

Co-winner of the 2011 Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book in the Sociology of Culture, American Sociological Association, 2011

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