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.
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, 2011When homelessness reemerged in American cities during the 1980s at levels not seen since the Great Depression, it initially provoked shock and outrage. Within a few years, however, what had been perceived as a national crisis came to be seen as a nuisance, with early sympathies for the plight of the homeless giving way to compassion fatigue and then condemnation. Debates around the problem of homelessness—often set in terms of sin, sickness, and the failure of the social system—have come to profoundly shape how homeless people survive and make sense of their plights. In Hobos, Hustlers, and Backsliders, Teresa Gowan vividly depicts the lives of homeless men in San Francisco and analyzes the influence of the homelessness industry on the streets, in the shelters, and on public policy. Gowan shows some of the diverse ways that men on the street in San Francisco struggle for survival, autonomy, and self-respect. Living for weeks at a time among homeless men—working side-by-side with them as they collected cans, bottles, and scrap metal; helping them set up camp; watching and listening as they panhandled and hawked newspapers; and accompanying them into soup kitchens, jails, welfare offices, and shelters—Gowan immersed herself in their routines, their personal stories, and their perspectives on life on the streets. She observes a wide range of survival techniques, from the illicit to the industrious, from drug dealing to dumpster diving. She also discovered that prevailing discussions about homelessness and its causes—homelessness as pathology, homelessness as moral failure, and homelessness as systemic failure—powerfully affect how homeless people see themselves and their ability to change their situation. Drawing on five years of fieldwork, this powerful ethnography of men living on the streets of the most liberal city in America, Hobos, Hustlers, and Backsliders, makes clear that the way we talk about issues of extreme poverty has real consequences for how we address this problem—and for the homeless themselves.
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Who is killing America? Is it really Donald Trump and a GOP filled with white supremacists? In a major new work of historical revisionism, Dinesh D’Souza makes the provocative case that Democrats are the ones killing America by turning it into a massive nanny state modeled on the Southern plantation system.
This sweeping alternative history of the Democratic Party goes back to its foundations in the antebellum South. The slaveholding elite devised the plantation as a means of organizing labor and political support. It was a mini welfare state, a cradle to grave system that bred dependency and punished any urge to independence. This model impressed northern Democrats, inspiring the political machines that traded government handouts for votes from ethnic immigrant blocs.
Today's Democrats have expanded to a multiracial plantation of ghettos for blacks, barrios for Latinos, and reservations for Native Americans. Whites are the only holdouts resisting full dependency, and so they are blamed for the bigotry and racial exploitation that is actually perpetrated by the left.
Death of a Nation's bracing alternative vision of American history explains the Democratic Party's dark past, reinterprets the roles of figures like Van Buren, FDR and LBJ, and exposes the hidden truth that racism comes not from Trump or the conservative right but rather from Democrats and progressives on the left.