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Hobos, Hustlers, and Backsliders


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments, Introduction: Sin, Sickness, and the System, Part I. Backstories, 1. Urban Ethnography beyond the Culture Wars, 2. Managing Homelessness in the United States, Part II. The Street Watch Out San Francisco! Ain't Gonna Get No Peace, 3. Moorings Some Other Kind of Life, 4. Word on the Street No One Loves a Loser, 5. The New Hobos, Part III. Rabble Management, Like I Need More Drugs in My Life?, 6. The Homeless Archipelago A Little Room for Myself, 7. The Old Runaround: Class Cleansing in San Francisco The Road to Nowheresville, Conclusion, Notes, Bibliography, Index

About the Author

Teresa Gowan is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota.


"Hobos, Hustlers, and Backsliders is spectacular ethnography, fearlessly conducted by a 'small, white English woman' among homeless men in San Francisco's roughest neighborhoods. The big surprise is not the hostility of the police or the shortage of services, but the determination of so many of these men to build a career out of recycling trash. Gowan's respect for her subjects and her willingness to pitch in with the dirtiest of work-dumpster diving, for example-make this a gripping read as well as a powerful call to reassess how America treats its most despised and marginal people." -Barbara Ehrenreich

"This elegantly written and clearly analyzed long-term ethnography of homelessness takes off where Righteous Dopefiend ends. Teresa Gowan offers the reader a comprehensive analysis of the full range of survival strategies found on the streets of San Francisco at the turn of the 21st century: from dumpster divers, recyclers, panhandlers, and triumphantly oppositional petty thieves who pursue heroin and/or crack by all means necessary, to self-blaming addicts bemoaning their failure to adhere to self-help sobriety regimens." -Philippe Bourgois, author of In Search of Respect and Righteous Dopefiend

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