Righteous Dopefiend: Homeless Heroin Addicts

Righteous Dopefiend: Homeless Heroin Addicts

Hardback California Series in Public Anthropology

By (author) Philippe Bourgois, By (author) Jeffrey Schonberg

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  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Format: Hardback | 392 pages
  • Dimensions: 175mm x 244mm x 30mm | 1,066g
  • Publication date: 29 May 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Berkerley
  • ISBN 10: 0520230884
  • ISBN 13: 9780520230880

Product description

This powerful study immerses the reader in the world of homelessness and drug addiction in the contemporary United States. For over a decade Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg followed a social network of two dozen heroin injectors and crack smokers on the streets of San Francisco, accompanying them as they scrambled to generate income through burglary, panhandling, recycling, and day labor. "Righteous Dopefiend" interweaves stunning black-and-white photographs with vivid dialogue, detailed field notes, and critical theoretical analysis.Its gripping narrative develops a cast of characters around the themes of violence, race relations, sexuality, family trauma, embodied suffering, social inequality, and power relations. The result is a dispassionate chronicle of survival, loss, caring, and hope rooted in the addicts' determination to hang on for one more day and one more 'fix' through a 'moral economy of sharing' that precariously balances mutual solidarity and interpersonal betrayal.

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Author information

Philippe Bourgois is Richard Perry University Professor of Anthropology and Family and Community Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Jeff Schonberg is a photographer and a graduate student in medical anthropology at the University of California, San Francisco.

Review quote

"A deeply nuanced picture of a population that cannot escape social reprobation, but deserves social inclusion... The collage of case studies, field notes, personal narratives and photography is nothing short of enthralling." - Starred Review--Publishers Weekly "Get this book and read it... A hell of a story... These people walk by you every day and should not remain invisible."--San Francisco Bay Guardian "Leaders and readers alike should pay attention to - and heed its warnings and advice... Unflinching and objective... Must be read - and seen."--San Francisco Chronicle "The authors dare you to ignore the subculture in their field notes and arresting black-and-white images, urging that our failed social systems need repairing and we cannot continue to let these outliers remain invisible."--Utne "One of the most original and important works of its kind... A pathbreaking photo-ethnography, powerful in presentation, content and scope... A must-read, [it] will rock the world of the sheltered middle class and shed new light on the pervasive structural inequalities plaguing contemporary society."--Philadelphia Inquirer

Table of contents

Introduction: A Theory of Lumpen Abuse 1. Intimate Apartheid 2. Falling in Love 3. A Community of Addicted Bodies 4. Childhoods 5. Making Money 6. Parenting 7. Male Love 8. Everyday Addicts 9. Treatment Conclusion: Critically Applied Public Anthropology References Notes on the Photographs Acknowledgments