Righteous Dopefiend

Righteous Dopefiend 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 netwo

  • Title: Righteous Dopefiend
  • Author: Philippe Bourgois Jeffrey Schonberg
  • ISBN: 9780520254985
  • Page: 419
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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, recyThis 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 day and one fix through a moral economy of sharing that precariously balances mutual solidarity and interpersonal betrayal.

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      Published :2019-02-23T11:25:40+00:00

    One thought on “Righteous Dopefiend”

    1. Anthropologist Philippe Bourgois, currently employed by the University of Pennsylvania, became widely known in social sciences as an author of the book In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio (1995), ethnography of inner-city street culture in East Harlem. The study meant a breakthrough as the author was the first person to win trust of drug dealer gang members. Subsequently he conducted a several year long intensive field research. The monograph, in a masterly way combining classical e [...]

    2. A wonderfully researched and heartbreaking ethnographic study of homeless addicts in San Francisco. The authors of this book lived among the "dopefiends" under highways, at abandoned factories, in campers and cars. They did not merely record the activities of the heroin, alcohol, and crack addicts, but instead, they presented them as humans with histories. The writers show how the downsizing of the manufacturing industries in the 1990s and Reagan's cutback of support for subsidized housing in th [...]

    3. Righteous Dopefiend is powerful, shocking, insightful, and demanding. It demands that readers suspend their judgment not just of homelessness and drug addiction, but of the large-scale socioeconomic and political systems that force large segments of the U.S. population to fall through the cracks into lives of abject misery. This book attempts to show how structural and historical forces have created a whole new subjectivity, a self-contained worldview, defined by poverty and violence.For twelve [...]

    4. This book challenged me to better understand a pressing social and policy issue in a productive and provocative way. The book is the field notes, photographs, and academic theory of two anthropologists who followed / engaged a community of homeless heroin addicts in the Edgewater community in San Francisco over the span of ~10 years. It was well written and edited to bring out themes effectively, which helped me understand anew issues about which I've long been curious and never understood well. [...]

    5. Really insightful ethnography about drug addiction to the point of homelessness, backed up with historical, anthropological, and sociological context.

    6. An eye-opening look at the lives of heroin abusers in San Francisco. I read this for my anthropology class and enjoyed it! It was a pretty fast read and the use of images was great.

    7. I was lucky to read this book in my anthropology class with Professor J. Schonberg, who is one of the authors. As a resident of San Francisco, I encounter homeless individuals on a daily basis. This book changed the way I look at them and made me get closer to them. Reading about all the characters and their lives on the streets of San Francisco was very emotional, especially after learning about how their stories end. I highly recommend this book for everyone who is interested in anthropology, [...]

    8. This book was great! The author and a team of researchers spend 12 years studying and hanging out with a group of 2 dozen homeless crack and heroin addicts. Their field notes offer grim glimpses into the lives of a population that are largely ignored. Anyone who's said 'why dont they just kick the habit and get a job?!' should have to read this book - by following the day to day lives of these people you see how elusive upward mobility is when your life is so chaotic and you lack transportation [...]

    9. Righteous Dopefiend is based on detailed and extensive photo- and team-ethnography conducted by Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg (and others)among a population of homeless drug injectors in San Francisco, CA, in the 1990s. This book was exceptional on a number of levels. First and foremost, Bourgois et al use ethnographic methods to capture the intimate details of lives on those living on the very margins of society without sensationalizing their plight. Bourgois details the life histories o [...]

    10. I learned so much from this book. Prior to reading it, I had basically zero knowledge of what life is like for homeless people, how drug addiction affects people day-to-day, or how social policies have influenced this segment of our population. The book is full of fascinating anecdotes, humanizing insights, heartbreaking photos, and thoughtful commentary.Some of the analysis was a bit too deeply rooted in social philosophy for me to understand, as I've never studied Foucault or any of the other [...]

    11. Excellent!!! I had to read this for my medical anthropology class and it was worth reading beyond needing to know for the exam. The book, in the style of photo-ethnography, portrayed with unflinching rawness the everyday lives and histories of the San Francisco Edgewater Boulevard heroin-addicted homeless. You pity, admire, and even come to like some of the people the authors interview. You peek into their lives, and if you're lucky, you come away from the book with a better, more tolerant under [...]

    12. 'Righteous Dopefiend' welcomed me to the world of photo-ethnography and was the text that gave me the light-bulb moment to explore 'social capital' in more detail to understand survival strategies of street-level heroin users in South Africa. the patterns are very similar to what one witnesses here, with users forming close ties and networks to ensure survival as well as protection from factors such as withdrawal which can be harrowing. the study shows deep compassion for users and within the us [...]

    13. I didn't get all the way through this before it was due back at the library, but I did find it a very interesting peek into this often invisible or vilified population of hard-core drug users, how they structure their day, how they feel about themselves, how they feed their habit, the culture and societal rules they develop within the world of other drug users and what drives them to do what they do. It was often disturbing; showing the lengths of degradation their addictions will drive them to; [...]

    14. This is a pretty amazing book. The authors spent twelve years talking with a group of homeless heroin addicts who live under the freeway in San Francisco. Without excusing their behavior, the writers really empathize with their subjects, and through this book, they humanize a group of people that is often vilified. It's a harrowing story that is emotionally draining at times, but very eye-opening. I learned a lot about the interconnected and complex reasons why the "righteous dopefiends" ended u [...]

    15. Definitely in the top 20 of non-fiction books that I've ever read. This book should be required reading for anyone interested in public health policy, homelessness and addiction. The authors provide an incredibly thorough examination of the various societal and policy factors at play in perpetuating the cycle of this outcast population while also giving a very personal, engaging look into the lives of homeless addicts. They treat their subjects with great compassion without romanticizing or down [...]

    16. Wow. This is one of the most insightful, well-written, and creative ethnographies I have read to date. Bourgois and Schonberg apply powerful social theory to understand the lives, experiences, and most visibly, suffering, of a group of SF based homeless heroin users. They manage to truly integrate multiple levels of human existence, from the structural to the individual, which many who attempt to address these topics fail to do. The use of novel methodogical tools, from photoethnography to team [...]

    17. An excellent photo-ethnography detailing the struggles of heroin addicts in San Francisco. While many may say that heroin addicts aren't worth studying, it's important to note that, anthropologically speaking, their strategies for earning money count as an "alternative economy," much as people who work under the table in unreported jobs do. It's also important to note that because they are addicts, the government and health care systems systematically ostracize and victimize themad this and see [...]

    18. This is an astounding photo-ethnographic study of addiction and homelessness in San Francisco. Through examining the many societal and political factors that have a hand in the continuation of this outcast population, Bourgois and Schonberg present a personal, academic, and engaging look into the lives of homeless addicts. I was impressed by how the authors were objective and respectful to the subjects in their book without romanticizing or downplaying their individual responsibility. A powerful [...]

    19. This book is INTENSE! Heartbreaking in places, endearing in placese book will haunt you. It is amazing insight to the lives of several homeless drug users in Californiaeir lives, the choices they made, the consequences of their actions. The book gets a little theory heavy in places, but it works to describe the conditions that are beyond our/their control and how that creates world views. I would say without hesitation that this book has altered the way I think about politics and policy and the [...]

    20. An ethnographic account of heroin addicts living on the streets in San Francisco in the 90's and early 00's - this particular book is so well written and interesting I'd recommend it to non-academic readers as well as those interested in anthropology. It traces the lives of a group of individuals living in shelters on the margins of society, gathering their histories and discussing their methods for survival and feeding their addictions.

    21. It was interesting to read about addiction and homelessness through the lens of anthropology. The writers spent many years living with and observing homeless substance abusers in San Francisco. The field notes and photographs were quite effective in illustrating the struggles of their subjects. I am hoping policy makers will read this book since the authors provide excellent recommendations on how to alleviate addiction and homelessness.

    22. Read. this. book. Even though it's on the lengthier side, absolutely every page was worth the investment. You're pulled into the lives of homeless drug addicts in a way that manages to avoid sensationalism, and you end up encountering yourself and your own tendency to ignore others and their pain (particularly when they're on street corners, under bridges, or panhandling). Similarly to LeBlanc's Random Family, this book haunts, shatters misconceptions, and demands attention.

    23. Even though I had only read this book for my cultural anthropology class I had still enjoyed it. I had found this book to be so powerfully written and it opened my eyes to the homeless. After reading this book, I can't look at a homeless, or anyone who is having issues of any kind, with ethnocentric eyes. I definitely want to make my part in helping the homeless society in whatever way I can.

    24. I heard about this researcher when I first moved back to the city and was astounded at the concept that junkie's were considered human rights. It was an eye opening idea and one that has shaped the way I feel about drug use. Users should not be labeled addicts or denigrated to a lesser social status simply because of their habit.

    25. "If you don't see the face, you can't see the misery." This phrase resonates throughout Righteous Dopefiend. A great introduction to understanding what drugs do to people, why a person would do drugs, and what the everyday struggles of being homeless is like. Anybody interested in postmodern anthropology should totally check this out.

    26. Extraordinary, this is the very best of contemporary anthropology and shows the insight ethnography can offer. It's a graphic, insightful and harrowing picture of homeless "dope fiends" living on the margins of wealth in San Francisco. Unflinching and unsentimental it is an indictment of Neoliberal policies in the US. Stunning and highly recommended for those who can bear to read it.

    27. Entrancing, moving, empassioned, appalling. All anthropology should be like this. A breathtaking view into the world of drug addicts on the streets of San Francisco, accompanied by amazing photographs. You will never see homelessness or the problem of drug addiction the same way. I highly recommend.

    28. Fantastic ethnography, great photos, nice read and strangely makes you feel a part of their community, which is what the best ethnographers can only dream to do. I really like his writing style and the layout of the book, although it's not quite chronological, which is effective in this case!

    29. I believe this is about as sensitive a portrayal of homeless drug addiction as one can get without resorting to fetishization or sentimentality, but I'm still reluctant to trust Ivy League-educated anthropologists to write it, even if one of them grew up "next to" this kind of environment.

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