Righteous Dopefiend Analysis
Homelessness is a social crisis that has stayed with us throughout our history. There was an increase in the number of homeless people in the 1980s due to housing and social service cuts increasing. In Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg’s, “Righteous Dopefiend,” being homeless is just one of the many problems that encompass their day to day reality. The two anthropologists assimilate themselves in the homeless community and observe the hardships that come from living on the streets and drug addiction. A better understanding is attained through their ethnographic research and details of the homeless’ lives can be used to further our knowledge and help in solving society’s problems. This ethnography shows that through of a community of addicts, the structure of society often produces and reproduces this advantage. Bourgois and Schonberg followed the daily routines of a community of people referred to as the Edgewater homeless for over 10 years. The community consists of individuals from different ethnic backgrounds and different histories, but built their community on their shared lifestyle and addiction to drugs. Everything revolves around their main objective of getting a “fix” before the withdrawal symptoms come in. In the first three chapters, ethnic, gender, and hierarchal relationships within the community are discussed. Chapter one establishes the racial divisions that exist in their community, as well as their mutual dependence that connects them. Chapter two analyzes gender relations and the difference between sex, work, and love. Chapter three establishes the hierarchal relationship between the homeless. In chapters four through six, past memories and experiences are explored, resulting in grouping them as youths growing up in the era of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. The transition between their teen and adulthood is examined in chapter four and chapters five and six asserts that their present situation are influenced...
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