Braving the Street: The Anthropology of Homelessness

Braving the Street: The Anthropology of Homelessness

Braving the Street: The Anthropology of Homelessness

Braving the Street: The Anthropology of Homelessness

Synopsis

Anthropologists turn their attention to solving the puzzle of why people in some of the most advanced technological societies in the world are homeless, living rough.

Excerpt

W ith this volume we believe that anthropology's place as a major contributor to research on homelessness in North America will be firmly established. The knowledge gathered by anthropologists suggests varying strategies for easing the lives of those who are homeless, and contributes to the still greater project, preventing and eradicating homelessness. Just as anthropology has become important in confronting world problems such as AIDS and malnutrition, so too has it focused attention on the plight of those without shelter. Anthropology's methodologies, theories, and modes of analysis make it especially suited to unearthing the subtleties of problems that arise as societies adapt to the complexities of contemporary life.

Anthropologists have long worked in poverty subcultures within North America. Earlier works, such as Elliot Liebow Tally's Corner, John Spradley You Owe Yourself a Drunk, Carol Stack All Our Kin, and the work of Oscar Lewis (La Vida, Children of Sanchez), laid the groundwork for the current research on homelessness. In addition to these in-depth studies, there are ethnographically rich descriptions of squatter settlements, street children, and pavement dwellers from elsewhere in the world.

As authors, we bring several different perspectives to our work. Glasser provides a view from the United States, where homelessness is regarded as an almost intractable problem. It is seen as the end result of decades of social policies that have ignored the deterioration of most of the nation's cities, and have . . .

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