The Hobo: The Sociology of the Homeless Man

The Hobo: The Sociology of the Homeless Man

The Hobo: The Sociology of the Homeless Man

The Hobo: The Sociology of the Homeless Man

Excerpt

The present volume is intended to be the first of a series of studies of the urban community and of city life. The old familiar problems of our communal and social life--poverty, crime, and vice-- assume new and strange forms under the conditions of modern urban existence. Inherited custom, tradition, all our ancient social and political heritages-- human nature itself--have changed and are changing under the influence of the modern urban environment.

The man whose restless disposition made him a pioneer on the frontier tends to become a "homeless man"--a hobo and a vagrant--in the modern city. From the point of view of their biological predispositions, the pioneer and the hobo are perhaps the same temperamental type; from the point of view of their socially acquired traits, they are something quite different.

The city, more than any other product of man's genius and labors, represents the effort of mankind to remake the world in accordance with its wishes, but the city, once made, compels man to conform to the structure and the purposes he himself has imposed upon it. If it is true that man made the city, it is quite as true that the city is now making man. That is certainly a part of what we mean when we speak of the "urban" as contrasted with the "rural" mind. In any case, it is true that within the circle of these two tendencies, man's disposition . . .

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