Homeless and Structural Violence

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The homeless and addicts have been stratified to the bottom of the social ladder. They are thought to be deviants therefore as a society we are taught to ignore and despise them and disregard their needs. Bourgeois and Schonberg’s 10-year study, Righteous Dopefiend, follows the lives of heroin addicted homeless folk living on Edgewater Boulevard. The Edgewater homeless recognize that those with economic capital have a responsibility in caring for their needs thus they embrace their worthiness in society. As a result of this they label themselves as “righteous dopefiends” (2009, p. 5). Bourgeois and Schonberg show how structural violence has affected the Edgewater homeless, such as self-blame, lack of access to quality medical care and what is described as intimate apartheid. Righteous Dopefiend (Bourgeois and Schonberg, 2009) gives firsthand insight into the experiences the Edgewater community endures. By connecting the injustices of the bureaucratic system this research educates the compassionate along with individuals creating policy or working with homeless addicts to better aid and assist them. Moreover, the study contributes to the conversation regarding homelessness and addiction and gives insight as to why getting clean and maintaining housing is not so easy for the righteous dopefiends. The research found that most of the Edgewater homeless sought help and all struggled to break away from their past after exiting rehab facilities. A few of the participants tragically succumbed to the disease of addiction, such as Carter, Chester and Hogan. Other participants treated for heroin addiction returned to the streets, such as Tina, Max and Hogan. However their plight to stay sober is evident. Hogan’s testimony sheds light about ... ... middle of paper ... ...l findings of the struggles and injustices that are taking place in the neighborhoods that were are to xenophobic to confront. As a nation we should be concerned about and empathy should be shown to people like the Edgewater homeless that have to face these dangers on a daily basis. For the extensive amount of information collected Bourgeois and Schonberg’s research was as detailed as it could be. This study is perfect for many educators, hospital and clinic staff, community members and for anyone that has compassion for righteous dopefiends. Punishing those that struggle with a disease will not rehabilitate on their own. Therefore, these issues affect society as a whole and the wellbeing of the addicted population should no longer be ostracized. Works Cited Bourgeois, P. & Schonberg, J. (2009). Righteous dopefiend. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

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