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Righteous Dopefiend (California Series in Public Anthropology) Paperback – 29 May 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (29 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520254988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520254985
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 168,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"A deeply nuanced picture of a population that cannot escape social reprobation, but deserves social inclusion... The collage of case studies, field notes, personal narratives and photography is nothing short of enthralling." - Starred Review Publishers Weekly "Get this book and read it... A hell of a story... These people walk by you every day and should not remain invisible." San Francisco Bay Guardian "Leaders and readers alike should pay attention to - and heed its warnings and advice... Unflinching and objective... Must be read - and seen." San Francisco Chronicle "The authors dare you to ignore the subculture in their field notes and arresting black-and-white images, urging that our failed social systems need repairing and we cannot continue to let these outliers remain invisible." Utne "Recommended." Choice "One of the most original and important works of its kind... A pathbreaking photo-ethnography, powerful in presentation, content and scope... A must-read, [it] will rock the world of the sheltered middle class and shed new light on the pervasive structural inequalities plaguing contemporary society." -- Elijah Anderson, author of Streetwise: Race, Class, and Change in an Urban Community. Philadelphia Inquirer "Truly remarkable book." -- Grazyna Zajdow Arena Magazine "Powerfully candid." Zocalo (The Public Square Blog) "With a combination of photographs, dialogue, field notes and critical theory, the book provides a detailed analysis of the social structure of an underground society in contemporary America." Roof Magazine "This book offers as complete and disturbing a view as can be had of just how awful and intractable street life in San Francisco can get." San Francisco Chronicle

About the Author

Philippe Bourgois is Richard Perry University Professor of Anthropology and Family and Community Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Jeff Schonberg is a photographer and a graduate student in medical anthropology at the University of California, San Francisco.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sali Harwood on 25 Jun. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very well thought out & designed piece of qualatative research, you feel like your actually there plus the photos add so much more. Great writing
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 32 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Waited for years for this book to come out 10 Mar. 2010
By Catherine_10034 - Published on
Format: Paperback
I read Selling Crack in El Barrio years ago and fell in love with book and Bourgeois as an author. As a reader of sociological cultural studies, no other author has bridged the gap to get in with the people they are studying quite like Bourgeois. Bourgeois did not let me down on Righteous Dopefiend - once again he was able to humanize the people he is studying to help the reader understand them. If I was able to take Bourgeois's class in California I would, but unfortunetly I'm back in New York (20 years too late for his time in El Barrio). A great read if you are in to sociology!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Wealth of Theory and Praxis in Medical Anthropology 21 Oct. 2012
By James Ziegler - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg spent over twelve years in the field becoming intimately knowledgeable with the day to day lives and problems of homeless heroin addicts in this priceless ethnography. This work gives a real life look at complex social theories like biopower, habitus and symbolic violence that allows insights beyond what a student can glean from reading the works of Foucault and Bourdieu. As an added bonus, the publisher has allowed a kindle version making Righteous Dopefiend easily accessible wherever you are with great features like text-to-speech. I would still recommend picking-up a hard copy in addition to your kindle version Schonberg's striking photography which really brings the characters from along the Edgewater Boulevard to life and enriches the text.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Professional or not... 14 May 2012
By Lobsterfrosting - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was assigned this book for my Sociology 104 class at KU. Out of the five books we were expected to read, this book was definitely top 3 (with Connected and Sidewalk, thought the other two - The Tender Cut & The Second Shift - were also eye-opening as well). Though I still have trouble with remembering what terms belong to what principles, like hegemony, my understanding of what was taught in the class was paralleled. This book is an eye opener and you don't need to understand what all of the terms mean to get a feel for the point being made here. Yes, there are a couple of chapters that express the meaning of this study in terms that are difficult to take on, especially if you are not expecting to or interested in studying sociology beyond the basics or have studied, but don't let that affect your decision when ascertaining the truth. This book is amazing and nearly riveting. I did understand the professional terms, for the most part, while I read this book (since I was knee deep in the class at the time and soaking up as much 'goody' as possible) and I would just like to say that it is worth your time.

This book focuses on a group of homeless heroine addicts (though many smoke crack and drink as well). This study/story shows a parallel of survival and social structure similar to that of 'normal' life, but, of course, with a bias of illegal dependency and the carelessness for others; the root of the human soul in some (maybe many) cases. Through a constant circus ride of highs and lows, this group of lost individuals will tear your heart out as they make blind, selfish choices, cleanse themselves of addiction and fall back into the arms of homeless hopelessness, scavenge for opportunities to make good to fix, and many other awful reasons that will hopefully deter any sane member of the human race from ever touching a drug that has been repeatedly proven as B.A.D. since 1918 (after its discovery in 1889... hm). That was a long sentence. :/

Read it, love/hate it, & pass it on...

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Righteous buy. 20 Nov. 2013
By Twain Mark - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bought this for an anthropology class, an I love it. It reads like a story, and I really got into it. The pictures can be a little hard to look at, but it really helps you see the other perspective.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Awesome 24 May 2014
By angel jones - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Required for a class, but it is a really good ethnography about "street people" in a study that was done over a 12 year period. Even though it's an ethnography, the writers really engage the reader and help the reader to more fully understand the subject matter, and the people. Definitely recommend.
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