Street Addicts in the Political Economy

Overview

In this book Alisse Waterston reveals the economic, political, and ideological forces that shape the nature of street-addict life. Disputing the view that hard-core, low-income drug users are social margins situated in deviant subcultures, the author dispels popular images of the mythic, dark dope fiend haunting our city streets. Using dramatic, first-person accounts from New York City addicts, Waterston analyzes their position in the social structure, the kind of work-both legal and illegal-they perform, and ...
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Street Addicts in the Political Economy

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Overview

In this book Alisse Waterston reveals the economic, political, and ideological forces that shape the nature of street-addict life. Disputing the view that hard-core, low-income drug users are social margins situated in deviant subcultures, the author dispels popular images of the mythic, dark dope fiend haunting our city streets. Using dramatic, first-person accounts from New York City addicts, Waterston analyzes their position in the social structure, the kind of work-both legal and illegal-they perform, and their relations with family, friends, and lovers. She presents a moving account of daily life from the addict's point of view and demonstrates how addicts are structurally vulnerable to the larger sociocultural system within which they live.

Waterston seeks to connect micro-, or street-level, ethnographic data with macro-level understanding of the political economy. In addition she attempts to extend social reproduction theory to redefine the social organization and social processes that characterize racial and ethnic relations, gender relations, relations centering on sexuality, and the social conception of drug use and users. Using ethnographic data, Waterston portrays addicts as members of the class of working poor that has emerged in New York City, especially in the past fifteen years. She describes how these people have been displaced by gentrification and the diversity within the group: men, women, black, white, Latino, homosexual, heterosexual, homeless, and housed.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566395748
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1997
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
I Toward a Political Economy of Drugs 1
II Homelessness and City Shelters 38
III Making a Living 72
IV Crime and Punishment 124
V Medical Solutions 157
VI Lovers and Other Strangers 176
VII Drugs, Culture, and Society 229
Appendix 251
Notes 255
References 257
Index 275
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