Pub. Date:
University of Chicago Press
How It Works: Recovering Citizens in Post-Welfare Philadelphia

How It Works: Recovering Citizens in Post-Welfare Philadelphia

by Robert P. Fairbanks IIRobert P. Fairbanks II
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Of the some sixty thousand vacant properties in Philadelphia, half of them are abandoned row houses. Taken as a whole, these derelict homes symbolize the city’s plight in the wake of industrial decline. But a closer look reveals a remarkable new phenomenon—street-level entrepreneurs repurposing hundreds of these empty houses as facilities for recovering addicts and alcoholics. How It Works is a compelling study of this recovery house movement and its place in the new urban order wrought by welfare reform.

To find out what life is like in these recovery houses, Robert P. Fairbanks II goes inside one particular home in the Kensington neighborhood. Operating without a license and unregulated by any government office, the recovery house provides food, shelter, company, and a bracing self-help philosophy to addicts in an area saturated with drugs and devastated by poverty. From this starkly vivid close-up, Fairbanks widens his lens to reveal the intricate relationships the recovery houses have forged with public welfare, the formal drug treatment sector, criminal justice institutions, and the local government.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226234090
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 09/15/2009
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 312
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Robert P. Fairbanks II is assistant professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.

Table of Contents



1   The Making of AHAD

2   “How It Works”:

       The Basic Architecture of the Kensington Recovery House System  

3.   The Art of Building Programmatic Space

4.   The Persistent Failures of the Recovery House System:

      Low-Wage Labor, Relapse, and “the Wreckage of the Past”

5.   Unruly Spaces of Managed Persistence

6.   Statecraft/Self-Craft:

      Policy Transfer in the Recovery House Movement



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