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Reckoning with Homelessness (The Anthropology of Contemporary Issues) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0801488344 ISBN-10: 0801488346 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: The Anthropology of Contemporary Issues
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (December 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801488346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801488344
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #669,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A frequently cited authority on the subject . . . Hopper is well versed in public policy efforts and has distinctive views about their efficacy—or lack thereof. His impassioned arguments for reimagined efforts to address the plight of the homeless cannot be ignored."—Library Journal



"Hopper continues to push the envelope in the study of homelessness and, by extension, in the field of anthropology and on all fronts of the endeavor: theory, method, and politics. His work contains instances of brilliance as he offers his rich insight on the whole enterprise of poverty, homelessness, and contemporary citizenship. . . . Hopper challenges himself, his discipline, our collective social world, and each one of us to go beyond our moral witnessing to engaged advocacy and political action. Summing Up: Highly Recommended."—Choice



"For more than twenty years, Kim Hopper has probed the scope and causes of homelessness. He possesses the fine touch of an ethnographer. . . . He has a novelist's knack of evoking lives of gritty substance. But he also has a scientist's desire to know . . . and provides us an unusually rich thick description of the phenomenon."—America



"Reckoning with Homelessness . . . has to be among the best-written, most elegantly expressed works of urban anthropology ever. . . . Hopper's ethnographic ramble through the makeshift haunts of the world's richest city is inevitably ironic, bitterly painful, unfailingly informative."—Social Service Review



"Part ethnography, part memoir; part chronicle, part social analysis; and—reversing the author's own characterization—decidedly more poetry than plumbing, Reckoning with Homelessness weaves scholarship, fieldwork, and advocacy into an elegant accounting and a plain good read. Kim Hopper offers a rare and valuable behind-the-scenes look at the intellectual career of an applied anthropologist. The book is a must not only for students of homelessness but also for those with a broader interest in how anthropology happens."—Norma Ware, Harvard Medical School



"Kim Hopper takes us on several intertwined journeys that stimulate new ways of thinking about homelessness, social policy, advocacy, and anthropology. His book offers recent history, challenging analyses of why we have homelessness and prospects for its elimination, and reflections on the accomplishments and challenges of advocacy. In addition, his book reveals an anthropologist at work, adapting and adopting methods, insight, and self to the undersides of the often ugly but surprisingly resilient urban world of the streets."—Martha R. Burt, The Urban Institute



"In its poetic sensibility, passion, and political purpose, Kim Hopper's tale of homelesness in the United States rivals George Orwell's classic account of unemployment in pre-war Britain. Based on more than 20 years' research and advocacy for those who learn to survive on almost nothing, this is an ethnography told with humility and eloquence."—Shirley Lindenbaum, CUNY Graduate Center



"There are many simple, straightforward accounts of contemporary American homelessness. All of them are wrong. In this book, Kim Hopper gives us as complete and nuanced an understanding as we are likely ever to find in print. Hopper situates American homelessness, particularly in the culturally archetypal streets and shelters of New York City, in all the essential dimensions: historical, cultural, socioeconomic, political, human. Sacrificing neither clarity nor compassion, Hopper has produced a gracefully humane rendering of homelessness in the richest city and country on earth, as a new millennium takes shape."—Gary Blasi, UCLA School of Law

From the Inside Flap

"Part ethnography, part memoir; part chronicle, part social analysis; and—reversing the author’s own characterization—decidedly more poetry than plumbing, Reckoning with Homelessness weaves scholarship, fieldwork, and advocacy into an elegant accounting and a plain good read. Hopper offers a rare and valuable behind-the-scenes look at the intellectual career of an applied anthropologist. The book is a must not only for students of homelessness but also for those with a broader interest in how anthropology happens."—Norma Ware, Harvard Medical School

"Kim Hopper takes us on several intertwined journeys that stimulate new ways of thinking about homelessness, social policy, advocacy, and anthropology. His book offers recent history, challenging analyses of why we have homelessness and prospects for its elimination, and reflections on the accomplishments and challenges of advocacy. In addition, his book reveals an anthropologist at work, adapting and adopting methods, insight, and self to the undersides of the often ugly but surprisingly resilient urban world of the streets."--Martha R. Burt, Urban Institute, Washington DC

"In its poetic sensibility, passion, and political purpose, Kim Hopper's tale of homelesness in the United States rivals George Orwell's classic account of unemployment in pre-war Britain. Based on more than 20 years' research and advocacy for those who learn to survive on almost nothing, this is an ethnography told with humility and eloquence."--Shirley Lindenbaum, CUNY Graduate Center

"There are many simple, straightforward accounts of contemporary American homelessness. All of them are wrong. In this book, Kim Hopper gives us as complete and nuanced an understanding as we are likely ever to find in print. Hopper situates American homelessness, particularly in the culturally archetypal streets and shelters of New York City, in all the essential dimensions: historical, cultural, socioeconomic, political, human. Sacrificing neither clarity nor compassion, Hopper has produced a gracefully humane rendering of homelessness in the richest city and country on earth, as a new millennium takes shape."---Gary Blasi, UCLA School of Law --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jacqueline M Mraz on March 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anthropologist Kim Hopper's classic ethnography of homelessness is based in New York City. Hopper takes us to spots where the homeless congregate that traditional scholarship and journalism ignore, like, for example, the airport. He also provides an excellent history of the transition from almshouses to shelters and homeless advocacy efforts. Still, his focus is almost exclusively on men, his geographic focus is limited, and, when all is said and done, that he works as an applied medical anthropologist in a law school and in a medical school prevents him from asking tough questions about how housing lawyers and community health doctors may actually perpetuate the very social problems that housing lawyers and community health doctors set out to resolve. Especially the doctors.

Consider the case of the policy and practice known as Housing First. In theory, auxiliary services like psychiatric care are not required for the former homeless to participate in Housing First. In practice, that typically is not the case. Typically, psychiatric care costs skyrocket with Housing First. And this despite that one of the reasons--maybe the most important reason--given for Housing First is to diminish costs.

In Los Angeles alone, for example, there was an over 200% rise in psychiatric costs the first year of a recent Housing First initiative. Some would say that this is because the need for care had been previously undiagnosed. However, there is just as strong an argument to be pursued that goes along the lines of what Robert Whitaker suggests in Anatomy of an Epidemic.

In that book, Whitaker charts the rise of pharmaceutical-based psychiatry together with the rise of mental illness disability claims.
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Format: Paperback
Kim Hopper provides an amazingly deep history of homelessness in America that manages to provide a meaningful history of the phenomenon while also walking into detailed vignettes and person accounts of the epidemic. While at times thick, laden with academic jargon, and a bit preachy, his story is comprehensive and arguments persuasive. A must read for those truly interested in understanding homelessness in America (with a strong focus on New York), its long history and necessary conclusion.
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