Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Hobos, Hustlers, and BackslidersHomeless in San Francisco$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Teresa Gowan

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780816648696

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816648696.001.0001

Show Summary Details

Word on the Street

Word on the Street

(p.104) Four Word on the Street
Hobos, Hustlers, and Backsliders

Teresa Gowan

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter takes a look at the homeless men in San Francisco, California, to identify a spectrum of street discourses on the causes and character of homelessness. Taking up popular discourses of sin, sickness, and the failure of the social system, men on the street reworked, blended, and subverted popular narratives and schemas to make sense of homelessness, both as everyday life and as extraordinary stigma. Sometimes they acted strategically, but just as often with passionate sincerity, fighting for some coherent understanding of their past and present experience that might reduce their confusion or despair. In the case of homeless African Americans, the diversity of the San Francisco street milieu made it possible for them to maintain some distance from the binaries of sin-talk and orient themselves by different principles. Many of the most significant moments in street life, however, never reached the point of a sustained verbal articulation.

Keywords:   homeless men, San Francisco, California, homelessness, sin, sickness, social system, African Americans, street life

Minnesota Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.