Critical Review: with No Direction Home: Homeless Youth on the Road and in the Streets by Marni Finkelstein
1959 WordsApr 30, 20118 Pages
With No Direction Home: Homeless Youth on the Road and in the Streets
By Marni Finkelstein
In this critical review of Marni Finkelstein’s ethnography “With No Direction Home: Homeless Youth on the Road and in the Streets” I will analyze and evaluate some of the strategies and methods used by this author. One primary issue I will discuss is the sample population. Finkelstein may have set the population limitations to strictly for this ethnography. Her limited observation location and time is also a major issue. She chose to study a transient population that, very likely, primarily comes out at night. Yet, she limited herself to one primary location and she only went there in the daytime. I will discuss the lack…show more content…
In order to fully understand and appreciate a subsistence strategy, one must subsist from it, if only for a brief period. She might have considered a more interactive participant observation model to more fully experience their culture.
Finkelstein should have gone out into the park when more kids were out and about. She mentioned that she only when out in the daylight, “I would try to get to the field site early before the kids were either too drunk to be interviewed or completely passed out in the grass” (Finkelstein, 2005). Because these kids are alcoholics and drug addicts, it is very likely that much of their life takes place after sundown and before sun up. I imagine that they have quite a tolerance and are relatively functional for much of the early part of the evening. “Drugs and alcohol were a major part of the kid’s lives” (Finkelstein, 2005). I can certainly appreciate her concern for personal safety, but if this is the population she wanted to study she might have made more of an effort to be around when the activities were in full swing. She only mentioned being at one party in the book. I have to believe that there were countless similar activities during her research, of which she was not a part.
I have gathered from the ethnography that Finkelstein interviewed each kid only once. From that interview, she sprinkled quotes throughout the book. She mentions a few times in