Homeless and Structural Violence

1143 Words 5 Pages
The homeless and addicts have been stratified to the bottom of the social ladder. They are thought to be deviants therefore as a society we are taught to ignore and despise them and disregard their needs. Bourgeois and Schonberg’s 10-year study, Righteous Dopefiend, follows the lives of heroin addicted homeless folk living on Edgewater Boulevard. The Edgewater homeless recognize that those with economic capital have a responsibility in caring for their needs thus they embrace their worthiness in society. As a result of this they label themselves as “righteous dopefiends” (2009, p. 5). Bourgeois and Schonberg show how structural violence has affected the Edgewater homeless, such as self-blame, lack of access to quality medical care and what …show more content…
Symbolic violence cultivates ideologies of self-blaming. The Edgewater homeless should not be held fully responsible for being homeless and addicted. Throughout the study the participants would enter rehab, detox and some even underwent methadone treatment. After treatment many relapsed and blamed themselves for not having stronger determination as they felt that they were not persistent enough (Bourgeois & Schonberg, 2009, p. 285). Thus, symbolic violence of self-blame is very real in the lives of the homeless because they are deceived into thinking that they are weak. Furthermore, society takes part in victim-blaming, as they are perceived into thinking that they are fully responsible for not overcoming addiction or get themselves into proper housing. Instead of having these views the discourse should really be about trying to find appropriate solutions and really zone in on looking at the bigger problem that is continuing the cycle of structural violence (Bourgeois & Schonberg, 2009, p. 318).
It is important to understand the structural violence that takes place against individuals with less access to wealth, power and access to resources. In this ethnography, Bourgeois and Schonberg expose the cycle of addiction in which the Edgewater homeless fall victims of. The cycle of addiction is perpetuated by not giving homeless addicts proper access to resources, as many of men interviewed expressed desire to give up
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