Hobos, Hustlers, and Backsliders

Topics: Poverty, Homelessness, Political philosophy Pages: 1 (264 words) Published: May 12, 2014
The second chapter is an overview of societal methods of dealing with poverty and homelessness from the time of Martin Luther and after. As Gowen says “the charity activists, like Martin Luther 350 years earlier, were nostalgic for a radiant past when rich and poor had interacted more intimately, with less overt conflict” (Gowen/HHB, pg 35) To add to world history, there is also specific history about San Francisco, including the program called Matrix of the Frank Jordan era through “Care Not Cash”. Gowan discusses the dialog around the constructions of poverty, a moral viewpoint where sin is the cause, a disease viewpoint, and a systemic viewpoint. She points out that these discourses are taken up not only by authorities but also by homeless people themselves. Somebody who is considered a bad boy is somebody who is buying into the sin-talk viewpoint; the sick-talk viewpoint is common among people who have left the street through 12-step recovery; system talk is formulated in various ways, including identification with veterans who have been abandoned by the system. The theories of John Locke play a key role in the previous sentence. As Locke’s theories state that each person should be guaranteed “life, liberty, and estate.” The veterans who were left with nothing by the government and had to survive off of nothing did not fall under Locke’s theory, not given a type of life they needed, not given the same liberty as the rest of the people who are not considered homeless, and not given any estate to call their own like a rich man does.
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