Righteous Dopefiend Analysis

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Righteous Dopefiend addresses the issue of homelessness among the community of drug addicts in San Francisco, California. Being homeless is one of the many issues that encompass the reality of these dopefiend’s daily lives. Anthropologists Bourgois and Schonberg articulate a better understanding for the readers to observe the lives of those who live on the streets and have an uncontrollable drug addiction. “Moral economy” as described in this book is a means of everyday survival—this gift exchange culture is central to the lives of these addicts. They share drugs with one another with the expectation that they will receive the same aid in the future. Partnerships such as the “moral economy” is life-saving for the subjects in this book because it creates an emotional support group that gives them reliance on one another and gives the subjects an opening to be dependent on one another …show more content…
The subjects of the book financially depend on moral economy to survive on a daily basis. For the most part, the majority of the subjects are financially unstable as none of them have a steady income. Moral economy among the homeless addicts in San Francisco is not a written guideline but rather these agreements are established through time among them. The reciprocation of heroin sharing allows the subjects to create a stable community. The filthy cotton that these heroin addicts use, becomes a valuable item in the world of gift giving because of the residue of heroin on it. In order for the subjects in and addicts in general to survive, they must remain in the moral community of gift giving. The unsanitary practices of sharing syringes and cotton balls can cause avoidable infections and spreads diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV. However, to stay alive in their street subculture—and to avoid dope sickness—they have to share with one

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