Citizen Hobo: How a Century of Homelessness Shaped America

Citizen Hobo: How a Century of Homelessness Shaped America
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Fighting the tramp army

Published July 8th by University of Chicago Press first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions 4. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Citizen Hobo , please sign up.

Citizen Hobo: How a Century of Homelessness Shaped America

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In the years following the Civil War, a veritable army of homeless men swept across America's "wageworkers' frontier" and forged a beguiling and bedeviling counterculture known as "hobohemia." Celebrating unfettered masculinity and jealously guarding the American road as the. The book Citizen Hobo: How a Century of Homelessness Shaped America, Todd DePastino is published by University of Chicago Press.

Showing Rating details. Sort order. Oct 23, Marvin rated it liked it Shelves: midwest. The Summer issue of Iowa Heritage Illustrated focuses on Iowa and the Midwest as the source of abundant food that its best citizens found ways to share with the rest of the world.

#TBT – Hoboes, bums, tramps: How our terminology of homelessness has changed

Many of us in the Midwest, however, are unwilling to admit that the fruits of such abundance have been far from equally shared even within our own communities. Yet those workers remain largely invisible in the historical record, mostly because their transient status meant that they have not been seen as integral parts of particular communities and because they left few records of their lives and work. Perhaps the most striking thing about both books is how they take readers inside a very unfamiliar world, but also show us how much that world was an integral part of more familiar rural and urban experiences.

Indispensable Outcasts is grounded more in the lived experience of transient workers on farms and railroads throughout the Midwest and Great Plains and in the forests and Iron Range of northern Minnesota. Hobo workers, he shows us, were not aimless drifters. Instead, they were in rational pursuit of economic opportunity, and they served critical needs for seasonal labor in the communities through which they passed and in which they worked. Nor was the life of hobo workers characterized by some idealized form of freedom from all constraints and dependence on others.

History of Homelessness

Higbie devotes some attention to how those stereotypes arose and what they say about the mostly middle-class commentators who spread them. But that myth making is more central to Citizen Hobo. The second chapter in each book is devoted specifically to identifying the biases in accounts of tramping by Progressive Era social scientists, journalists, fiction writers, and other observers.

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DePastino continues to include in nearly every chapter analyses of images of homeless people from a wide range of cultural venues, including vaudeville, novels, photographs, cartoons, music, and film. Higbie followed hobo workers across the rural areas and small towns of the Midwest; he includes a fascinating account of a free speech campaign by members of the Industrial Workers of the World in Sioux City in In Minneapolis in , for example, private and public employment agencies found work for , men.

Both books use many of the same sources, and there is considerable overlap, but the focus and goals are quite different. If Indispensable Outcasts seems more grounded in the actual experiences of hobo workers, Citizen Hobo is more attentive to change over time, and it brings the story of homelessness up to the present. Both shed new light on a much misunderstood part of our history.

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Aug 10, Renata rated it it was amazing. Simply fantastic.

Citizen Hobo: How a Century of Homelessness Shaped America | Labor | Duke University Press

With this theme woven throughout, the author exposes the impact that varying cultural conceptions of "home" had on homeless people and housing policy. Covers the racial history of homelessness, including extensive focus on how homelessness, Simply fantastic. Covers the racial history of homelessness, including extensive focus on how homelessness, as originally conceived in post-Civil War society, was a crisis of "white manhood" and was the subject of intense academic and political discussion as to how to remedy the crisis. Here are a couple of paragraphs toward the end of the book that capture the author's take on the research: "What separates the postwar studies of homeless 'disaffiliation' from their contemporary counterparts, however, is the positive valuation that radical ethnographers give to their subjects' 'antisocial' behaviors and countercultural ideologies.

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Sociologists like Bahr and Caplow definedthe skid row community as illegitimate because its members did not 'go along with the rules' and lived 'beyond the reach of organized society. Radical ethnographers returned to the basic categories of skid row studies, but instead of interpreting homeless persons' 'disaffiliation' as pathological, attempted to explain their subjects' deviance as rational responses to traditional instutions and ideologies that have failed American society as a whole.

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Today the consequences of this achievement continue to weigh heavily upon us. Even in our postmodern era, which ostensibly recognizes the diversity of home ideals, poor people who reject or are rejected by the nuclear family face a gruesome existence where the protections and immunities of citizenship do not include housing For the homeless, winning citizenship means struggling not only for shelter, but for 'home' differently defined.

For however it is imagined, the American home remains an essential means for gaining access, belonging, inclusion and power. Jul 16, Joshua Gates rated it liked it. Hobo culture has withstood the test of time and has it roots in the 19th century. Not every Unionists or Confederate could rejoin society.

The single males took to boxcars in search of work. This book found at one of the many libraries in the DC area and since hobos practically surround all the major metro entrances I wanted to better understand the question why. I found that hobohemia as Todd DePastino labels it is a unique set of ideologies.

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Want to Read saving…. Both books use many of the same sources, and there is considerable overlap, but the focus and goals are quite different. An interesting look at the hobo culture to be sure. Voices of Revolution. Aug 10, Renata rated it it was amazing. Never used!. Remove From Wishlist Cancel.

In this eye-opening work of American history, Todd DePastino tells the epic story of hobohemia's rise and fall, and crafts a stunning new interpretation of the "American century" in the process. Drawing on sources ranging from diaries, letters, and police reports to movies and memoirs, Citizen Hobo breathes life into the largely forgotten world of the road, but it also, crucially, shows how the hobo army so haunted the American body politic that it prompted the creation of an entirely new social order and political economy.

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DePastino shows how hoboes—with their reputation as dangers to civilization, sexual savages, and professional idlers—became a cultural and political force, influencing the creation of welfare state measures, the promotion of mass consumption, and the suburbanization of America. Citizen Hobo 's sweeping retelling of American nationhood in light of enduring struggles over "home" does more than chart the change from "homelessness" to "houselessness.

Resettling the Hobo Army It all depends on what you mean by home.