Needed by Nobody

Needed by Nobody

Homelessness and Humanness in Post-socialist Russia

eBook - 2009
Rate this:

Homelessness became a conspicuous facet of Russian cityscapes only in the 1990s, when the Soviet criminalization of vagrancy and similar offenses was abolished. In spite of the host of social and economic problems confronting Russia in the demise of Soviet power, the social dislocation endured by increasing numbers of people went largely unrecognized by the state.

Being homeless carries a special burden in Russia, where a permanent address is the precondition for all civil rights and social benefits and where homelessness is often regarded as a result of laziness and drinking, rather than external factors. In Needed by Nobody , the anthropologist Tova Hojdestrand offers a nuanced portrait of homelessness in St. Petersburg. Based on ethnographic work at railway stations, soup kitchens, and other places where the homeless gather, Hojdestrand describes the material and mental world of this marginalized population.

They are, she observes, "not needed" in two senses. The state considers them, in effect, as noncitizens. At the same time they stand outside the traditionally intimate social networks that are the real safety net of life in postsocialist Russia. As a result, they are deprived of the prerequisites for dealing with others in ways that they themselves value as "decent" and "human." Hojdestrand investigates processes of social exclusion as well as the remaining "world of waste": things, tasks, and places that are wanted by nobody else and on which "human leftovers" are forced to survive.

In this bleak context, Hojdestrand takes up the intimate worlds of the homeless--their social relationships, dirt and cleanliness, and physical appearance. Her interviews with homeless people show that the indigent have a very good idea of what others think of them and that they are liable to reproduce the stigma that is attached to them even as they attempt to negotiate it. This unique and often moving portrait of life on the margins of society in the new Russia ultimately reveals how human dignity may be retained in the absence of its very preconditions.

Publisher: Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2009.
ISBN: 0801475937
9780801475931
0801447011
9780801447013
Branch Call Number: ELECTRONIC BOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource (ix, 231 p.) : ill., 1 map.
Additional Contributors: ebrary, Inc

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at KCLibrary

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top