addicted.pregnant.poor by Kelly Ray Knight

By Kelly Ray Knight

For the addicted, pregnant, and bad girls dwelling in daily-rent motels in San Francisco's venture district, lifestyles is marked by means of battles opposed to drug cravings, housing debt, and capability violence. during this gorgeous ethnography Kelly Ray Knight offers those girls in all their complicated humanity and asks what sorts of futures are attainable for them given their possible hopeless scenario. in the course of her 4 years of fieldwork Knight documented women’s struggles as they traveled from the road to the health center, reformatory, and relations court docket, and again to the inns. She ways addicted being pregnant as a regular phenomenon in those women's lives and describes how they need to navigate the strain among pregnancy's calls for to stick fresh and the pull of habit and poverty towards drug use and intercourse paintings. by way of developing the distance for addicted women's personal narratives and studying addicted being pregnant from clinical, coverage, and social technology views, Knight forces us to confront and re-examine the methods we expect approximately dependancy, trauma, future health, illegal activity, and accountability.

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Sample text

I have to get to work to pay for this room,” she tells me. “Lexi, I don’t think you can,” I respond. I can’t imagine her pulling dates [doing sex work] in her condition. She doesn’t argue and goes to change her pad in the bathroom down the hall. Even if she does spike a fever, she won’t return to the hospital. Because she came in on a 5150 psychiatric admit and left AMA, Lexi fears the hospital staff will commit her, to finish off her man- datory seventy-­two-­hour lockdown. Then no one would be at the bus station to meet her six-­year-­old son, Lionel, who is arriving, alone, in several hours.

In the private daily-­rent hotels the gatekeepers were often men in their twenties who would sit behind a heavy clear plastic window. These men had to buzz a visitor or tenant in through the door at street level. 4. Chandra Hotel, January 2009. Photo by the author. his or her presence in the hotel. These interactions were not overly intimidating, but they often had the hostile feel of an official checkpoint interrogation: no one was getting by the gatekeeper without an explanation, or some money for rent or a visiting fee.

It would be false to describe the relationship of urban anthropology and the urban poor as one of only exploitation. The witness here can play an important role of revealing the social and structural underpinnings of social suffering. Beyond that, my relationships with the women in the daily-­rent hotels were more complex and ambivalent than a simplified political economic analysis 24 INTRODUCTION of poverty would capture or, indeed, support. I was a vulture, an anthropologist seeking information, stories, and photographs to document the everyday suffering in the daily-­rent hotels.

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