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Stations of the Lost

The Treatment of Skid Row Alcoholics

When first published in 1970, Stations of the Lost won the C. Wright Mills Award for Best Book in the Area of Social Problems. The study considers the Skid Row alcoholic from two points of view, that of the alcoholic himself and that of the agents of social control who treat him. A major discovery of Wiseman’s research was that Skid Row men spend only about one third of the year on Skid Row. The rest of the time is spent "making the loop"—going from Skid Row to city jail, to county jail, to the state mental hospital, to the missions, and back to Skid Row. While these facilities are designed to handle or rehabilitate Skid Row men, they are actually used by these men as a means of survival.

368 pages | 5.90 x 9.00 | © 1979

Social Work

Table of Contents

List of Tables
List of Figures
Preface to the Phoenix Edition
I. Skid Row and Supporting Institutions
1. Skid Row: The Professional Overview and the Participant Close-up
The Professionals’ View of Skid Row
Skid Row as Residents See It
Multiple Realities and the "Insight Phenomenon"
2. Making the Rehab Route: Dual Perspectives on Rehabilitation Agencies
Control and Containment Versus Therapy and Rehabilitation
The Routing Dilemma
Underground Conveyor Systems
II. Strategies of Control and Containment
3. Policing Skid Row and Keeping the Peace: The Dilemma of Handling the Socially Unattached
The Police View Their Assignment
The Row Man Views the Police
4. The Judicial Screening Process: Reinforcement of the Policeman’s Decision
Drunk Court—The Adult Parallel to Juvenile Court, Sentencing as an Assembly-Line Outrage
5. County Jail as a Station on the Loop: The Alcoholic in the Multipurpose Jail
The Jailer’s Dilemma
An Inmate’s Perspective on Serving a Sentence
III. Strategies of Rehabilitation
6. Mental and Physical Therapy: Realities and Adjustments at Two Loop Stations
Reality Adjustment of the Jail Branch Clinic Staff
Reality Adjustment of the Alcoholics to the Jail Branch Clinic
Reality Adjustment of the Staff at the State Mental Hospital
Reality Adjustment of the Patients at the State Mental Hospital
7. Spiritual Salvation: The Last Resort
The Christian Missionaries’ Human Salvage Operation
Being Salvaged: Life with the Christian Missionaries as Seen by the Skid Row Alcoholic
IV. Strategies of Survival
8. The Return to Society: The Prodigal Son Syndrome in Rehabilitation
Making a Comeback: Envisioned Goals and Professional Plans
The Skid Row Man Puts "The Plan" into Operation
Cycling Out
9. Benefactors, Beneficiaries, Compassion, Gratitude, and Trust: Forms of Social Relationships Between the Helper and the Helped
Emotions and the Giver-Receiver Relationship
Whose Description of Reality Prevails?
Self-Generating Aspects of the Loop
Appendix: Methodology
Deciphering the Actor’s Perspective
Research Decisions and Developmental Stages

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