Social Class and Social Control: An Examination of the Homeless

Felicia M. Yarborough, University of Missouri - St. Louis

This study examines the mechanisms of informal and formal social control among homeless persons living in downtown St. Louis. The data were derived from semi-structured interviews--conducted with a small sample of homeless people, security officers, and business owners living and working in downtown St. Louis, observations, and interactions with the subject population. The relationship between class, environment, individual culpability, and decision-making (specifically, the decision whether to invoke informal or formal control when rules are violated) is discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006