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Hobo Jungle: A Homeless Community in Paradise

Michele Wakin
Hobo Jungle: A Homeless Community in Paradise
ISBN: 978-1-62637-871-1
ISBN: 978-1-62637-872-8
ISBN: 978-1-62637-883-4
2020/221 pages/LC: 2019036383
"This book would teach wonderfully.... Wakin has produced a solid ethnography that morphs into an urgent, necessary, and humane moral indictment for our times." —Kim Hopper, Contemporary Sociology

"Well-researched and well-written.... Highly recommended." —Choice

"Excellent.... Wakin goes beyond earlier work to explode traditional ideas of how homelessness has been conceptualized." —J. Talmadge Wright, Loyola University Chicago


For many decades and for many reasons, people who are homeless have chosen to live in camps or other makeshift settings, even when shelters are available. Is this an act of resistance? Of self-preservation? Or are they simply too addicted, too mentally ill, or too criminal to adapt to the rules and regulations of shelter life?

To address these questions, Michele Wakin explores the evolution of unsheltered homelessness through an evocative portrait of a jungle encampment that has endured since the Great Depression in one of the most opulent cities on California's south coast.


Michele Wakin is professor of sociology at Bridgewater State University. She is the author of Otherwise Homeless: Vehicle Living and the Culture of Homelessness.


  • My Welcome to the Jungle.
  • A Protected Community: 1940s–1950s.
  • Power and Protest: 1980s.
  • Danger and Risk: 2000s.
  • A Hierarchy of Makeshifts.
  • Paradise Revisited.