With No Direction Home: Homeless Youth on the Road and in the Streets
By Marni Finkelstein
In this critical review of Marni Finkelstein’s ethnography “With No Direction Home: Homeless Youth on the Road and in the Streets” I will analyze and evaluate some of the strategies and methods used by this author. One primary issue I will discuss is the sample population. Finkelstein may have set the population limitations to strictly for this ethnography. Her limited observation location and time is also a major issue. She chose to study a transient population that, very likely, primarily comes out at night. Yet, she limited herself to one primary location and she only went there in the daytime. I will discuss the lack …show more content…
This would have been more likely if she was willing to spend more time in their “natural habitat.” Follow up on the interviews with the youth should have been done. Talking with the family or schools of the kids would have added much needed detail to the ethnography. Since she was paying the kids, perhaps she could have paid more for verifiable information about their previous mainstream lives. Then followed up on the information provided and reported her results. It would have been nice to have a section on what their families and teachers said about how the kids were before their lives on the street. Perhaps, verifying or debunking some of the information the kids told her. It’s not only important that the kids are on the street, but why. What lead them there and are the youth truthful overall?
It would have been interesting if Finkelstein could have interviewed ex-Tomkins Square Park kids for her book. Do they ever get out? Do they move on to other arenas for homelessness as they age? Clearly, in Chapter 9, the kids have plans for the future. It’s also clear that their plans are of then just a shared illusion. They don’t currently have the means or the wherewithal to accomplish the goals they’ve set out. The kids, like Jeff and Joyce, clearly have plans to buy land, but no real idea of the amount of money it requires. I am sure there