TO PURCHASE THIS BOOK: DIGNITY IN EXILE: STORIES OF HOPE AND STRUGGLE FROM A MODERN AMERICAN SHANTYTOWN by Eric Weissman, photographs by Nigel Dickson. $24.95, 208 pages.
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This book challenges the misrepresentation of the poor in popular media by addressing issues of poverty and homelessness through an intimate account of life in a modern American shantytown.
Dignity in Exile is a powerful photo-ethnographic journey that draws on video documentation, photography, fieldnotes and electronic correspondence gathered over a two-year study of the community Dignity Village, in Portland Oregon that is at the center of many debates about alternative housing for the very poor. Rather than criticize villagers who might have drug addictions, mental health issues and criminal records, Dignity in Exile asks how it is that the villagers navigate a tenuous and fragile relationship with city government and pursue their rights as citizens.
As Dicksons photos and Weissmans conversations reveal, the village is composed of complex and creative people. This book presents a compelling visual representation of the flame of dignity that burns deeply inside those in exile.
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