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6149 -- THOMAS, STEFAN

Berliner Szenetreffpunkt Bahnhof Zoo. Alltag junger Menschen auf der Straße
Wiesbaden: VS Verlag 2005
249 pp., Euro 22.90; ISBN 3-531-14614-9

The Berlin meeting place Bahnhof Zoo. Everyday life of young homeless people
This book portrays the glittering and adventurous, but also difficult and poverty-stricken lifestyle of young people living in difficult housing situations gathering around the Berlin railway station "Bahnhof Zoo". This special meeting point is characteristic of people having a wide network of acquaintances existing in the anonymity of urban space. There are material deprivations, homelessness, lack of perspective, and precarious to deviant forms of income. A counterbalance for this negative state is the ’community´ of young people, being the determining center of their lives. The psychologist Thomas has applied ethnographic ’participant observation´ for one year, a method to which he attributes much relevance in research about ’deviant behavior´. After the methodological introduction follows a portrait of the setting, the Bahnhof Zoo, and a number of subject realms: biographical difficulties of the people, poverty and destruction of everyday life, housing situation, school, work life and other tasks, plans and ideas about the present and the future, and finally, the end of poverty in which possibilities for intervention are presented to better the life of these people.

Keywords: poverty in Berlin, homelessness, deviant behavior, urban poor

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