Pub. Date:
Exiled in America: Life on the Margins in a Residential Motel

Exiled in America: Life on the Margins in a Residential Motel

by Christopher Dum


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Wednesday, September 22


Residential motels have long been places of last resort for many vulnerable Americans—released prisoners, people with disabilities or mental illness, struggling addicts, the recently homeless, and the working poor. Cast aside by their families and mainstream society, they survive in squalid, unsafe, and demeaning circumstances that few of us can imagine.

For a year, the sociologist Christopher P. Dum lived in the Boardwalk Motel to better understand its residents and the varied paths that brought them there. He witnessed moments of violence and conflict, as well as those of care and compassion. As told through the voices and experiences of motel residents, Exiled in America paints a portrait of a vibrant community whose members forged identities in response to overwhelming stigma and created meaningful lives despite crushing economic instability.

In addition to chronicling daily life at the Boardwalk, Dum follows local neighborhood efforts to shut the establishment down, leading to a wider analysis of legislative attempts to sanitize shared social space. He also suggests meaningful policy changes to address the societal failures that lead to the need for motels such as the Boardwalk. The story of the Boardwalk, and the many motels like it, will concern anyone who cares about the lives of America's most vulnerable citizens.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231176422
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 10/04/2016
Series: Studies in Transgression
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Christopher P. Dum is assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Kent State University. He is a contributor to Justice Quarterly and Children and Youth Services Review.

Table of Contents

1. Biography of a Residential Motel
2. Pathways to Motel Life
3. Managing Stigma and Identity
4. Community, Conflict, and Fragility
5. Interactions with the Community
Conclusion: Policy Failure in the Age of Social Sanitization
Appendix 1. List of Participants
Appendix 2. A Reflection on Method

Customer Reviews