Diablo Steve panhandles at a busy intersection
Tags: class, crime/law/deviance, marriage/family, methodology/statistics, drugs, ethnography, homelessness, visual ethnography, substance abuse, 06 to 10 mins
Access: YouTube; Vimeo
Summary: This observational film from filmmaker Greg Scott and a crew of sociologists chronicles the daily lives of Diablo Steve and Sapphire Pam, a homeless and heroin-addicted married couple. Beginning with a brief wedding anniversary celebration, the camera follows Steve and Pam as they go about their daily routine, which includes a visit to a "shooting gallery," where they inject their "medicine," and a visit to a busy intersection, where they carry out their panhandling "hustle." The film sticks with Steve and Pam as they navigate various modes of transportation throughout the day, until finally setting up camp at a homeless shelter, where they attempt to get some relief in a momentary and fleeting setting of “home.” Although the film neither expresses judgement nor engages in the kind of overt analyses one typically finds in films that include interviews and narration, assistant videographer Thom Fredericks notes that "Ultimately the film represents an effort to analyze marriage and the ways in which the meaning of marriage has changed in society." In the context of a sociology class, instructors can easily draw on the film as a basis for contemplating a range of other topics, including homelessness, substance abuse, and deviance. The film is also an excellent example of visual ethnography, which is a form of ethnographic research that incorporates photography, video, or hypermedia.
Submitted By: Thom Fredericks
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