2010 Leeds Prize

The 2010 Leeds Prize is awarded to Philippe Bourgois for his book Righteous Dopefiend (University of California Press). Photographs by Jeff Schonberg.

Righteous Dopefiend tackles sensitive and difficult issues with exemplary balance between ethical commitment, social empathy, and analytical distance. It elucidates relations among homeless drug addicts and the effects of various structures through the sensitive portrayal of individual perceptions and bodily experience. Instead of treating individual, community, and larger impersonal structures as separate scales that need to be linked through theories, the book provides an example of how close-up observations and conceptual analysis can be deeply integrated.

A truly amazing book that is presented with a great deal of style and attention to detail, Righteous Dopefiend represents an important accomplishment in terms of collaborative research and writing, and it stands out for the artful way that it combines written and visual representation. This book does a service not only to the people whose lives have become so entwined in our understanding of poverty, but also to the emergence of a new critical anthropology, one that is only on the verge of understanding the field’s relevance in a rapidly changing world.”

(Provided by Robert Rotenberg, Leeds Committee Chair)

Past Leeds Award Winners