“This book was written late in the North American night, with the rumbling thuds and booming train horns of the nearby rail yard echoing through my windows, reminding me of the train hoppers and gutter punks out there rolling through the darkness.”
In Drift, Jeff Ferrell shows how dislocation and disorientation can become phenomena in their own right. Examining the history of drifting, Ferrell situates the contemporary global phenomenon of drift within today’s economic, social, and cultural dynamics. He then highlights a distinctly North American form of drift—that of the train-hopping hobo—by tracing the hobo’s political history and by sharing his own immersion in the world of contemporary train-hoppers. Along the way, Ferrell sheds light on the ephemeral intensity of drifting communities and explores the contested politics of drift—the legal and political strategies designed to control drifters in the interest of economic development, the irony by which these strategies spawn further social and spatial exclusion, and the ways in which drifters and those who embrace drift create their own slippery strategies of resistance. With an eye toward the truth, Ferrell keenly argues that the lessons of drift can provide us with new models for knowing and engaging with the world around us.
Jeff Ferrell is Professor of Sociology at Texas Christian University and Visiting Professor of Criminology at University of Kent. He is the author of Crimes of Style, Tearing Down the Streets, and Empire of Scrounge, and co-author of the first and second editions of Cultural Criminology: An Invitation.