Dead-End LivesDrugs and Violence in the City Shadows

Dead-End LivesDrugs and Violence in the City Shadows

Daniel Briggs and Rubén Monge Gamero

Print publication date: 2018

ISBN: 9781447341680

Publisher: Policy Press

Abstract

Welcome to the dead end of the city shadows in Valdemingómez on the outskirts of Madrid: a lawless landscape of drugs and violence where the third world meets the Wild West. Having had three national research proposals rejected, Briggs and Monge entered this area with no institutional support or formal funding. With only patience, some cigarettes and a mobile phone, they slowly gained the trust of those who live and visit one of Europe's most problematic ghettos, and collected images and testimonies from drug addicts, gypsies, residents, police, and harm-reduction staff. The result is this disturbing but moving account of how a forgotten population of people survive in a desolate misery having fallen casualty to various social, political and economic processes, and as a consequence, internalize and reproduce this suffering through destructive forms of drug use which compromises their own health and wellbeing. The text also charts how neoliberal governance and rampant corruption have produced this area of spatial inequality: a place which lacks infrastructure, decent public health and is controlled by oppressive urban social control structures which are charged with intervening on this haven for organised crime, drug dealing, and brutal forms of violence. Briggs and Monge two-year study use the words and photos from these peoples’ personal stymies and their work is testament to what is possible beyond the realms of increasingly bureacratised academic research structures and biased funding calls.