Peter Marina

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Biography

New Orleans native Peter Marina is a PhD graduate of the New School for Social Research in Manhattan and associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.  He is author of Down and Out in New Orleans: Transgressive Living in the Informal Economy, among other books.  As a sociologist, Marina writes about new and emergent forms of transgression in our highly contradictory late-modern social world.

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Schedule

9:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room F
Book Talk
Down and Out in New Orleans: Transgressive Living in the Informal Economy

10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Barnes & Noble Bookselling Tent
Book Signing


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Down and Out in New Orleans: Transgressive Living in the Informal Economy

In the years since Hurricane Katrina, the modern-day bohemians of New Orleans have found themselves forced to the edges of poverty by the new tourist economy. Modeling his work after George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London, the sociologist and ethnographer Peter J. Marina explores this unfamiliar side of the gentrifying “new” New Orleans. In 1920s Paris, Orwell witnessed an influx of locals and outsiders seeking authenticity while struggling to live with bourgeois society. Marina finds a similar ambivalence in New Orleans: a tourism-dependent city whose commerce caters largely to well-heeled natives and upper-class travelers, where many creative locals and wanderers have remained outsiders, willingly or otherwise.

Marina does not merely interview these spirited urban misfits―he lives among them. Down and Out in New Orleans follows their journeys, depicting the lives of those on the social fringes of a resilient city. Marina finds work as a bartender, street mime, and poet. Along the way, he visits homeless shelters, squats in abandoned buildings, attends rituals in cemeteries, and befriends writers, musicians, occultists, and artists as they look for creative solutions to the contradictory demands of late capitalism. Marina does for New Orleans what Orwell did for Paris a century earlier, providing a rigorous, unrelenting, and original glimpse into the subcultures of a city in rapid change.

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