Agency is the capacity for human beings to make choices and act in the world. Free will, according to Wikipedia is “putative ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. Do Finkelstein’s informants have agency? I believe they do have agency, just because they do not have one specific place to call home, does not mean they are not capable of making choices and imposing those choices on the world. As stated in the quote about, just because they are without a home does not mean they are social inadequate. The majority of these youth came from volatile home and family environments and made the choice to leave. Others were desperate for ‘freedom’. These young people were able to make the decision to leave home for the search of something better, but without the means to provide better for themselves – they end up on the streets. As discussed in the text, adolescence is a time of “emerging independence” (p. 7), this is when kids are starting to take control of their life choices, so saying these kids have no agency is absurd.
Chapter four of this text focuses heavily in on the homeless youth community and “family”. In order to survive, the street kids that are new to the streets must learn the “ropes” of life on the streets. The best way of doing that is by socializing with the members of the community/”family” that are already familiar with the ways of survival. The new street kids become encultured to the street life society’s culture. They learn from other street kids how to survive and fit in the street kid community/”family”. The street kids bond on a personal level and become “family” mainly because of their shared traumatic experiences. Be that of volatile home environments or family lives, or other traumatic life experiences. Other street kids that left home in search of freedom and independence bonded and became
References: Finkelstein, M. (2005). With no direction home: homeless youth on the road and in the streets. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub Co. A., W, E., H, & Walrath, D. (2007). Cultural anthropology: the human challenge. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub Co.