Much of Bourgois's work examines how macro-power forces shape individual behavior and intimate relations. Since the mid-1990s his research has been funded by HIV prevention grants from the National Institutes of Health and has focused on the survival strategies of homeless drug users. Since moving to the University of Pennsylvania in 2007 he has initiated fieldwork on drugs and violence among street youth in North Philadelphia. See "The Moral Economy of Violence in the US Inner City" in Current Anthropology, Volume 55, Issue 1, February 2014 and also "Insecurity, the War on Drugs, and Crimes of the State: Symbolic Violence in the Americas" in Violence at the Urban Margins. pp. 305–321. Edited by Javier Auyero, et al. Oxford University Press, 2015.
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