Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Andrea Leverentz

Second Advisor

Sarah Mayorga

Third Advisor

Kevin Drakulich


Methadone Mile, a pejorative label used to describe an area near Boston’s South End neighborhood, is known for its open-air drug market, disorderly streets, and concentration of addiction and homeless social services. For over a century, social services in the area have provided care to the city’s most vulnerable. Yet, over the past several decades the neighborhood gentrified. Whereas gentrification often results in social services being pushed out of changing neighborhoods, the area continues to be the city’s central social service hub. As a result, the South End is a hotbed of conflict and tension as the city’s well-to-do and social service providers clash over claims as the rightful owners of the neighborhood. I used participant observation of neighborhood meetings and in-depth interviews with social service recipients and/or those on the streets, social service providers, and neighborhood residents to uncover how power dynamics shape neighborhood social control efforts and the contestation for the right to control the South End.

Included in

Criminology Commons