Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Figures and Tables

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

The resourceful women of Newark, Elizabeth, and New Brunswick, New Jersey, made this book possible through the generous gifts of their time, trust, and friendship. Both they and their families took a chance by taking me under their wings. Many others also deserve...

Abbreviations

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pp. xv-xvii

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1. Torn between Structure and Agency

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pp. 1-20

Caridad and her son, Manuelito, had lived in Newark for only a year when she got married. This was an unexpected blessing. Caridad had left Puerto Rico to escape an abusive relationship with her longtime partner, a violent IV drug user. When she arrived she hoped...

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2. Resourceful Women

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pp. 21-60

Here you will meet New Jersey’s resourceful women through my eyes. I tell these stories with the full awareness that I have, in some sense, constructed them. Though I have drawn from women’s own words whenever possible, they do not speak for themselves. If they...

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3. Unpacking Newark’s Epidemic

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pp. 61-88

In order to understand the impact of cultural and social capital on the lives of Caridad and her cohorts, it is crucial to understand the city in which most of them lived. When I began planning my study in the mid-1990s, most of the women I worked with had just begun...

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4. Understanding HIV

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pp. 89-110

The women I worked with all had acquaintances, friends, and even family members who had contracted the virus, but they were unprepared to hear the diagnosis themselves. HIV/AIDS was something that happened to other people. They had all been exposed to both...

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5. Managing Social Services

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pp. 111-128

One day I arrived at Nini’s house to find her stalking around the kitchen with an annoyed expression. “What’s the matter?” I asked, as we flopped down at the kitchen table. “I just got off the phone with my case manager,” Nini huffed. “She heard about a job and she wants me...

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6. Working the Clinics

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pp. 129-145

One sunny afternoon I stopped at Carlotta’s apartment to see how she was doing. When she opened the door I could see from the look on her face that something was wrong. Before we...

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7. Taking Care of Yourself

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pp. 146-163

I feel tired when I go out and, you know, all I wanna be is in the house. I’m not like before that I used to be running here and running there, and you know, now it’s like, I wanna be comfortable, you know, in the house, in my house. Not in nobody’s...

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8. Learning from Resourceful Women

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pp. 164-172

I began my work with Newark’s resourceful women by asking four key questions. Given their limited resources, how did they manage an illness as serious as HIV/AIDS? Did they seek out alternatives to conventional medicine and, if so, what kind? Could they...

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Epilogue: Sorrows and Joys

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pp. 173-188

Ten years have passed since I left the field. My experiences with northern New Jersey’s resourceful women have shaped who I am and how I see the world. I cannot imagine who I would have become without them. My relationships with some women stayed strong, while...

Reference List

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pp. 189-200

Index

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pp. 201-208

About the Author

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p. 209