Eric Weissman

Assistant Professor

PhD

Social Science

Hazen Hall 209

Saint John

eric.weissman@unb.ca
1 506 648 5651



Eric Weissman Ph.D. has been studying homelessness, housing and social policy in Canadian and US cities since 1999. Having recovered from the lived experience of episodic homelessness and addictions, over 23 years ago, he is well familiar with the difficulty people have when trying to find and keep safe and stable housing, which is essential to addressing other health concerns. His current academic work began in 1999 in tent camps and shantytowns like Toronto’s Tent City, which was the subject of his first film, “Subtext-real stories” (2005; 2012). He lived for a short time at Dignity Village Oregon, the first legal shantytown in US history, and the main site for his dissertation fieldwork completed at Concordia University in Montreal.

In 2014 his dissertation was awarded the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies Distinguished Dissertation Award. His work is comparative and critical. He looks at the provisions that make a range of housing models, from Housing First to tiny home communities, which he calls Intentional Homeless Communities, feasible in the context of widespread homelessness in North American cities. He uses photos, video, and visual elicitation practices to understand the narratives impacting how social policies are designed, experienced and critiqued. His work is a form of community based critical and pragmatic ethnography that asks stakeholders of various kinds in the areas of housing, homelessness, mental health and addictions, “ how do you see the world, and how might you change it?”

He has led a number of community based research projects examining policies governing housing for vulnerable populations, published two books, presented at many international conferences and speaks publicly about issues related to his research and lived experience. In 2017, he was honoured to be a contributing author of the Canadian Definition of Indigenous Homelessness (Thistle, COH 2017), a policy piece now adopted widely by governments across Canada.

In addition to these interests, In 2018, Dr. Weissman became Principal Investigator on a multi-sited study of post-secondary student homelessness across Canada. This collaborative project involves researchers from a number of Canadian post-secondary institutions, education and housing policy makers, and students in an effort to understand the size of the problem and create the means to address it. This project, still early in its development, is the subject of CBC and Canadian Press coverage.

Education

  • Ph.D. Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec
  • M.A. Sociology, University of Toronto
  • B.A. Social/Cultural Anthropology, University of Toronto

Teaching

  • Cannabis Use in Canada
  • Social Theory
  • Ethnography
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Spatial Justice
  • Social Indicators of Health
  • Visual Methods
  • Social Inequality
  • Social Psychology and Identity
  • Social Networks
  • Media
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Applied Social Research
  • Social Policy

Books

Dignity in Exile (2012) Holstein, Ontario: Exile Editions

Tranquility on the Razor’s Edge (2017) Oakville: Rock’s Mills Press

Research

"Modes of Cannabis Representation and their Social Impacts." This very early research looks at the role symbols play in creating moral positions about Cannabis in Canada, and, in particular, explores how to teach youth and students about drug culture in the post-legalization era.