'A place to call our own: On the geographical and social marginalisation of homeless people

'A place to call our own: On the geographical and social marginalisation of homeless people

Notwithstanding heightened awareness of the issues faced by homeless people, the notion that homelessness is the result of individual failings and weaknesses persists. The paper seeks to challenge that perception by giving voice to this marginalised group and exploring the mechanisms through which they made and remade as homeless. The paper highlights the spatial practices by which stigmatised groups come to be separated from mainstream society reinforcing the boundaries between ‘normal’ and ‘deviant’. It is argued that largely deprived of the private sphere, which arguably renders them in most need of public space, homeless people find themselves most subject to scrutiny, surveillance, social disapprobation and exclusion. We reiterate that rather than simply being associated with rooflessness, homelessness is as a function of ongoing geographical marginalisation and social alienation. We suggest that in responses, dedicated spaces for homeless people to occupy during the day, whilst not unproblematic, might disrupt such processes.

PUBLICATION DATE: 2017