Academic Knowledge and Contemporary Poverty: The Politics of Homelessness Research

Sociology Comments Off on Academic Knowledge and Contemporary Poverty: The Politics of Homelessness Research

This article explores the field of homelessness research in relation to the dynamics of contemporary inequality and governmentality, arguing that the dominant perspectives within this field have developed in ways that can converge with the demands of neoliberal governance. The article discusses the causal focus of much homelessness research, the emergence of the ‘orthodoxy’ of homelessness research and new approaches emphasising subjectivity and arguing for a ‘culture of homelessness’. We suggest that homelessness has been constructed as a discrete analytical object extraordinary to the social relations of contemporary inequality. The authority to represent homelessness legitimately has been constituted through positioning ‘the homeless’ outside of a community of valorised and normatively legitimate subjectivities. The article concludes with reflections on an alternative politics of homelessness research that moves towards a critical engagement with the position of homelessness within the structural dynamics of late modernity.

Back to Top