Homelessness and identity : a critical review of the literature and theory

MCCARTHY, Lindsey (2013). Homelessness and identity : a critical review of the literature and theory. People, place and policy online, 7 (1), 46-58.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.3351/ppp.0007.0001.0004


Within the news media and literature, alike, people experiencing homelessness are often categorised into various stereotypes revolving around their lack of abode. In such a practice a ‘homeless identity’ becomes the defining feature of a person’s character. Very few theoretical studies have critically addressed this discursive construction and its implications. This paper contributes to the few existing debates around the 'homeless identity' by arguing that such constructions are binding and misguided. The paper takes insight from the many and varied theories of ‘identity’ – how different approaches have theorised it and what might be borrowed from them to (re)conceptualise the ‘homeless identity’. After outlining several approaches to identity, the paper asks how someone experiencing homelessness might resist or challenge prescriptive identities and how the literature and research around homelessness might progress. It concludes that an intersectional approach will enrich a literature which tends to focus on a singular 'homeless identity'. Such an approach will address the intersection of lines of difference and recognise that the identity of any individual is multiple and fluid.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.3351/ppp.0007.0001.0004
Page Range: 46-58
Depositing User: Lindsey Mccarthy
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2017 11:56
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 04:10
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14748

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