Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Academic Knowledge and Contemporary Poverty: The Politics of Homelessness Research

an article by David Farrugia (University of Newcastle, Australia) and Jessica Gerrard (University of Melbourne, Australia) published in Sociology Volume 50 Number 2 (April 2016)


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.

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