Homeless identities: enacted and ascribed

Parsell, Cameron (2011) Homeless identities: enacted and ascribed. British Journal of Sociology, 62 3: 442-461. doi:10.1111/j.1468-4446.2011.01373.x

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Author Parsell, Cameron
Title Homeless identities: enacted and ascribed
Journal name British Journal of Sociology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0007-1315
Publication date 2011-09
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1468-4446.2011.01373.x
Open Access Status
Volume 62
Issue 3
Start page 442
End page 461
Total pages 20
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Abstract Homelessness has been a perennial concern for sociologists. It is a confronting phenomenon that can challenge western notions of home, a discrete family unit and the ascetics and order of public space. To be without a home and to reside in public places illustrates both an intriguing way of living and some fundamental inadequacies in the functioning of society. Much homelessness research has had the consequence of isolating the 'homeless person' as distinct category or indeed type of individual. They are ascribed with homeless identities. The homeless identity is not simply presented as one dimensional and defining, but this imposed and ill-fitting identity is rarely informed by a close and long-term engagement with the individuals it is supposed to say something about. Drawing on a recent Australian ethnographic study with people literally without shelter, this article aims to contribute to understandings of people who are homeless by outlining some nuanced and diverse aspects of their identities. It argues that people can and do express agency in the way they enact elements of the self, and the experience of homelessness is simultaneously important and unimportant to understand this. Further, the article suggests that what is presumably known about the homeless identity is influenced by day-to-day lives that are on public display.
Keyword Homeless identity
Homeless people
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Institute for Social Science Research - Publications
Official 2012 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 12 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 19 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 18 Oct 2011, 10:49:16 EST by Dr Cameron Parsell on behalf of Institute for Social Science Research