"Homeless is what I am, not who I am": Insights from an inner-city Brisbane study

Parsell, Cameron (2010) "Homeless is what I am, not who I am": Insights from an inner-city Brisbane study. Urban Policy and Research, 28 2: 181-194. doi:10.1080/08111141003793966

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Author Parsell, Cameron
Title "Homeless is what I am, not who I am": Insights from an inner-city Brisbane study
Journal name Urban Policy and Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1476-7244
Publication date 2010-06-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/08111141003793966
Volume 28
Issue 2
Start page 181
End page 194
Total pages 14
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic., Australia
Publisher Routledge
Language eng
Abstract This article argues that some homelessness literature has tended to place too great an emphasis on homelessness as a defining characteristic of people who are homeless. As such, 'homeless people' are not only defined as the 'other' based on what they lack, but they have become depersonalised. This misconception may have been facilitated by research that has considered homelessness an isolated phenomenon, or because of a reliance on research methods that have failed to directly engage with people experiencing homelessness. This article reports on research using ethnographic methods with people who were homeless in inner-city Brisbane. Research participants largely acknowledged their homelessness, but contextualised it as both symptomatic of, and subordinate to, other far more significant life experiences. Also, no participant in this study perceived their homelessness as defining their identities, either their personal or social identities. Instead, people defined themselves with reference to family, and other life experiences or activities.
Keyword Homelessness
Homeless identity
Public spaces
Substance/alcohol use
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
ERA 2012 Admin Only
School of Social Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 14 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 19 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 31 Oct 2010, 10:00:55 EST