Swept Up Lives: Re-envisioning the Homeless City / Edition 1

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Utilizing innovative ethnographic research, Swept Up Lives? challenges conventional accounts of urban homelessness to trace the complex and varied attempts to care for homeless people
  • Presents innovative ethnographic research which suggests an important shift in perspective in the analysis and understanding of urban homelessness
  • Emphasizes the ethical and emotional geographies of care embodied and performed within homeless services spaces
  • Suggests that different homelessness ‘scenes’ develop in different places due to varied historical, political, and cultural responses to the problems faced
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Swept up Lives? lives up toexpectations and delivers a well argued and insightful analysis that progresses established paradigmatic ways of understanding homelessness in the Western world." (UGRG Book Review Series, 19 December 2011)

"Swept Up Lives? should be read not just by academics, but by homeless NGOs and by politicians and policy-makers. It provides a powerful statement of the humanity of homeless persons, and of the continued importance of an ethos of care and compassion in service provision to them." (Journal Housing & the Built Environment, 2011)

"A compelling narrative, moving from 'the street' to structure and back again, to argue that more attention needs to be paid to the neoliberalist welfare state. The authors highlight examples of hope and caring, providing a critical but optimistic view of what can be done by individuals, institutions, and governing bodies. A must read for researchers and students interested in understanding not only homelessness, but also the complexities of governance.’
—Lois M. Takahashi, University of California, Los Angeles

‘Challenging theories of urban revanchism that deny homeless people agency and neglect the complexities of today’s welfare state, Swept Up Lives provides a sharp conceptual corrective and rich portrayal of geographies of homelessness in Britain. Detailed ethnographies and institutional analysis offer a window on homeless subjectivities and voluntary organizations as spaces of caring and active citizenship. I highly recommend this book.’
—Jennifer Wolch, University of California, Berkeley

‘A well crafted, insightful and timely book that overturns existing orthodoxies, exploring the experience of homelessness in the UK and providing a thought-provoking portrayal of the human face of homelessness.’
—Christine Milligan, Lancaster University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405153867
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/3/2010
  • Series: RGS-IBG Book Series , #36
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Cloke is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Exeter. His research interests are in social and cultural geographies of ethics, rurality, and nature, and he has published widely on issues relating to poverty, homelessness, and social marginalisation.

Jon May is Professor of Geography at Queen Mary University of London. He has published extensively on the geographies of homelessness and is the co-author or co-editor of five books including, most recently, Global Cities at Work: New Migrant Divisions of Labour (2009).

Sarah Johnsen is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Housing Policy, University of York. She has published widely in the field of homelessness and social policy.

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Table of Contents

Figures and Tables.

Series Editors' Preface.



1 Introduction: Re-envisioning the Homeless City.

2 From Neoliberalization to Postsecularism.

3 Tactics and Performativities in the Homeless City.

4 'He's Not Homeless, He Shouldn't Have Any Food': Outdoor Relief in a Postsecular Age.

5 'It's Like You Can Almost Be Normal Again': Refuge and Resource in Britain’s Day Centres.

6 'It's Been a Tough Night, Huh?' Hopelessness (and Hope) in Britain's Homeless Hostels.

7 Big City Blues: Uneven Geographies of Provision in the Homeless City.

8 On the Margins of the Homeless City: Caring for Homeless People in Rural Areas.

9 Conclusions.



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