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

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Overview

Swept Up Lives? challenges conventional accounts of urban homelessness. Moving beyond more familiar narratives concerning the recent 'purification' of public space and attempts to sweep homeless people from the streets, it focuses instead upon the many and complex attempts to care for homeless people in the contemporary city. Drawing upon in-depth ethnographic research with organizations providing homeless night shelters, hostels, day centres and soup runs - and with the users of these services - the authors emphasize the relationships of care embodied and performed within homeless service spaces. Positioning these attempts to care for homeless people within a broader rapprochement between secular and faith-based ethical motivations, it draws attention to the emergence of a postsecular ethics that runs counter to, and sometimes actively resists, the vicissitudes of neoliberal welfare restructuring and a 'revanchist' (or vengeful) urban politics. The book thus argues for a more nuanced understanding of the ways in which homelessness is governed, paving the way for a characterization of homelessness that pays greater attention to the agency of homeless people themselves and the complexity of homeless geographies - geographies within which homeless people experience a range of relationships that include compassion and care as well as regulation, containment and control.

Swept Up Lives? Re-envisioning the Homeless City offers innovative research and a visionary new approach to shape our understanding of the complexities of urban homelessness.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Overall, this book makes a substantial contribution toresearch on urban homelessness. It provides a glimpse into anetwork of emotions relationships, and service provision that isunderacknowledged in urban geography.”  (The CanadianGeographer, 4 September 2014)

"Swept up Lives? lives up toexpectations and delivers a wellargued and insightful analysis that progresses establishedparadigmatic ways of understanding homelessness in the Westernworld." (UGRG Book Review Series, 19 December 2011)

"I cannot praise this book highly enough or hope to do justiceto it in a short review. It is a considerable and possiblyunprecedented achievement . . . I would recommend that this book beread by everyone who has anything to do with homelessness, and byevery policy work, every politician, and every academic analyst ofthe policy process." (The Geographical Journal, 2011)

"A compelling narrative, moving from 'the street' to structureand back again, to argue that more attention needs to be paid tothe neoliberalist welfare state. The authors highlight examples ofhope and caring, providing a critical but optimistic view of whatcan be done by individuals, institutions, and governing bodies. Amust read for researchers and students interested in understandingnot only homelessness, but also the complexities ofgovernance.’
—Lois M. Takahashi, University of California, Los Angeles

‘Challenging theories of urban revanchism that denyhomeless people agency and neglect the complexities oftoday’s welfare state, Swept Up Lives provides asharp conceptual corrective and rich portrayal of geographies ofhomelessness in Britain. Detailed ethnographies and institutionalanalysis offer a window on homeless subjectivities and voluntaryorganizations as spaces of caring and active citizenship. I highlyrecommend this book.’
—Jennifer Wolch, University of California, Berkeley

‘A well crafted, insightful and timely book that overturnsexisting orthodoxies, exploring the experience of homelessness inthe UK and providing a thought-provoking portrayal of the humanface 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 Universityof Exeter. His research interests are in social and culturalgeographies of ethics, rurality, and nature, and he has publishedwidely on issues relating to poverty, homelessness, and socialmarginalisation.

Jon May is Professor of Geography at Queen MaryUniversity of London. He has published extensively on thegeographies of homelessness and is the co-author or co-editor offive books including, most recently, Global Cities at Work: NewMigrant Divisions of Labour (2009).

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

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Table of Contents

Figures and Tables vi

Series Editors' Preface vii

Acknowledgements viii

Abbreviations x

1 Introduction: Re-envisioning the Homeless City 1

2 From Neoliberalization to Postsecularism 22

3 Tactics and Performativities in the Homeless City 61

4 'He's Not Homeless, He Shouldn't Have Any Food': Outdoor Relief in a Postsecular Age 92

5 'It's Like You Can Almost Be Normal Again': Refuge and Resource in Britain's Day Centres 117

6 'It's Been a Tough Night, Huh?' Hopelessness (and Hope) in Britain's Homeless Hostels 147

7 Big City Blues: Uneven Geographies of Provision in the Homeless City 181

8 On the Margins of the Homeless City: Caring for Homeless People in Rural Areas 211

9 Conclusions 241

References 255

Index 274

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