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Title: Different welfare regimes, similar outcomes? : the impact of social policy on homeless people's life courses and exit chances in Berlin and Los Angeles
Author: Von Mahs, Jürgen
ISNI:       0000 0001 3618 3476
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2005
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The objective of this thesis is to explain why the prevalence and characteristics of homeless people in German cities largely resemble those of U.S. cities and furthermore why the durations of homelessness are even longer in Germany despite Germany's more comprehensive and interventionist welfare state. Specifically, this theses draws upon original research to examine how public policy affects homeless people's exit chances in Berlin in comparison to existing research on homelessness in Los Angeles. Using ethnographic research methods, this study devises a life course typology based on similarities in the respondents' biographies to provide a nuanced analysis of homeless people's strategies to find employment and housing in Berlin and the ways in which public policy intervention affects such exit strategies. This research indicates that the inability of many homeless people in Berlin to exit homelessness as well as the long durations experienced by successful respondents are primarily due to welfare state deficiencies at the local scale which largely offset many of the comprehensive and interventionist policies at the federal level. Specifically, the local welfare state in Berlin is unable to accommodate life course specific needs and problems in order to assist homeless people in surmounting formidable market barriers which are more pronounced than in Los Angeles' more flexible, less regulated, and more exploitative markets. While the latter finding confirms existing assumptions underlying welfare regime theory about differences between the country's welfare regimes, the study also suggests that "successful" welfare state performance is not only a function of the nature and extent of the corresponding welfare system but rather its ability to flexibly address individual needs and expectations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available