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Title: Homelessness : a contextual approach
Author: Osbourne, Rachel
ISNI:       0000 0004 2704 1144
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 1996
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Particular characteristics are frequently assigned to homeless people by virtue of the fact they are labelled as 'the homeless'. There are numerous functions that such terms and definitions fulfil. In general, they serve to promote perceptions of people with particular characteristics as different, distinct and distanced from others in society. In addition they may obscure structural inequalities, maintain and reinforce the interests of dominant groups in society. These definitions do not develop in a vacuum, they are constructed throughout centuries within a social system. The aim of this research was to explore how people make sense of their experience of homelessness in the context of the constructions operating within the social realm. It was suggested that these constructions have contributed to a representation of homeless people in individualistic and pathological terms and thus had a negative impact on this population. An analysis of some of the discourses used by members of this population suggested that this was indeed the case; however, the analysis also indicated that people often refused the 'helpless and hopeless' position associated with being 'homeless'. There was evidence that they sought avenues of empowerment. Implications of this alternative discourse regarding 'homelessness' in terms of current service provision for this population were identified. In addition, it was argued that a more contextualised approach will be necessary within clinical practice and research in order to move towards developing a more meaningful and useful way of conceptualising the experiences of people who are homeless. The role of Psychology was discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available