Being Homeless : Textual and Narrative Constructions
Being Homeless presents the stories of homelessness as told from the perspectives of the clients, staff, and a researcher at an emergency shelter. Drawing on in-depth interviews, shelter documents, and historical analysis, the author provides ethnographic data that demonstrate the variety of the experiences and the attitudes of homeless people. This study underscores the necessity for a more comprehensive response to the needs of this group. Being Homeless offers insights, both practical and theoretical, of value to human service providers as well as sociologists.
- Hardback | 194 pages
- 154.9 x 233.7 x 22.9mm | 453.6g
- 01 May 2003
- Lexington Books
- Lanham, MD, United States
Table of contents
Chapter 1 Introduction: Fieldwork and the Research Problem Chapter 2 A Brief History of Homelessness Chapter 3 The Constructive Demography of Homelessness Chapter 4 Literary Constructions Chapter 5 Ethnographic Constructions Chapter 6 Abbot House and Its Clients Chapter 7 The Local Demography of Homelessness Chapter 8 Staff Constructions of the Client Chapter 9 Narrative Practice and the Interactive Dynamics of Client Work Chapter 10 Client Constructions of the Shelter and Homelessness Chapter 11 Conclusion: The Lessons of Narrativity
Neither pundits nor the larger society have figured out how to view those without shelter as full human beings. In this sophisticated analysis, Marvasti demonstrates how those labeled 'homeless' are politically and bureaucratically constructed by middle-class people whose interests often do not coincide with those of the homeless. -- Joe R. Feagin, Texas A&M University Being Homeless is the most imaginative study of homelessness in recent memory. Superbly crafted and engagingly written, Being Homeless is essential reading for social researchers, social service providers, policy makers, and students of social problems and urban life... -- James A. Holstein, Marquette University Where this book truly excels is its review of prior discourse on the topic, with special emphasis upon the limitations of the positivist research tradition that has thus far defined our knowledge of what it is truly like to be homeless. The book is an excellent review of the failings of prior studies of the homeless, a very good primer on ethnographic research methods, and finally, as a brief introuction to the homeless themselves via their own words. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare Marvasti picks up on nuance and tells a fine story. The book is a good read without sacrificing complexity-a rare combination-in an area that is rife with simplification or treated as if there were obvious culprits or conditions to blame. Marvasti's is also a morally committed story, with the author's responsibility to his subjects' lives clearly coming through. Quite an achievement! -- Jay Gubrium, University of Missouri Being Homeless is the most imaginative study of homelessness in recent memory. Superbly crafted and engagingly written, Being Homeless is essential reading for social researchers, social service providers, policy makers, and students of social problems and urban life. -- James A. Holstein, Marquette University
About Amir B. Marvasti
Amir Marvasti is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at Penn State Altoona.