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How is women’s homelessness governed in contemporary society? A Foucauldian perspective

MCDOWELL, MARGARET,JANE (2015) How is women’s homelessness governed in contemporary society? A Foucauldian perspective. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Beginning with the Housing (Homeless Persons) Act 1977, the legislative framework within England and Wales has sought to regulate women’s homelessness. In constructing the homeless woman’s identity - as in the select experiences and circumstances by which her existence is acknowledged and authenticated, and in specifying the ways in which local housing authorities and local service providers fulfil their statutory duty - the state performs an omnipresent yet regulatory role in controlling bodies, creating docility and transforming the lives of women who are homeless. Through in-depth, semi-structured interviews with fifteen practitioners and thirty homeless women in Newcastle upon Tyne, the research examines the participants’ perceptions and experience of women’s homelessness. In particular, it draws upon a synthesis of events, relationships and decisions to explore the ways in which homeless services shape the experience of women who are homeless and the ways in which homeless women make sense of their experiences. The findings indicate that for these participants, the governance of women’s homelessness - as that which is intimately linked with external forms of governance (as in the policies, programs and services that address homelessness) coupled with the self-regulating abilities of homeless women - sustains women’s homelessness. In fluctuating between that of resistant and docile actors, the participants emerged as active agents in the maintenance of women’s homelessness.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Women, homelessness, Foucault, housing, Newcastle
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:26 May 2016 11:20

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