Inequality, poverty, and neoliberal governance : activist ethnography in the homeless sheltering industry

Title

Inequality, poverty, and neoliberal governance : activist ethnography in the homeless sheltering industry

Department

Anthropology

Document Type

Book

Files

Description

Why did the rate of homelessness remain at significant levels while the US economy was supposedly booming and hundreds of millions of dollars were spent in the homeless sheltering industry? Drawing upon five years of ethnographic fieldwork in a homeless shelter in Northampton, Massachusetts, Lyon-Callo argues that homelessness must be understood within the context of increasing neoliberal policies, practices, and discourses. As advocates, activists, policy makers, and homeless people focused attention on market-based and individualized practices of reform and governance, collective efforts that challenged an economy dependent on low wage jobs, declining housing affordability, and the dismantling of the social safety net were marginalized and ignored. Homelessness continued, despite, and partly due to, the limitations of the neoliberal approach. Combining the rich detail of an ethnographic study with the systemic examination of political economic studies, this book offers a view of homelessness and inequality that is rarely explored elsewhere. Chapters include discussion of the medicalization of homelessness, the difficulty of finding paid employment given broader political economic conditions, how shelter staff are trained to manage homeless people, how statistics are used to produce ideas of homeless people as deviants, and how funding concerns affect possibilities for resistance. Key to the study is an activist approach that raises the possibilities and problems associated with a publicly engaged anthropology.

ISBN

1551116030

Publication Date

2004

Publisher

Broadview Press

City

Orchard Park

Disciplines

Anthropology | Social and Cultural Anthropology

Citation for published book

Lyon-Callo, Vincent. Inequality, Poverty, and Neoliberal Governance: Activist Ethnography in the Homeless Sheltering Industry. Peterborough, Ont: Broadview Press, 2004. Print.

Inequality, poverty, and neoliberal governance : activist ethnography in the homeless sheltering industry

http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/56011618

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