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Abstract

This article reports on a content analysis of homelessness representations in four Canadian newspapers: two city broadsheets, one city tabloid, and one national newspaper. Clear differences between the papers emerged showing that in general coverage of homelessness in Calgary was much more positive than coverage in Vancouver. It conveyed a stronger sense of crisis or urgency and a stronger sense of optimism that the problem should and can be solved. Experts dominate public discourse about homelessness, with people who experience homelessness themselves marginalized as speakers. Despite these differences, the four papers present a unified narrative of homelessness in which readers are exhorted to be sympathetic to the plight of homeless people while at the same time, 'they' are presented as needing to be controlled and regulated in order to maintain social order. This narrative has implications for citizenship and social inclusion of people who experience homelessness.

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