Emotional Geographies of Socio-spatial Exclusion of Homeless People in Urban Copenhagen

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This paper explores the emotional geographies of socio-spatial exclusion of homeless people in urban Copenhagen. Emotional geographies aim to understand emotions in terms of their socio-spatial mediation and articulation (Davidson et al. 2005) and thus recognize the interconnectedness of emotions and space. This paper argues that this interconnectedness is significant when homeless people avoid certain public spaces, domestic spaces and turn away from spaces of care (Conradson 2003) such as homeless hostels, night shelters and day centres. The paper is based on an ethnographic fieldwork where participant observation of encounters between social workers and homeless people was the primary method. Additionally, interviews were conducted on site with homeless people. During the observed encounter and the interviews the homeless people’s accounts highlighted how emotional experiences were an integral part of how they related to different spaces in urban Copenhagen. The analysis focuses on how specific places where services for homeless are provided such as night shelters, day centres, and homeless hostels evoked emotions such as fear, disgust, and humiliation which were entangled with practices of avoidance and withdrawal. The analysis links these emotions to the symbolic and material aspects of the spaces. By doing this the paper aims to show how the lives of homeless are shaped by a form of socio-spatial exclusion that works through emotions rather than just direct regulation and policing of spaces. Thus, the paper contends that these emotional dynamics need to be recognized in order to advance our understanding of the lives of homeless. And such emotional dynamics also need to be taken into account in policy making processes that aim to assist homeless people as well as social work practices in order to address unintentional socio-spatial exclusion.
Periode22 sep. 2017
Begivenhedstitel12th European Research Conference on Homelessness: Changing Profiles of Homelessness: Implications for Services
PlaceringBarcelona, SpanienVis på kort
Grad af anerkendelseInternational


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