Exploring experiences of homelessness and housing precarity through a social capital lens
My PhD explores experiences of homelessness through a social capital lens. The project adopts the European Typology on Homelessness and Housing Exclusion, which comprises a range of precarious living arrangements including: rooflessness, houselessness, insecure housing and inadequate housing. It is well documented that homelessness and housing precarity can have profound and diverse consequences on an individual’s life. Attempts to redress its impact often involve a multitude of stakeholders. This non-exhaustively may include: local councils and governments, the housing sector, charities and peer-support networks. Due to the numerous stakeholders involved, it can be difficult at times, to discern the role and the support provided by each.
Social capital may be a helpful lens to navigate this complex terrain and interrogate the resources and support available to people experiencing homelessness. In a broad sense, social capital can be understood as “the sum of the resources, actual or virtual, that accrue to an individual or a group by virtue of possessing a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition.” (Bourdieu and Wacquant, 1992, p.119). Particularly, I’m interested in understanding what may be afforded by social relationships, connections with services and institutes of power, and whether this is sufficient in leveraging individuals out of homelessness.
The project is mixed-methods, involving qualitative and quantitative primary data collection. I have conducted focus groups and interviews with people who have experience of homelessness, as well as interviews with service providers (from accommodation services, homelessness art organisations and specialist healthcare services). The project adopts an interdisciplinary approach, benefiting from learnings across Psychology, Anthropology, Geography and Sociology.
1 – Health Practices, Innovation & Implementation
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