"A powerful journey through the experiences of homelessness that sets a new scholarly standard for its synthesis of insight and empathy. The book documents and defines new ways of understanding homelessness that are sensitive to the many ways it is embodied."—Brendan Gleeson, author of Lifeboat Cities: Making a New World
"Robinson has crafted a deeply compassionate yet theoretically sophisticated vantage point from which to embrace the trauma of being homeless. She charts the implications of loss and displacement that pervade this condition and advocates not only political solidarity but also deeply felt research encounters."—Robin Kearns, coauthor of Culture/Place/Health
"A compelling case for the significance of place in our construction of self. . . . An engaging and powerful argument."—Judith Kenny, coeditor of The Urban Geography Reader
What is it to feel homeless? How does it feel to be without the orienting geography of home? Going beyond homelessness as a housing issue, this book uniquely explores the embodied, emotional experiences of homelessness. In doing so, Robinson reveals much about existing gaps in service responses, in community perceptions, and in the ways in which homelessness most often becomes visible as a problem for policy makers. She argues that the emotional dimension of displacement must be central to contemporary practices of researching, understanding, writing, and responding to homelessness. She situates the issue of homelessness at the nexus of important, broader intellectual and methodological developments that take bodily and spatial experience as their starting point.
Drawing on field research and interviews, Robinson details the lives of homeless individuals in Sydney, Australia. The moving narratives of these individuals bear witness to the key experiences of corporeal fragmentation, geographical detachment, and social alienation. At the book’s core lies a call to legitimize scholarly work that focuses on emotions, particularly trauma, facilitating researchers and policy makers to explore new avenues for evaluating service delivery. Beside One’s Self bridges the divide between research that has policy implications and research that makes theoretical contributions.
Catherine Robinson is a senior lecturer of Cultural Studies at the University of Technology, Sydney, researching and teaching in the areas of social and cultural theory, qualitative research methods, and the philosophy of social research. Her publications include Accommodation in Crisis: Forgotten Women in Western Sydney with R. E. Searby.
Series: Space, Place and Society
6 x 9, 196 pages