There's No Place like Home: Anthropological Perspectives on Housing and Homelessness in the United States

By Anna Lou Dehavenon | Go to book overview

tration and dispersion, to one of strategic institutional power that could contest other institutions, however briefly. Contesting power led to higher levels of activity and self-esteem among both park residents and activists, and to higher levels of empowerment on an individual level.

Broad-scale empowerment of the homeless, which envisioned a developing political power, was considerably more diffuse and problematic among residents of Garden Grove Park, partly because it was dependent upon political actions at the state and federal level. However, one should not be quick to dismiss the micro-level resistance tactics of the displaced. While their difficulties may be problematic for a political theory of resistance, this in no way negates the role that local micro-level resistance tactics play in grounding larger political movements. Resistance is often important to the homeless themselves, even if conditions are not sufficient to sustain a resistance movement beyond the local level. Resistance tactics require a high degree of risk that may not be immediately acceptable to particular homeless populations.


NOTES

We are indebted to Jennifer Wolch, Michael Dear, Mark Gottdiener, Michael Rotkin, Sue Ruddick, and Roger Keil for their critique and helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. A preliminary version of this paper was presented at the 1990 Annual American Sociological Association conference, Washington, D.C.

1.
All names of interviewed persons have been altered to protect their anonymity.
2.
Giddens's notion of time-space continuity and discontinuity ( 1981:150, 1984:110- 145) can be used to understand the relationship between larger forces of institutional control and surveillance, and one's physical body and self-image.
3.
As de Certeau notes, "The 'proper' is a triumph of place over time" ( 1984:36). He further writes that it is the control over and the division of space which "makes possible a panoptic practice proceeding from a place whence the eye can transform foreign forces into objects that can be observed and measured, and thus control and 'include' them within its scope of vision" ( 1984:36).
4.
This study was conducted by the Orange County Homeless Issues Task Force ( 1990) and covered 1,974 persons, 36 percent of whom were children. While the study does not focus on a strictly random sample, it does profile the types of homeless persons who asked for assistance. We know that there are many who do not ask for assistance.
5.
According to the 1980 census, Hispanics represent 14.8 percent of Orange County's population.
6.
In 1988 the city of Santa Ana, California, used local park employees to follow-up a police sweep of the civic center plaza by confiscating bedrolls, blankets, and other belongings stored by the local homeless in the bushes. These possessions were then thrown away. This action by the city produced a large public outcry and legal suits, forcing the city to modify its policy by providing limited storage for homeless belongings. On April 25, 1990, fifteen local homeless people received a settlement from the city of $50,000, or $3,308 per person.
7.
Public rest rooms used by park residents were locked several times by park officials

-142-

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There's No Place like Home: Anthropological Perspectives on Housing and Homelessness in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contemporary Urban Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Prologue: Azdak Lives xi
  • Notes xiv
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • Conclusion xx
  • 1: Poverty and Homelessness in Rural Upstate New York 1
  • Introduction 1
  • Summary and Recommendations 13
  • Conclusion 16
  • Notes 16
  • 2: The 1990 Decennial Census and Patterns of Homelessness in a Small New England City 19
  • Introduction 19
  • Summary and Recommendations 30
  • Conclusion 33
  • Note 33
  • 3: Doubling-Up: A Strategy of Urban Reciprocity to Avoid Homelessness in Detroit 35
  • Introduction 35
  • Summury and Recommendations 46
  • Conclusion 48
  • Notes 48
  • 4: Doubling-Up and New York City's Policies for Sheltering Homeless Families 51
  • Introduction 51
  • Summary and Recomendations 63
  • Conclusion 64
  • Conclusion 65
  • 5: A Home by Any Means Necessary: Government Policy on Squatting in the Public Housing of a Large Mid-Atlantic City 67
  • Introduction 67
  • Summary and Recommendations 76
  • Conclusion 78
  • Notes 78
  • 6: Huts for the Homeless: A Low- Technology Approach for Squatters in Atlanta, Georgia 81
  • Introduction 81
  • Summary and Recommendations 100
  • Conclusion 102
  • 7: Piety and Poverty: The Religious Response to the Homeless in Albuquerque, New Mexico 105
  • Introduction 105
  • Summary and Recommendations 114
  • Conclusion 116
  • Conclusion 117
  • 8: Suburban Homelessness and Social Space: Strategies of Authority and Local Resistance in Orange County, California 121
  • Introduction 121
  • Summary and Recommendations 140
  • Conclusion 141
  • Conclusion 142
  • 9: "There Goes the Neighborhood": Gentrification, Displacement, and Homelessness in Washington, D.C. 145
  • Introdution 145
  • Summary and Recommendations 160
  • Conclusions 162
  • Conclusions 163
  • Conclusion 165
  • Epilogue: A Perilous Bridge 175
  • References 177
  • Index 193
  • Contributors 203
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