Journal article

The ‘lamentable sight’ of homelessness and the society of the spectacle

Jessica Gerrard, David Farrugia

Urban Studies: an international journal for research in urban studies | SAGE Publications | Published : 2015

Abstract

In this paper, we contend that the visual discourses of poverty and inequality are constructed through everyday social relations – the visual, spatial and bodily ‘encounter’ with homelessness in public space, steeped in the politics of the stigmatised Other. Bringing together Erving Goffman’s theory of everyday encounters with Guy Debord’s society of the spectacle, we explore the intersection between the ‘sight’ and ‘scene’ of homelessness and the spectacle of capital in public space. We identify how everyday encounters with homelessness perpetuate the notion that homelessness is ‘out of joint’ in relation to the spatial and aesthetic logic of capital and commodity consumption and performanc..

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