Chapter

Rediscovering Homelessness

in Citizen Hobo

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2003 | ISBN: 9780226143781
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226143804 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226143804.003.0009
Rediscovering Homelessness

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This chapter describes the rediscovery of homelessness in 1980s America. The rediscovery of homelessness did not simply reflect the stunning growth of poverty and the declining fortunes of the American working class since the heyday of the family-wage pact. The discourse of homelessness was itself part of a larger struggle to represent the new economic and social realities of the era, to cast such abstract problems as faltering economic growth, labor market restructuring, and increased class stratification as the dramatic loss of home. With their ability to arouse pity and inspire protectionist intervention, homeless women, especially those with dependent children, soon replaced Maharidge and Williamson's Forgotten Men as the most recognizable emblems of homeless victimization. In addition to long-term economic and labor market changes, experts also identified the contraction of the government safety net as playing a central role in homelessness.

Keywords: Homelessness; economic growth; labor market; labor market restructuring; poverty

Chapter.  10318 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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