Young Homeless People and Urban Space: Fixed in Mobility, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Young Homeless People and Urban Space

Fixed in Mobility, 1st Edition

By Emma Jackson


158 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780415722162
pub: 2015-07-23
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315858418
pub: 2015-07-16
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This ethnographic exploration of contemporary spaces of homelessness takes an expanded view of homeless space, threading together experiences of organizational spaces, routes taken through the city and the occupation of public space. Through engaging with participants' accounts of movement and place, the book argues that young homeless people become fixed in mobility,a condition that impacts on both everyday life and possible futures. Based on an innovative multi-method study of a day centre in London for young homeless people, the book contextualizes spaces of homelessness within the social relations and flows of people that produce the world city. The book considers how the biographical and everyday trajectories of young homeless people intersect with place attachments and forms of governance to produce urban homeless spaces. It provides a new angle on the city made by movement, foregrounding the impact of mobilities shaped by loss, violence and the search for opportunity. The book draws on mental maps, photography, interviews and observation in order to produce an engaging and rich ethnographic account of young homeless people in the city.


"This outstanding book challenges us to re-think the scale and experience of homelessness in a global city like London. The young lives describe here are 'fixed in mobility' but struggle to find a refuge in an unforgiving and cruel world. A must-read book for anyone who really cares about urban life."

-Professor Les Back, Goldsmiths, University of London

"Stereotypes and prejudices about the homeless abound. Beneath these lies a complex world of experiences and histories which are lived out in the homeless spaces and institutions of London. Young Homeless People and Urban Space provides a textured and nuanced account of what it means to be homeless and young in a city marked by inequalities, exclusions and brutal cuts in public expenditure. This is an excellent and compelling book which will be of interest to academics, urban policy makers and activists interested in what homeless means in the contemporary global city."

-Professor Sophie Watson, The Open University

"This fluently composed account of precarious dwelling and youth homelessness is vitally attuned to the rhythms of the contemporary global city. Academic understandings of mobility, transnationalism, surveillance and belonging are brought to life in the intimate biographies that unfold. The insights generated from displaced young people are rich and illuminating, supported as they are by intelligent and articulate interpretations of their lives. This makes for a book that is written with great purpose and care which truly deserves to be read."

-Professor Anoop Nayak, Newcastle University

"This is a personal, thought-provoking book that challenges and informs our understanding of homelessness in a global city like London. Young Homeless People and Urban Space would be a useful resource for sociologists, planners and policymakers alike, among others interested in the topic of homelessness."

-Hannah Keren Lee, Environment & Urbanization

"Jackson’s book challenges us to think more deeply about the extent to which young homeless people’s experiences of the city are understood. This might help to create the places of belonging, rest and future sought by the young homeless people occupying in-between spaces such as Fresh Start."

Tim Packer, Housing Studies

"Jackson explores the cooption and resistances towards institutional forces that work to shape the lived experiences of marginalised urbanites. Young homeless people are not merely passive, but exercise agency within a complex web of interactions across scales. This book is a vital piece of work that disrupts singular interpretations of space and time, of the urban and of both fixity and mobility. As such it deserves to be read widely."

- Philip Mullen, Durham University, Urban Studies

"This book should be read by anyone who wants to understand how homeless youth navigate their precarious lives, and how local experiences articulatewith global forces. The book represents ethnography at its best, providing an abundantly clear, exquisitely written, and relentlessly critical examination of how the neoliberal enterprise affects some of London’s most vulnerable residents."

- Waverly Duck, University of Pittsburgh, Symbolic Interaction

Table of Contents

Introduction: "London is THE City" 1. Almost Home?: The Production of the Day Centre 2. In the Same Boat?: The Production and Negotiation of Super-Diverse Homeless Space 3. Demanding Accounts? 4. Making Tracks, Mobile Lives 5. Surveillance and the Limits of Reorientation 6. The Hostel: Mooring and Meshing 7. Imagined Futures, Precarious Presents and Persistent Pasts. Conclusions

About the Author

Emma Jackson is a lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Ethnography

Ethnography is a celebrated, if contested, research methodology that offers unprecedented access to people's intimate lives, their often hidden social worlds and the meanings they attach to these.  The intensity of ethnographic fieldwork often makes considerable personal and emotional demands on the researcher, while the final product is a vivid human document with personal resonance impossible to recreate by the application of any other social science methodology.  This series aims to highlight the best, most innovative ethnographic work available from both new and established scholars.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Poverty & Homelessness