Being a city in and of crisis, Athens, Greece, undergoes dramatic changes in its spatialities. Amidst severe economic austerity, a new poverty management is being established in the city shaping contested landscapes of homelessness, composed by spatialities of homeless stigma. This dissertation is about these very spatialities and the subjectivities shaped therein. And it poses two parallel, dialogic and inextricable questions under one common question mark: how are the homeless geographies of Athens made and how are homeless subjects made along with these geographies? Seeking answers, this work draws from (post-) phenomenological geographic accounts in order to make the human geographies of homelessness of central Athens in practice-oriented, power-ridden and evidence-based manners. A multi-sited ethnographic research practice has been conducted throughout what has been called ‘machinic archipelago’ of provision and care: homeless hostels, a day centre, a night shelter as well as other organisational spaces that aim to address homelessness. The empirics revolve around a conceptual triptych that proves critical for the practical making of Athens’ homeless geographies: Materialities— Bodies—Mobilities. These are (some of) the critical geographic ingredients that produce social difference and ground it in space: they show how homelessness is not a fixed and static category but is lived, embodied, material, discursive, spaced. When spaced through the interrelations of these three elements, homelessness is marked as one —another— of society’s ‘Others’. Yet, what matters is that materialities, bodies and mobilities do not simply co-exist in these geographies; they are practiced therein, in specific possible ways. But they do not statically mark social difference once and forever; they constantly perform social difference and thus position it in broader social and cultural dynamics. And along with these/their geographies, homeless subjectivities are in the making too. Materialities refers to the homeless’ possessions as ‘absent presences’ as well as the ‘objects of care’ that are provided in the machinic archipelago. In an interplay between material divestment and investment, specific objects relate to ideas of stigma; others are involved in specific political economies of provision; others undergo processes of becoming rubbish; and others, like the homeless’ own belongings, acquire emphasised importance for distinct, non-stigmatised subjects that find themselves in spaces of limited materiality. Bodies concerns homelessness as a bodily condition situated in space. In a cleanliness-dirt interplay, the machinic archipelago enables certain bodily practices for the homeless: bodies become personal maps of the past; they are the primal instrument for adjusting to everyday survival; they receive and ingest provided food; they are made through clothes as their extensions; and they perceive critical affective atmospheres produced by the new poverty management. Lastly, mobilities concern the homeless patterns of mobility and friction that take place in the archipelago. Mentalities of managing the poor materialise in a specific ‘sense of mobility’ that is practiced as forced mobility; the homeless experience this mobility as ‘drifters’, through affect and the materiality of their bodies but also negotiate it; frictions perform ideas of stigma; and through outreach work, the machinic archipelago externalises its practices and may contribute to the making of homeless stigma. Overall, the dissertation attempts contributions to existing scholarship in both theoretical and empirical terms. Theoretically, it brings to the fore the role of space and Human Geography in the practice-oriented and relational making of homelessness and homeless subjectivities by bringing together three geographical concepts, namely materialities, bodies and mobilities. Empirically, its contribution rests in the multi-sited qualitative research methodology conducted throughout some of Athens’ homeless spatialities that have escaped academic attention, and in the centrality of human experience thus allowing homeless subjectivities to emerge along with space. Above all, by focusing in such institutionalised spaces, homelessness is presented not as an isolated social construct but located in wider socio-cultural dynamics whereas the critical role of academic practice is highlighted in the making of homeless geographies.

Rubbish stuff, thick skins, and drifters: making homeless geographies in Athens city centre / Bourlessas, Panagiotis. - (2018 Jul 05).

Rubbish stuff, thick skins, and drifters: making homeless geographies in Athens city centre

BOURLESSAS, PANAGIOTIS
2018

Abstract

Being a city in and of crisis, Athens, Greece, undergoes dramatic changes in its spatialities. Amidst severe economic austerity, a new poverty management is being established in the city shaping contested landscapes of homelessness, composed by spatialities of homeless stigma. This dissertation is about these very spatialities and the subjectivities shaped therein. And it poses two parallel, dialogic and inextricable questions under one common question mark: how are the homeless geographies of Athens made and how are homeless subjects made along with these geographies? Seeking answers, this work draws from (post-) phenomenological geographic accounts in order to make the human geographies of homelessness of central Athens in practice-oriented, power-ridden and evidence-based manners. A multi-sited ethnographic research practice has been conducted throughout what has been called ‘machinic archipelago’ of provision and care: homeless hostels, a day centre, a night shelter as well as other organisational spaces that aim to address homelessness. The empirics revolve around a conceptual triptych that proves critical for the practical making of Athens’ homeless geographies: Materialities— Bodies—Mobilities. These are (some of) the critical geographic ingredients that produce social difference and ground it in space: they show how homelessness is not a fixed and static category but is lived, embodied, material, discursive, spaced. When spaced through the interrelations of these three elements, homelessness is marked as one —another— of society’s ‘Others’. Yet, what matters is that materialities, bodies and mobilities do not simply co-exist in these geographies; they are practiced therein, in specific possible ways. But they do not statically mark social difference once and forever; they constantly perform social difference and thus position it in broader social and cultural dynamics. And along with these/their geographies, homeless subjectivities are in the making too. Materialities refers to the homeless’ possessions as ‘absent presences’ as well as the ‘objects of care’ that are provided in the machinic archipelago. In an interplay between material divestment and investment, specific objects relate to ideas of stigma; others are involved in specific political economies of provision; others undergo processes of becoming rubbish; and others, like the homeless’ own belongings, acquire emphasised importance for distinct, non-stigmatised subjects that find themselves in spaces of limited materiality. Bodies concerns homelessness as a bodily condition situated in space. In a cleanliness-dirt interplay, the machinic archipelago enables certain bodily practices for the homeless: bodies become personal maps of the past; they are the primal instrument for adjusting to everyday survival; they receive and ingest provided food; they are made through clothes as their extensions; and they perceive critical affective atmospheres produced by the new poverty management. Lastly, mobilities concern the homeless patterns of mobility and friction that take place in the archipelago. Mentalities of managing the poor materialise in a specific ‘sense of mobility’ that is practiced as forced mobility; the homeless experience this mobility as ‘drifters’, through affect and the materiality of their bodies but also negotiate it; frictions perform ideas of stigma; and through outreach work, the machinic archipelago externalises its practices and may contribute to the making of homeless stigma. Overall, the dissertation attempts contributions to existing scholarship in both theoretical and empirical terms. Theoretically, it brings to the fore the role of space and Human Geography in the practice-oriented and relational making of homelessness and homeless subjectivities by bringing together three geographical concepts, namely materialities, bodies and mobilities. Empirically, its contribution rests in the multi-sited qualitative research methodology conducted throughout some of Athens’ homeless spatialities that have escaped academic attention, and in the centrality of human experience thus allowing homeless subjectivities to emerge along with space. Above all, by focusing in such institutionalised spaces, homelessness is presented not as an isolated social construct but located in wider socio-cultural dynamics whereas the critical role of academic practice is highlighted in the making of homeless geographies.
Rubbish stuff, thick skins, and drifters: making homeless geographies in Athens city centre / Bourlessas, Panagiotis. - (2018 Jul 05).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12571/21021
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