Performativity and affect in the homeless city

P Cloke, J May, S Johnsen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    113 Citations (Scopus)


    In this paper we discuss some of the `strange maps' of city life performed by homeless people. Current models of urban homelessness emphasise both the strategies by which spaces of homelessness are disciplined and contained, and the tactics deployed by homeless people to negotiate this containment. Whilst recognising the value of such work, we argue that there is a need to move beyond this `rationalist' reading of the homeless city to recognise the importance of emotion and affect in the lives of homeless people, and the traces such emotions leave on the homeless city. Drawing on in-depth interviews, we chart the journeys and pauses made by homeless people in the city of Bristol, UK. We show how the geography of homelessness thus described moves beyond current accounts of the homeless city rooted in an understanding of the strategic or tactical use of space and allows for a more nuanced reading of urban space able to take proper account of the less visible, more `transient' reinscriptions of place that mark the presence of homeless people in the city.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)241-263
    Number of pages23
    JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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