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Homelessness, Citizenship, and Identity

The Uncanniness of Late Modernity

Kathleen R. Arnold

Publication Year: 2004

In the aftermath of September 11, donations to the poor and homeless have declined while ordinances against begging and sleeping in public have increased. The increased security of public spaces has been matched by a quest for increased security and surveillance of immigrants. In this groundbreaking study, Kathleen R. Arnold explores homelessness in terms of the globalization of the economy, national identity, and citizenship. She argues that domestic homelessness and conditions of statelessness, such as refugees, exiles, and poor immigrants, are defined and addressed in similar ways by the political sphere, in such a manner that each of these groups are subjected to policies that perpetuate their exclusion. Drawing on such authors as Freud, Marx, Foucault, Derrida, Lévinas, and Agamben, Arnold argues for a radical politics of homelessness based on extending hospitality and the toleration of difference.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in National Identities

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix

This book is the culmination of work begun my first year of graduate school at UCLA. In the early stages of this project, Victor Wolfenstein and Ray Rocco were very encouraging and helpful. I am also indebted to the late Richard Ashcraft for his guidance and patience at this time. While he was clearly disinterested in poststructural theory, he admitted to me one ...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-16

More often than not, homelessness is studied as a sociological problem and the dynamics of power on the part of the homeless on the one hand, and policy makers and full citizens on the other, are not examined. It is tempting to engage this subject at the policy level in order to respond to homeless studies, recommendations, and policies. However, the politics ...

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2. Citizenship and Political Identity

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pp. 17-49

In this chapter, I critically examine modern citizenship de facto and de jure, as well as the construction of the antithesis of the normative citizen. That is, I explore what citizenship is rather than what it ought to be in order to demonstrate how the homeless are, in fact, disenfranchised. At the end of this chapter, I will link my findings to the status of the homeless. ...

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3. Das Unheimliche

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pp. 51-85

In Counterfeit Money, Jacques Derrida comments on the horror and contempt with which people hold beggars. They even feel self-righteous about this contempt: beggars, after all, have brought their misery upon themselves. Derrida notes that “the beggar represents a purely receptive, expending, and consuming agency, an apparently useless mouth.”1 The poor are always there; they signify endless, parasitic need. Money given ...

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4. Homelessness and Panopticism

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pp. 87-128

In this chapter, I will focus on the treatment of the homeless on many levels: media coverage, academic studies, public policy, and views of the general public. The dominant research and policy orientation toward homeless people reveals several things. First, the homeless are clearly viewed as Other in contradistinction to an implicit norm of citizenship ...

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5. Homeland, Homelessness, and Cosmopolitanism

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pp. 129-161

I began this book by arguing that concepts of the home and homelessness provide the basis for a critique of freedom in the modern nation-state. I have interpreted homelessness in a double sense: both the physical dislocation experienced by the homeless, poor immigrants, and refugees as well as the political dislocation that occurs. This link between home and ...

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6. Debt, Guilt, and Responsibility: Schuld

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pp. 163-172

In this book, I have hoped to demonstrate the incredible vulnerability the homeless experience not only physically but also politically. They do not simply fall through the cracks but are deprived of citizenship due to their status. The logic of the modern nation-state in combination with a capitalist ethos dictates that difference is excluded not only by denial of rights ...


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pp. 173-204


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pp. 205-212

E-ISBN-13: 9780791484937
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791461112
Print-ISBN-10: 0791461114

Page Count: 212
Publication Year: 2004

Series Title: SUNY series in National Identities