We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Down and Out in Los Angeles and Berlin

The Sociospatial Exclusion of Homeless People

Jurgen von Mahs

Publication Year: 2013

Los Angeles, California, and Berlin, Germany, have been dubbed "homeless capitals" for having the largest homeless populations of their respective countries. In Down and Out in Los Angeles and Berlin, Jürgen von Mahs provides an illuminating comparative analysis of the impact of social welfare policy on homelessness in these cities. He addresses the opportunity of people to overcome--or "exit"--homelessness and shows how Berlin, with its considerable social and economic investment for assisting its homeless has been as unsuccessful as Los Angeles.

Drawing on fascinating ethnographic insights, von Mahs shows how homeless people in both cities face sociospatial exclusion-legal displacement for criminal activities, poor shelters in impoverished neighborhoods, as well as market barriers that restrict reintegration. Providing a necessary wake-up call, Down and Out in Los Angeles and Berlin addresses the critical public policy issues that can produce effective services to improve homeless people's chances for a lasting exit.

Published by: Temple University Press


pdf iconDownload PDF (43.9 KB)
p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (57.8 KB)
pp. 2-5


pdf iconDownload PDF (29.4 KB)
pp. v-7

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (49.0 KB)
pp. vii-ix

At the time, I had no idea that a bright Saturday morning in October 1993 in Los Angeles would forever change the course of my life. A Fulbright student from Germany studying at the University of Southern California (USC), I was taking a course on...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (50.1 KB)
pp. xi-xiii

Considering that my research project and the attempt to write this story unfolded over the better part of fifteen years, many people were directly or indirectly involved in the research and the making of this book, and they This book and the work that went into it would not have been possible...

Commonly Used Abbreviation

pdf iconDownload PDF (29.7 KB)
pp. xv-xvi

read more

1. Different Welfare Regimes, Similar Outcomes? The Impact of Public Policy on Homeless People’s Exit Chances in Berlin and Los Angeles

pdf iconDownload PDF (141.2 KB)
pp. 1-25

Homelessness is a complex societal condition that has proliferated over the past three decades in most industrialized nation-states of the global north. Moreover, nations’ homeless populations have become increasingly diverse, more closely reflecting the poverty...

read more

2. Homeless Spaces, Homeless Lives: Using Ethnography to Assess Homeless People’s Life Courses and Exit Chances in Berlin

pdf iconDownload PDF (124.1 KB)
pp. 26-45

Having provided a cursory overview of the different contexts of homelessness in Germany and the United States and highlighted some of the weaknesses in our contemporary understanding of the impact of policy on homeless people’s lives...

read more

3. Not Allowed: Legal Exclusion, Human Rights, and Global Capital

pdf iconDownload PDF (273.1 KB)
pp. 46-68

Perhaps the most pressing need a homeless person has is to generate income to ensure his or her basic survival. Income, however derived, is an important component of stabilizing homeless people’s lives en route to, ideally, overcoming...

read more

4. Not Wanted: Containment, Warehousing, and Service Exclusion

pdf iconDownload PDF (716.9 KB)
pp. 69-95

If, as demonstrated in the previous chapter, homeless people and some of their survival strategies are deliberately excluded from the commercial city center, what spaces remain for them? Do homeless people in Berlin, like their peers in Los Angeles...

read more

5. Not Needed: Market Exclusion, Exit Strategies, and the Specter of Neoliberalism

pdf iconDownload PDF (143.6 KB)
pp. 96-120

It is not difficult to appreciate that the previously discussed forms of legal and service exclusion had an adverse impact on the respondents’ immediate life circumstances and thus inevitable consequences for their ability to accomplish their long-term goals of securing...

read more

6. Sociospatial Exclusion of Homeless People: Comparative Perspective

pdf iconDownload PDF (275.8 KB)
pp. 121-139

The foregoing empirical chapters provide evidence for three distinct yet interrelated trajectories of exclusion that pertain to homeless people’s immediate survival strategies to generate income (legal exclusion) and find shelter and housing...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (49.0 KB)
pp. 140-142

I often think back to the sunny Saturday morning in October 1993 when I first ventured into Skid Row with my classmates. In fact, to this day I use a virtual field trip to downtown Los Angeles in some of my classes, roughly following the path Professor Jennifer...

Appendix 1: Biographical Sketches of Respondents in Berlin

pdf iconDownload PDF (60.4 KB)
pp. 143-152

Appendix 2: Key Informants

pdf iconDownload PDF (44.3 KB)
pp. 153-158


pdf iconDownload PDF (69.4 KB)
pp. 159-168


pdf iconDownload PDF (82.4 KB)
pp. 169-182


pdf iconDownload PDF (76.6 KB)
pp. 183-191

E-ISBN-13: 9781439908280
Print-ISBN-13: 9781439908266

Page Count: 194
Publication Year: 2013