Chapter 7: Without house or home? Understanding homelessness as dwelling
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Homelessness is widely viewed as among the most compelling forms of poverty in affluent countries. But what is homelessness? This question is deceptively straightforward and the subject of debate in sociology and social policy. These debates are not solely academic, since definitions of homelessness are inseparable from the explanations postulated and solutions offered for it. In Australia, a major point of contention is whether homelessness denotes a lack of physical housing structures or should be understood in relation to the idea of a home, which has social, spatial and subjective elements. Informed by empirical research, this chapter seeks to move beyond the housing/home opposition that underpins much research, developing an understanding of homelessness as a form of dwelling. Its aim is not to provide a final definition of homelessness, but to provide a research framework that facilitates understanding and assist in the navigation of recent debates. Keywords: homelessness, dwelling, housing, home, inequality, Australia

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