The Salvaging of Identities among Homeless Men: Reflections for Social Work

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Abstract

Abstract: This research reveals the social and individual processes that dominate the experiences of homeless men through an exploration of their struggle to achieve ontological worth. Drawing on eight in-depth interviews with homeless men who are experiencing homelessness, this research demonstrates this struggle is because of the situated nature of identities that homeless men continually reconstruct and renegotiate. It proposes that relations to this set of identities are relevant to homeless men, in particular the construction and reconstruction of their identities within homelessness. The central findings of this research reveal that homeless men actively manage their identities to cope with the instability inherent to the experience. The implications of this for social work practice are explored, focusing on the importance of self-conception and the restoration of positive identities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-243
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian Social Work
Volume68
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Homelessness
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Constructionism
  • Social Theory
  • Social Work

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