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Social and spatial dimensions of homelessness in Athens: Welfare networks and practices of care professionals.

Arapoglou, Vassilios Petrou (2002) Social and spatial dimensions of homelessness in Athens: Welfare networks and practices of care professionals. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The thesis questions the official views that there is no homelessness in Athens by exploring the social constructions of homelessness adopted by central state, local state, church, and voluntary agencies that manage the homeless. In particular it explores whether available welfare provisions and the ensemble of networks of providers shape who and how many the homeless are, and where they reside. In Greece the issue has only recently been recognized, so existing literature is limited. Drawing upon the international literature I argue that the main dimensions of homelessness should be documented and analysed on different geographical scales. However, given the differentiated powers of providers within a welfare regime, their ideologies are crucial for the formal recognition and the every day treatment of homelessness. I suggest that the Greek welfare regime is a variant of familistic southern European ones, including networks between formal and informal providers, which contribute to socio-economic inequalities and to traditional social control of the urban poor. Using primary and secondary data I provide updated estimates for the extent of various levels of visible and invisible homelessness in Athens and I apply principal components analysis to map the distribution of homeless shelters and housing deprivation in the city. I find that substandard housing and makeshift arrangements conceal a poor population in city fringes and inner city areas and that asylums become poles hiding the homeless, and scattered charity shelters accommodate those without family support. From analysis of official documents, interviews with providers and observations from my own participation in various projects, I argue that four providers form distinct philanthropic networks and discourses, which I term bureaucratic, political, civil, and religious. Constrained by limited resources, fragmentation, and hierarchy, professionals resort to philanthropic discourses to acknowledge responsibility for different kinds of recipients exposed to different risks of homelessness. Exclusions select deserving from undeserving clients. These practices do not facilitate access to housing, income, employment, or good quality of care for the homeless.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Public and Social Welfare
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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