Emotional geographies of urban homeless people’s avoidance of places providing social services

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The article presents an analysis of how homeless people’s negative emotional experiences of places providing social services leads to their avoidance of those places. The article is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in urban Copenhagen. Focusing on emotional experiences of fear and disgust, the analysis shows that emotional experiences that lead to avoidance are linked to certain spatial dynamics that are intertwined with specific places such as homeless hostels and day centers. These spatial dynamics relate to the materiality, symbolic dimensions, and the use of the place in question. The article also reveals how policies directly and indirectly affect the spatial dynamics of such places and, by extension, the related emotional experiences of homeless people. Further, the article shows that homeless people’s avoidance, which results from their emotional experiences, constitutes a subtle form of socio-spatial exclusion from social services. Hence, the article argues that in order to counter this form of socio-spatial exclusion, the interplay between places, policies and emotions needs to be taken into account in policymaking processes as well as social work practices that aim to assist homeless people.
TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Homelessness
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)15-34
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - 2018


  • hjemløse
  • social eksklusion
  • Socialt arbejde og sociale forhold
  • eksklusion
  • socialpolitik


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