"The city is my home": homelessness as resistance to institutionalisation

Author(s): Rachael R M Kiddey

Year: 2013


Archaeological analysis of successive ‘home’ spaces created by homeless people enables the documentation of increased privatisation and surveillance within the cities of Bristol and York and reveals the divisive effect they have on social interactions. Using maps, photographs and oral testimonies from homeless people, this paper examines how ‘home’ spaces are grilled off and monitored and asks what this means for the future of ‘public’ spaces. Through subtle negotiations with gatekeepers and application of ‘local knowledge’, homeless people resist being ‘locked out’ of the city and ‘hidden’ from the view of the wider public. 

The theoretical development of the concept of ‘home’ is explored and homelessness policies considered in context. While it is commendable that ‘minimal housing’ policies require access to shelter, current policy takes no account for intangible qualities that ‘make a house, a home’. An archaeological explanation for why many homeless people prefer to create ‘home’ spaces is offered.

Cite this Record

"The city is my home": homelessness as resistance to institutionalisation. Rachael R M Kiddey. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428444)


Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -8.158; min lat: 49.955 ; max long: 1.749; max lat: 60.722 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 417