On the news today: challenging homelessness through participatory action research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Abstract
Purpose
How can people with lived experience of homelessness actively participate in contesting their marginalisation? The purpose of this paper is to suggest that involving people who are homeless in participatory action research (PAR) is one such strategy. This paper shows that such an approach can have a significant impact on empowering people with direct of experience of homelessness to challenge prevailing social discourses, particularly in terms of the way in which the local media presents homelessness as a social issue.

Design/methodology/approach
A PAR approach informed the design, development and dissemination of the study on which this paper is based. Analytically, it is underpinned by Foucauldian discourse analysis (FDA). FDA, with its focus on power relations in society, is noted to be particularly useful for analysing local media representations of homeless people.

Findings
The research reported here found that academic practitioners and homeless people can work together to challenge media discourses, which serve to marginalise people affected by homelessness.

Research limitations/implications
The research reported here served to challenge some of the ways in homeless people are victimized and stigmatized.

Practical implications
The research reported here has the potential to inform future research concerned with understanding media presentations of homeless people. It can be seen as a model for how people affected by a particularly pernicious social issue can contribute to research in ways that go beyond researching for the sake of research.

Originality/value
The research reported here provides evidence of the emancipatory value of research that seeks to bring academic practitioners and homeless people together in a partnership to challenge vital social issues such as the power of the local media to frame understandings of homelessness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-25
JournalHousing, Care and Support
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2018

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