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Based on a study of the daily lives of the homeless in Nancy (a city in the Grand Est region with a population of 300,000) conducted during an eight-month immersive ethnographic research project, this article aims to show the social structures which order the homeless world. Far from the notions of “wandering” and “desocialization”, which are often mobilized to characterize the individual situation of the homeless, this paper instead focuses on the collective dimensions of the street experience to highlight and characterize its spatial-temporal, relational and moral structures. Thus this paper will show not only that the homeless can be understood as belonging to a relatively structured social world, but also that this this social order subsists despite the high turnover amongst members of the homeless microcosm.

  • Ethnography
  • homeless
  • social structures
  • social order
  • social world
Thibaut Besozzi
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Uploaded on on 30/11/-0001
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