What is it to feel homeless? How does it feel to be without the orienting geography of home? Going beyond homelessness as a housing issue, this book uniquely explores the embodied, emotional experiences of homelessness. In doing so, Robinson reveals much about existing gaps in service responses, in community perceptions, and in the ways in which homelessness most often becomes visible as a problem for policy makers. She argues that the emotional dimension of displacement must be central to contemporary practices of researching, understanding, writing, and responding to homelessness. She situates the issue of homelessness at the nexus of important, broader intellectual and methodological developments that take bodily and spatial experience as their starting point. Drawing on field research and interviews, Robinson details the lives of homeless individuals in Sydney, Australia. The moving narratives of these individuals bear witness to the key experiences of corporeal fragmentation, geographical detachment, and social alienation. At the book's core lies a call to legitimize scholarly work that focuses on emotions, particularly trauma, facilitating researchers and policy makers to explore new avenues for evaluating service delivery. Beside One's Self bridges the divide between research that has policy implications and research that makes theoretical contributions.
Catherine Robinson is a senior lecturer of Cultural Studies at the University of Technology, Sydney, researching and teaching in the areas of social and cultural theory, qualitative research methods, and the philosophy of social research. Her publications include Accommodation in Crisis: Forgotten Women in Western Sydney with R. E. Searby.