The relocation of homeless individuals into the public space

  • João Aldeia Doutorando em Sociologia pela Faculdade de Economia da Universidade de Coimbra
Keywords: public space, homeless people phenomenon, heterotopy, mixophobic hospitality


In the last decades, the economic orientation of the public space has increased and it has become less hospitable to homeless individuals, resulting in a decrease in their chances of survival. The traditional tension between hospitality and inhospitality as strategies for dealing with the visible poor is being reconfigured in contemporary Western societies, creating a form of hospitality based on the active rejection of interaction with altered-disqualified-because-poor. This form of mixophobic hospitality has the effect of reducing the number and types of spaces in which the homeless individuals are welcome. Unwanted in these public spaces, these subjects are relocated to homeless services and to other heterotopic sites to which the middle and elite classes have no interest in going, indicating a trend of spatial differentiation between "our places" and "places of others'.