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Supportive measures, enabling restraint: governing homeless ‘street drinkers’ in Hamilton, Canada

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Abstract:

This paper uses a ‘grounded’ governmentality framework to examine the political and personal significance of a novel therapeutic intervention targeting chronically homeless individuals with severe alcohol problems. The paper is based on a qualitative case study of ‘Mountainview,’ a residential facility combining medical care and social services with an ‘alcohol management’ program. Drawing on the experiences of program staff and residents, as well as local policy discourses on homelessness, I explore the significance of this intervention in relation to geographies of inclusion and exclusion in the city. The paper traces how Mountainview encompasses novel forms of visualization, valuation, enclosure, and self-examination that together afford ‘street drinkers’ a new, albeit ambivalent, place in the city.

Keywords: Réduction des méfaits; ethnography; etnografía; exclusion; exclusión; gouvernementalité; governmentality; gubernamentalidad; harm reduction; homelessness; inclusion; inclusión; la falta de vivienda; problème des SDF («sans-abrisme» ); reducción de daño; éthographie

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2012.655769

Affiliations: Centre for Social Science,Athabasca University, 1 University DriveAthabasca,AB,T9S393, Canada

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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