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The Making of the Moral Person: Homelessness in Canterbury, Kent

Auger, Ruth (2017) The Making of the Moral Person: Homelessness in Canterbury, Kent. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.66303) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:66303)

Language: English

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This thesis examines homelessness in Canterbury during a period of continuing and changing government austerity measures. The key research question asks: what does it mean to be homeless and how does homelessness shape the moral person?

I answer this question by engaging with the current debates on the anthropology of morals and ethics. Using Fassin's (2015) moral economies as an overarching framework, this thesis explores how and why ideas of morality come into being. To examine how ethical practice unfolds within the sphere of the moral economy of homelessness, this thesis incorporates Lambek's (2015) concept of the ethical as a quality that is intrinsic to human life. In doing this, I suggest ways in which those who are moralised against understand and act upon the issues that confront them as they shape their moral personhood.

Based on 15 months' ethnographic fieldwork at a local day centre for homeless peoples, this thesis will argue that heterogeneity within homelessness contextualises the ways in which ethical practices are manifest. It will further argue that homeless peoples shape their moral personhood through the same processes as non-homeless peoples.

In focussing on the everyday decision-making of informants, this thesis will consider the socio-economic-political processes that such individuals participate in and the tensions between moralising agendas and individual actions. In examining the tensions between moral expectations and ethical decision-making, this thesis will foreground how informants seek to live and act within their own criteria of what is right and good.

This thesis provides a unique exploration of lives that are subject to moralising discourses by both non-homeless and homeless peoples. It contributes to anthropological literatures on homelessness in the twenty-first century and offers insights into wider debates in social anthropology, applied anthropology and urban anthropology as well as the anthropology of morals and ethics. Drawing on related disciplines in the social sciences, it further contributes to literatures in sociology, human geography and social policy.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Peluso, Daniela
Thesis advisor: Henig, David
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.66303
Additional information: The author of this thesis has requested that it be held under closed access. We are sorry but we will not be able to give you access or pass on any requests for access. 03/05/2022
Uncontrolled keywords: homelessness, moralising discourses, moral personhood, ethics, othering, austerity measures
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Funders: Organisations -1 not found.
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2018 11:10 UTC
Last Modified: 03 May 2022 11:29 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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