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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

One (Wo)Man's Trash Is Another (Wo)Man's Treasure: A Visual Exploration of Homeless Space-Making Through the Lens of Material Culture
by Audell, Acacia E., M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2020, 43; 27834003
Abstract (Summary)

Individuals experiencing homelessness have long been associated with the collection and retention of previously owned goods, or “trash”. Individuals are often seen transporting these items with them everywhere due to their lack of permanent housing, and sometimes using assorted belongings to create temporary livable spaces in different parts of the city. Trash is a multifaceted concept that is viewed differently across cultures and peoples; items that one person views as trash, another person may view as valuable. When items are deemed no longer viable, they are tossed into the garbage or perhaps donated to charities, both of which are common resources for individuals experiencing homelessness in the collection of objects. One of the compounding issues surrounding this behavior is the misconception the general public places on homeless belongings - projecting their idea of what constitutes trash versus possessions – and consequently, on the individuals themselves. I argue that, like their belongings, individuals experiencing homelessness are perceived as “matter out of place”. Based on ethnographic research methods and qualitative data collection, this study aims to understand what type of material objects homeless individuals collect and how these objects affect their identity and sense of belonging, and how individuals use these items to manifest their idea of home on the space(s) they occupy.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wilson, Scott
Commitee: Quintiliani, Karen, Miller, Kara
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 82/3(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Behavioral psychology
Keywords: Belonging, Homelessness, Identity, Material culture, Space, Trash
Publication Number: 27834003
ISBN: 9798664789706
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