Unsettled – Reconsidering the Notion of ‘Homelessness’ through the Lens of Urban Movement
Keywords:movement, home, homelessness, stigmatization, informality
This paper proposes to reconsider the notion of ‘homelessness’ under the lens of urban movement, suggesting that the long prevailing stigma against people experiencing homelessness is a repercussion of the idea that living an unsettled life can destabilize capitalist societies. Living on the move, by choice or, most commonly, without one, embodies a resistance to the capitalist valorization of land: Transient lifestyles resist the precept of property ownership, and hint at alternative ways of living in cities, beyond capitalist norms. Simultaneously, they are bodily evidence of the mechanisms of urban displacement further triggered by real estate speculation, as it is the socio-economic and political system of capitalism which produces contemporary conditions of unchosen homelessness. Thus, the paper links the stigmatization of homelessness to notions of urban movement and capitalist urban logics. Untangling these complex dependencies, then, becomes also a way to reconsider notions of making a home in cities.