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This presentation will focus on an aspect of a larger project looking at the treatment of the single homeless in England. In general our legal framework assumes that citizens are autonomous individuals who are free to live and provide for themselves in ways they think fit. It accepts however that certain individuals can legitimately be excepted from these assumptions, typically women, children and the vulnerable. Provision is made for these groups through legislation. The book will develop two strands of socio-legal thoughts or explorations around this basic framework. First it looks at how these legal exceptions work in contemporary times and second it looks at the consequences for those who are not considered legitimate exceptions. In particular how are the lives of those who are excluded from the statutory scheme also shaped by law? One aspect we will focus on is how care can be a challenge to the liberal paradigm.
The paper follows the homeless person’s pet through the ‘lawscape’ of homelessness to explore, through acts of translation and association, its spaces of care, dependency and control. The paper argues that the pet (usually, but not always a dog) provides a productive vantage point from which to explore care and homelessness because it highlights a close and perhaps unexpected juxtaposition of care and control as well as disrupting the normative asymmetry of care and dependency. The pet also opens the homeless person to a range of criminal interventions. A focus on the pets of the homeless therefore helps us rethink care, understanding the homeless as providers as well as recipients of care, entrepreneurs of the self as well as beggars, and that provision and receipt of care can simultaneously include and exclude the homeless in multiple and unexpected ways.
Helen Carr is a reader in law at Kent Law School, University of Kent. Helen's research interests lie primarily in the fields of Housing, Social Welfare and Public Law. She is interested in the regulation of the poor especially the homeless, the asylum seeker, the anti-social and those in need of care. Helen is particularly concerned with the gendered and racialised dimensions of regulation.
Caroline Hunter is professor of law at York Law School, University of Law. Caroline’s research interest lie in the boundaries between law, policy and practice, focusing on housing as a site of these interactions.
Together they are writing a book: Governing the homeless: law, governance and plurality at the margins to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2015.
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