PurposeHow can people with lived experience of homelessness actively participate in contesting their marginalisation? The purpose of this paper is to suggest that involving people who are homeless in participatory action research (PAR) is one such strategy. This paper shows that such an approach can have a significant impact on empowering people with direct of experience of homelessness to challenge prevailing social discourses, particularly in terms of the way in which the local media presents homelessness as a social issue.Design/methodology/approachA PAR approach informed the design, development and dissemination of the study on which this paper is based. Analytically, it is underpinned by Foucauldian discourse analysis (FDA). FDA, with its focus on power relations in society, is noted to be particularly useful for analysing local media representations of homeless people.FindingsThe research reported here found that academic practitioners and homeless people can work together to challenge media discourses, which serve to marginalise people affected by homelessness.Research limitations/implicationsThe research reported here served to challenge some of the ways in homeless people are victimized and stigmatized.Practical implicationsThe research reported here has the potential to inform future research concerned with understanding media presentations of homeless people. It can be seen as a model for how people affected by a particularly pernicious social issue can contribute to research in ways that go beyond researching for the sake of research.Originality/valueThe research reported here provides evidence of the emancipatory value of research that seeks to bring academic practitioners and homeless people together in a partnership to challenge vital social issues such as the power of the local media to frame understandings of homelessness.
Housing, Care and Support – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 19, 2018
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