Negotiating strangerhood: Interviews with homeless immigrants in Copenhagen

  • Järvinen M
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Abstract

The results from a study on homeless immigrants in Copenhagen are analysed in this article. Based on 25 life-history interviews with male immigrants living in institutions for the homeless, my focus of concern is the interviewees' self-presentations and their attempts to handle their stigmatized position. Two theoretical approaches are combined. First, the narratives are analysed as representations of the immigrants' marginalized status in their new society. Many narratives echo Bauman's (1991) descriptions of the stranger as someone constructed as a `permanent other'; someone discredited, blamed and discriminated against because he/she `threatens the natural order of things'. Second, the narratives are analysed as presentations, i.e. as the narrators' preferred interpretations of their present and past situations (Scott and Lyman, 1968). The narratives are therefore read not just as reflections of `things that actually happened' to the interviewees, but also as reflections of their strategies in handling these incidents and of their attempts to present themselves in the interviews as persons `permanently on trial', persons who are `respectable after all'. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER] Copyright of Acta Sociologica (Sage Publications, Ltd.) is the property of Sage Publications, Ltd. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Assimilation
  • Homelessness
  • Integration
  • Isolation
  • Social exclusion
  • Unemployed immigrants

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Authors

  • Margaretha Järvinen

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