Governing Homelessness Through Running

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Abstract

In the context of social welfare austerity and non-state actors’ interventions into social life, an urban not-for-profit organization in the United States, Back on My Feet, uses the practice of running to engage those recovering from homelessness. Promoting messages of self-sufficiency, the organization centralizes the body as a site of investment and transformation. Doing so calls to the fore the social construction of ‘the homeless body’ and ‘the running body’. Within this ethnographic inquiry, participants in recovery who ran with the organization constructed moralized senses of self in relation to volunteers, organizers, and those who do not run, while in recovery. Their experiences compel consideration of how bodily constructions and practices reproduce morally underpinned, self-oriented associations with homeless and neoliberal discourses that obfuscate systemic causes of homelessness, pose challenges for well-intentioned voluntary or development organizations, and service the relief of the state from social responsibility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-118
Number of pages31
JournalBody and Society
Volume25
Issue number2
Early online date3 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Embodiment
  • ethnography
  • governance
  • homelessness
  • neoliberalism
  • sport and exercise interventions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Cultural Studies

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