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By Kenneth Kyle

This venture employs 3 diversified disciplinary approaches--social constructionism, coverage research, and rhetorical analysis--as a primary step towards a severe thought of homelessness.

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Additional resources for Contextualizing Homelessness: Critical Theory, Homelessness, and Federal Policy Addressing the Homeless

Sample text

Analytical Perspectives 27 To use a recurring theme in American culture as an example, some peo­ ple assume that in the natural order of things, individual merit underlies per­ sonal achievement. Therefore, one can speak of the deserving and the undeserving in absolute terms. When used as a filter for viewing individual fortune and achievement, those individuals who are more successful (cer­ tainly the “homed”) are more valued than those who are less successful— clearly the homeless. The presentation of such dichotomous relationships without explaining the underlying moves making these dichotomies possible bolsters an unproblematic view of these and similar social relations.

Accordingly, I offer this effort as an example of an applied critical theory piece that draws from both the modern and postmodern strands of critical theory. Therefore, I draw upon approaches often associated with postmodern critical theory in my analysis. , see Young, 1990a; Kyle, 2004). , see Donovan, 1993; Hogan, 1995). Similarly, the same may be said for some academic work on homelessness as well. I suggest that these and other applied works would benefit from a more in-depth examination of the widely circulating stereotypes, discourses, ideographs and literary images that underlie the particular problem they are addressing.

Condit suggests that characterizations are the “universalized descriptions of particular agents, acts, scenes, purposes or agencies which when they become culturally accepted as accurate depictions of a class, can be labeled ‘character-types’” (1987, p. 4). Hasian concurs with Condit’s posi­ tion and adds that “for the purposes of rhetoric, the importance of a charac­ terization is not necessarily its truth or falsity according to some standard outside of the narrative but rather the potency of the characterization to audiences who identify with particular stories” (1996, p.

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