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Understanding context, agency and process in the health of homeless young women in Glasgow: a qualitative study

Stephen, Dawn Eunice (1998) Understanding context, agency and process in the health of homeless young women in Glasgow: a qualitative study. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The health experiences, and the lived experiences in general, of homeless young women have largely been overlooked. In seeking to redress this situation, the research findings presented in this thesis support those from other homelessness studies; the sample's health was poor. However, drawing upon a wider range of research traditions than is normally the case, conceiving health in terms of physical, mental and social well-being, and employing qualitative methods to facilitate verstehen of the epiphanies and processes involved in the outcome of 'homelessness', the meanings these lived experiences had engendered, and the lifeworld of 'homeless' young women, this study problematises the rather biomedical orientation of most homelessness and ill-health studies. The fundamental argument presented is that homelessness and poor health outcomes are products of the same iniquitous structures that affect a much greater population, yet the medicalisation of homelessness has served to obscure this and reinforce difference. Accordingly, the concepts of social exclusion, youth transitions and identity in late modernity provide a normative 'way of seeing' the experience of homelessness and its relationship with health. By simply conceiving the subjects of research as cognisant and purposive agents whose lived experiences are rooted in the structures and processes of exclusion inherent in late modernity, yet mediated by the affective body, the importance of acknowledging relativity, as a social concept in homelessness research is demonstrated. This is accomplished by exploring the sample's lived experiences as the contexts within which their health meanings and actions are informed and effected. It is shown that 'homelessness', portrayed by the sample as a stage of transition between the structured limitations of the past and their aspirations for the future, does not only produce negative health outcomes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Supervisor's Name: Goodlad, Prof. Robina and Reid, Dr. Margaret
Date of Award: 1998
Depositing User: Elaine Ballantyne
Unique ID: glathesis:1998-2236
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2010
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:53
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/2236

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