Home > Women negotiating power and control as they ‘journey’ through homelessness: a feminist poststructuralist perspective.

Mayock, Paula and Sheridan, Sarah (2020) Women negotiating power and control as they ‘journey’ through homelessness: a feminist poststructuralist perspective. European Journal of Homelessness, 14, (2),

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While homelessness is increasingly seen as differentiated by gender, dominant narratives only rarely incorporate the experiences of women. Using a feminist poststructuralist framework, this paper examines homeless women’s trajectories through and out of homelessness based on data from a qualitative longitudinal study of women’s homelessness in Ireland. Sixty women were recruited and interviewed at baseline and ‘tracked’ over a three-year period alongside the conduct of ethnographic fieldwork at strategically chosen sites throughout the duration of the study. At the time of follow-up, forty women were re-interviewed and reliable information was attained on the whereabouts of an additional nine participants. For the sample as whole, there was strong evidence that the presence or absence of children and the presence or absence of more complex needs impacted women’s ability to access housing and exit homelessness. Those women who had transitioned to stable housing by the time of follow-up were more likely to have children in their care and to report lower levels of need related to substance use and/or mental health. A detailed examination of the women’s service experiences and interactions reveals the complex way in which they engaged with the discourses embedded in the structures they encountered as they moved through the service system, very often along trajectories of long-term homelessness. The analysis uncovers women’s agency, mobilised through acts of ‘resistance’ and ‘conformity’, as they navigated a landscape where assumptions about ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ women prevailed and also significantly influenced their housing outcomes.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
September 2020
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)
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