Living in Hell in the City of Angels: Identity Construction and Condition Management Among Black Homeless Men of Los Angeles' Skid Row

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2013-11-20

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Abstract

A growing body of research on homelessness has focused on the means by which marginalized individuals effectively engage in impression management in the absence of traditional resources for self-presentation. My research focuses on the varieties of talk that black homeless men employ in “identity construction” and “condition management.” This paper is based on a mixed methods study of the lives of 20 black homeless men of Los Angeles’ Skid Row. Analysis revealed that respondents utilized four patterns of talk in order to make sense of themselves and their situation: (a) blaming, (b) stereotyping, (c) distancing, and (d) redemptive storytelling. These varieties of talk represent strategic methods by which the individual makes meaning of and copes with their state of homelessness. The implications of this study for future research will be discussed.

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Senior Honors Thesis, Winner of the Ida Harper Simpson Award for Best Honors Thesis in Sociology

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Habashi, Michael (2013). Living in Hell in the City of Angels: Identity Construction and Condition Management Among Black Homeless Men of Los Angeles' Skid Row. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/8103.


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