How do people find themselves homeless? Why are the needs of homeless people almost totally neglected in Russian society? Which lines do they cross to become complete outsiders? This is the first book to explore the experience of homeless people in Russia both in the late Soviet period and during post-socialist transition. It concentrates on the homeless, or roofless people, living on the streets or in other places unfit for normal human habitation: cellars and lofts of apartment blocks; at train stations and airports; or in rubbish dumps or underground hot water pipes. Using in-depth interviews, the author documents their routes into homelessness; the strategies they adopt in using the city space for survival and building social bonds; and the barriers which block their escape from the streets. Interviews with people who became homeless in the 1970s-1980s are contrasted with accounts of those whose homelessness started after the end of the Soviet regime. The author places these narratives within the framework of theoretical perspectives on social-spatial exclusion, interaction between space and social identity and the regimes of settlement and social control.
Stephenson advances understanding of homelessness in Russia as an extreme case of social-territorial displacement, and to set out its causes and its individual consequences within the larger social and political context. She suggests that by using the concept of displacement, particularly in a historical perspective, it is possible to better understand the ways in which social systems produce marginality and homelessness.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd