Touring Homelessness: Volunteer Exploration of the Homeless “Other” and Marginal Urban Space with MATTHEW JEROME SCHNEIDER, PhD Candidate, University of Illinois

September 13, 12:00 PM, 3111 Lincoln Hall

Date

09/11/19

Poverty tourism, also known as slum tourism, often refers specifically to guided tours through the urban “slums” of the Global South. The practice has become a popular form of “development,” in a number of cities across the Global South, with the townships of Johannesburg and the favelas of Rio de Janeiro receiving the most traffic. However, in this chapter, I draw attention to the similarities between homeless outreach volunteering and poverty tourism in an urban American context. Based on 12 months of participant observation with six grassroots homeless service organizations in St. Louis, MO, I argue that the privileges and power associated with volunteer statuses, especially statuses of white and/or middle-class, shape perception of and interaction in nonwhite urban space. More specifically, I argue that, much like poverty tourism in the Global South, the tourist gaze displayed by volunteers in marginal urban space emphasizes and helps reify difference between themselves and those they seek to help. Even as they displayed interest in meeting the needs of people experiencing homelessness, volunteers ultimately reinforced the marginal social positions of homelessness subjects. Furthermore, this chapter shows that the otherization process varies based on the ideological bent of the volunteer/volunteer group. Those who more readily deployed color-conscious, social justice frames fixed their gazes upon a consumable blackness. Meanwhile, those who understood homelessness through frames of abstract liberalism cast a gaze that implicitly constructed white homelessness as difference, but black homelessness as dangerous, a product of laziness, and/or cultural deficiency.
 

Matt’s dissertation, an ethnography of six grassroots homeless service organizations in St. Louis, MO, explores the relationships between race, religion, class, and civic mindedness. His work considers questions about white supremacy, white allyship, urban inequality, the production of stigma, and volunteer tourism. He also entertains a number of “passion projects” on subjects ranging from public attitudes about fracking to social media and the construction of nature. He is the author of “Exotic Place, White Space: Racialized Volunteer Spaces in Honduras,” published in Sociological Forum.

Directory

jpintarJudith
Pintar
dillBrian
Dill
fandradeFlavia
Andrade
gilleZsuzsa
Gille
azeraiAssata
Zerai
n-denzinNorman
Denzin
schndrDorothee
Schneider
tfliaoTim
Liao
w-trentWilliam
Trent
redstoneIlana
Redstone
rubymenRuby
Mendenhall
dowlingjJulie
Dowling
amarshllAnna-Maria
Marshall
thomas56Merin
Thomas
vitoskyCaitlin
Vitosky Clarke
buckleycCynthia
Buckley
bmbarnetBernice
Barnett
abayatAsef
Bayat
seatonMasie
Seaton
djsDaniel
Steward
fiesele1Carlie
Fieseler
peach3Matthew
Peach
rsmith35Rachel
Smith
d-borduaDavid
Bordua
hcholdinHarvey
Choldin
jkluegelJames
Kluegel
cmcphailClark
McPhail
swiceC
Swicegood
dhoppingDavid
Hopping
keithmarKeith
Marshall
mjschne2Matthew
Schneider
nwileyNorbert
Wiley
mlee201Meggan
Lee
jckrueg2Julie
Krueger
asingh9Ajay
Singh
lzeng6Liqun
Zeng
maliceMaryalice
Wu
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Leicht
alowfi2Ahmed
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asminki2Ilya
Asminkin
delanth2Shwetha
Delanthamajalu
kmernst2Kathleen
Ernst
hgiffo2Heather
Gifford
hkhalil3Heba
Khalil
rmmcdnl2Rae
McDonald
teimour2Amirhossein
Teimourigerdeh
ptseng6Po-Chia
Tseng
lsharifLila
Sharif
alishia2Alishia
Alexander
qingyub2Qingyu
Bu
jh12Jessennya
Hernandez
chaseem2Chase
Moon
bfo2Brian
O'Neill
hanykz2Hany
Zayed
moussawiGhassan
Moussawi
rrileyRebecca
Riley
kcopas2Katherine
Copas
dfrumer2Dan
Frumer
miguela2Miguel
Avalos
dmcnultyDawn
McNulty
kodowd2Kathryn
O'Dowd
plevine3Patrick
Levine
nelmel2Nehal
Elmeligy
shifrin4Elizabeta
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crjones5Carileigh
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rabentonRichard
Benton
baugh2James
Baugh
hamideh3Musa
Hamideh
rjavadi2Reyhaneh
Javadi
puckett6Chris
Puckett
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anamh2Ana
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Rijo Sanchez
jatilesJose
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makozakM Aysegul
Kozak Cakir
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Sova