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Professional Lives, Personal Struggles

Ethics and Advocacy in Research on Homelessness

Edited by Randall Amster and Martha Trenna Valado - Contributions by Julie Adkins; Kathleen Arnold; Kurt Borchard; David Cook; Jeff Ferrell; Vincent Lyon-Callo; Jürgen von Mahs; Don Mitchell; Rob Rosenthal; Michael Rowe; Lynn A. Staeheli and J. Talmadge Wright

This edited volume illuminates critical research issues through the particular lens of homelessness, bringing together some of the leading scholars in the field, from an array of disciplines and perspectives, to explore this condition of marginalization and the ethical dilemmas that arise within it. The authors provide insights into the realities and challenges of social research that will guide students, activists, practitioners, policymakers, and service providers, as well as both novice and seasoned researchers in fields of inquiry ranging from anthropology and sociology to geography and cultural studies. Although many texts have explored the subject of homelessness, few have attempted to encapsulate and examine the complex process of researching the issue as a phenomenon unto itself. Professional Lives, Personal Struggles examines the many challenges of conducting ethical research on homelessness, as well as the potential for positive change and transformation, through the deeply personal accounts of scholars and advocates with extensive experience working in the field. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 226Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
978-0-7391-7428-9 • Hardback • July 2012 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
978-0-7391-7429-6 • eBook • July 2012 • $85.00 • (£54.95)
Randall Amster, J.D., Ph.D., is professor of Peace Studies and graduate chair of Humanities at Prescott College.

Trenna Valado, Ph.D., is an applied anthropologist who currently works with a private company that aims to improve the lives of children and families through interdisciplinary research and evaluation of social service programs.
by Jeff Ferrell
Introduction: Rediscovering Homelessness . . . and Ourselves
by Randall Amster
Part 1: Advocacy and Identity
Chapter 1: Social Justice, Ethics, and Advocacy in Street Research: A Personal Accounting
by Talmadge Wright
Chapter 2: The Advocate Researcher
by Rob Rosenthal
Chapter 3: Homelessness and Drag
by Kathleen Arnold
Chapter 4: Writing the Streets: Dilemmas of Depiction
by Trenna Valado
Part 2: Relationships and Ethics
Chapter 5: Planning and Managing Ethical Dilemmas in Homelessness Research
by Michael Rowe
Chapter 6: ‘Buddy Researcher’? Prospects, Limitations, and Ethical Considerations in Ethnographic Research on Homeless People in Berlin
by Jürgen von Mahs
Chapter 7: Ethics and Studying Homelessness: Tales from the Field
by Kurt Borchard
Chapter 8: Weapons of the Weak, by the Weak, and for the Weak: Negotiating Power Between and Among Homeless Persons and Service Providers
by Julie Adkins
Part 3: Research and Transformation
Chapter 9: Do We Really Need More Research on Homelessness? An Autoethnographic Exploration of Ethics, Advocacy, and Exasperation
by Vin Lyon-Callo
Chapter 10: Homelessness as ‘Internal Displacement’: Scholarship and Activism in Post-Katrina New Orleans
by Randall Amster
Chapter 11: Do (No) Harm: Homelessness and Personal Transformation
by David Cook
Chapter 12: On the Politics and Ethics of ‘Using’ ‘the Homeless’ in Social Justice Research
by Don Mitchell and Lynn Staeheli
Conclusion: Synthesizing the Personal and Professional
by Trenna Valado
Professional Lives, Personal Struggles provides a nuanced examination of the ethical issues faced by ethnographic researchers who work with or on behalf of people who are dispossessed. Even experienced researchers are likely to find the analyses consistently thought-provoking and at times original. Novice researchers might particularly benefit from insightful discussion of the ways in which others have come to grips with the quandaries they are sure to face.
European Journal of Homelessness

In a world of mindless tweets, Facebook 'over-sharing' and Kim Kardashian, it is heartening to know that sociologists still care about something that matters: the homeless, the wretched of our American earth. Let us praise the authors of this volume for keeping their story alive.
Mark S. Hamm, author of In Bad Company: America’s Terrorist Underground

This timely and important book looks at homelessness from the relatively neglected perspective of research ethics. Building on academic and experiential knowledge from an impressive array of scholars in the field, the book makes a strong case that ethical concerns are an emergent and persistent part of researching any marginal population, and the homeless in particular.
Amir Marvasti, Penn State Altoona