"This is how my life ended”: reconstructed life narratives of men experiencing homelessness in the context of social work practice

Authors

  • Dovilė Zovė Kaunas city social service centre

Keywords:

homelessness, homeless person,, social identity, stereotypes, social construction, life story, narrative

Abstract

he article presents a qualitative study that analyses the construction of the social process of becoming homeless, based on the subjective experiences
of those experiencing homelessness. Becoming homeless is a long-term and dynamic process that is identified at different age stages and is constructed based on individual lived life events and is closely related to identity changes. Men experiencing homelessness construct a subjectively reflective identity path based on the dimension of temporality, defining events that have influenced their sense of identity at different stages of their lives.
Research participants constructed the history of their identity “I” in different ways. In the construction of the identity of the past “I”, identities are
highlighted in relation to actions taken, occupied positions, freedom, independence, and having a fulfilling life, which ensured a positive self-evaluation, had an impact on personal self-worth and self-esteem. The construction of the identity of the present “I” was based on the lived experience
of homelessness. However, it is noticeable that even when accepting the homeless status, the research participants try to maintain a positive attitude towards themselves by highlighting their positive personal qualities and functioning. Desires, hopes and dreams emerged in the construction of
the future identity, and the most prominent emphasis in the narratives of the research participants is the satisfaction of basic needs, especially highlighting the ownership of one’s own home.

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Published

2024-04-12

How to Cite

Zovė, . D. (2024). "This is how my life ended”: reconstructed life narratives of men experiencing homelessness in the context of social work practice. Socialinis Darbas: Patirtis Ir Metodai / Social Work: Experience and Methods, 1(31), 43–76. Retrieved from https://ejournals.vdu.lt/index.php/SWEM/article/view/5980