Led rather than leading? Research on homelessness in Britain

This article examines the history of British homelessness research and its politicization over the past 40 years. The relationship between homelessness research and policy has been developing since the 1960s, and by the 1990s the majority of research was undertaken within the policy arena. In part, this has arisen because of the way in which research has been funded in the UK, with funding being dominated by government or those seeking to criticize its policies. To varying degrees, this is also attributable to the acceptance of a homelessness paradigm, which was ultimately no more than an ideological construct, the ‘definitions’ of homelessness within British legislation. Fuelled by the growth of homelessness and an increase in charitable activity, the volume of research grew during the 1980s and 1990s, but without concurrent methodological and theoretical development. Recent academic critiques of British homelessness research are reviewed, including the movement towards re-conceptualizating homelessness.

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Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology