Homelessness and Care: Anthro-vision revealing what is hidden in plain sight

Hosted by the International Inequalities Institute

Online public event


Simon Tawfic

Simon Tawfic

Dr Mayanka Mukherjee

Dr Mayanka Mukherjee

Dr Johannes Lenhard

Dr Johannes Lenhard


Professor Alpa Shah

Professor Alpa Shah

What is the relationship between homelessness and care? This event examines the vitality of care and how it is negotiated at the margins of society in unexpected ways through deep ethnographic research among the homeless.

In the public imagination, people who experience homelessness lack care and are direly in need of it. This panel discussion disrupts static notions of care which remain endemic in policy discussions about homelessness, home and belonging. Informed by ethnographic research from across Western Europe, we share observations on how those threatened with displacement cultivate a sense of belonging through subtle, everyday acts of care for places, buildings and people. We illustrate the fragility of homemaking beyond 'the home' and the everyday attempts to make - and unmake - homely spaces across the urban landscape. Even in cases of organised charity, we demonstrate that the roles of 'care-giver' and 'care-recipient' are always in flux: circuits of care and reliance flow in all directions between support workers and their clients. We present an anthropological perspective to homelessness and care, then, to re-examine the vitality of care more widely and how care is variously negotiated at the margins of society in diverse places.

Meet our speakers and chair 

Simon Tawfic is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology and a Leverhulme Programme participant in the International Inequalities Institute, both at the London School of Economics. His research draws upon his professional experience of conducting casework in homeless charities in the UK.

Mayanka Mukherjee (@Mayankadave) is a Social Anthropology Fellow at the LSE. Her research looks at empty houses in Chelsea, London, and she is interested in the everyday rituals of belonging performed at the heart of the city. Alongside academic research, she mentors low-income tenants in Brent and develops short stories about London's diversity of housing-based experiences. 

Johannes Lenhard (@JFLenhard) is a research associate and affiliate lecturer at the Max Planck Cambridge Centre for Ethics, Economy and Social Change. His research is with people experiencing homelessness (in Paris, London and Cambridge) and more recently with venture capital investors. His monograph Making Better Lives is about to appear early next year. 

Alpa Shah (@alpashah001) is Professor of Anthropology at LSE and convenes the ‘Global Economies of Care’ research theme at the International Inequalities Institute. She is author of the award-winning Nightmarch: Among India’s Revolutionary Guerrillas.

More about this event

The International Inequalities Institute (@LSEInequalities) at LSE brings together experts from many of the School's departments and centres to lead cutting-edge research focused on understanding why inequalities are escalating in numerous arenas across the world, and to develop critical tools to address these challenges.

This event will have live captioning and BSL interpreting.

The Twitter hashtags for the event is #LSEInequalities 

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