Are the Homeless Taboo? – A Theoretical Perspective

  • Adam Clay University of Edinburgh


Discussing works by Patrick Declerck, Ghassan Hage, and Giorgio Agamben, this paper asks whether society sets the homeless apart and treats them the way it does not by accident, but deliberately, because they serve, as outcasts, a particular function. This article does not attempt to analyse a given local or national situation; it is, instead, a thought experiment which develops a hypothesis by drawing on ideas put forward by authors such as Michel Foucault, Claude Lévi- Strauss and Achille Mbembe. It posits that the homeless are the result of an unacknowledged yet structural discriminating process whereby society deprives some people from their humanity in order to define itself, its members and its values. 

“Saturn Devouring His Son,” Francisco Goya, c. 1819-1823
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