Scott Usher


This research explores the experience of social abjection by looking at participants’ experiences following their move from populations normally identified as abject, focussing on the transition out of homelessness and back into secured residential living. The study used a semi-structured interview method, with four formerly homeless participants (three males, one female), to open a dialogue with the intention of shining some light on the transition out of homelessness. The data gathered was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. This research discovered three master themes, each with three emergent themes. These are: Identity a) No universal concept of homelessness; b) Power of stigma over self-identity; c) Homeless identity resilience; Security a) The familiarity of homelessness/fear of unknown; b) Possessions as an anchor; c) The power of responsibility; Structure a) Work as a chore; b) Support as a crutch; c) The power of distraction. The literature used as the foundation for this research (Tyler, 2009; Goffman, 1963; Coleman, 1988) has been supported by the findings. Furthermore, perceived lack of autonomy and poor self-confidence both remain following the transition, suggesting that the psychological impact of social abjection remains a salient part of participants’ identities following their change in circumstances.