Exploring ethos? Discourses of 'charity' in the provision of emergency services for homeless people

P Cloke, J May, S Johnsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper examines the ethos of organisations providing emergency services for homeless people in Britain. Drawing on extensive surveys of nonstatutory organisations we present a discourse analysis of statements of `mission', `values', and `ethics', arguing that, although care needs to be exercised in translating organisational ethos into likely practices of care, these overarching messages of ethos are significant waymarkers in the moral landscapes of caring for homeless people. Using Coles' rethinking of the politics of generosity, we interrogate ethos in terms of three ideal types: Christian caritas, secular humanism, and postsecular charity, concluding that the principal fault-line in current services divides organisations which expect particular behavioural outcomes from homeless people (including Christian `conversion' and more secular assumptions of self-responsibility), and those which provide care regardless of individual response.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-402
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironment and Planning A (EPA)
Volume37
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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