SCIENTIA GEOGRAPHICA SINICA ›› 2019, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (3): 450-458.doi: 10.13249/j.cnki.sgs.2019.03.011

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The Everyday Life Practice and Space Control of Homeless in Guangzhou

Duo Yin1,2(), Muyan Cai2, Jinduo Liang2, Hong Zhu1(), Quan Gao1,3   

  1. 1. The Research Center for Human Geography and Urban Development in Southern China, School of Geographical Science, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, Guangdong, China
    2. School of Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631,Guangdong, China
    3. Department of Geography, Newcastle University, Newcastle NE1 7RU, United Kingdom
  • Received:2018-01-19 Revised:2018-05-15 Online:2019-03-10 Published:2019-03-10
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China (41630635)


Taking homeless people in Guangzhou as an example, through the qualitative research methods such as non-participating observation and in-depth interviews, this article analyzes the spatial governance policies designated for urban homelessness and the subjective construction and agency excise of homelessness in the everyday life practice. The study finds that, under the dual pressure of urban policy on restriction of mobility and the accessibility to urban public space, the everyday life practice of homeless people is constituted in relation to conscious impression management for governing actors, and preconscious or unconscious flow of affect and self-identity embedding in their daily routine and lifestyle. They not only have the need to maintain basic survival, but also eager to pursue a better life in the city. The practice of everyday life not only demonstrates the agency of homeless, but more importantly emphasizes and highlights the true emotions, needs and identity of homeless as humanity. Their humanity, which challenged and manifested the urban mainstream groups and culture, portrayed their own choice of life paths. There is contingency between top-down social aid and actually existing everyday practices, as local government aims at spatial regulation per se rather than vitalizes human ethics. The research focuses on how the marginalized groups shape the symbolic meaning of space and contributes to a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon of the homeless in China.

Key words: homeless, everyday life practice, space governance, Guangzhou

CLC Number: 

  • K901.6