Homelessness, Mimesis, and the Flânerie

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As an intense repository for human existence, the contemporary city is textured by scenes of homelessness that manifest broader issues of inequality and poverty in society. This article explores material from photo-elicitation projects with 36 street homeless men in Auckland who were asked to go out into the city and picture their everyday lives. In interpreting the results, we draw on theoretical work on mimesis, urban mobilities, and social practice to conceptualize how homeless people attempt to convey aspects of street life. A core proposition is that in adopting the mobile analytic gaze of flânerie, participants produce photographs as memetic objects that enable them to show and articulate traces of the key places, features, rhythms, practices, and relationships of homelessness.

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