Date of Award

Fall 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Sociology/Criminal Justice

Committee Director

Ruth A. Triplett

Committee Member

Randolph R. Myers

Committee Member

Travis Linneman


There has been a resurgence of political and media interest in homelessness, particularly in major urban areas throughout the United States. This interest is credited to a number of cities that declared a State of Emergency (SOE) due to their homelessness crisis in 2015. The motivation to declare homelessness as an urgent priority of local politics assists cities in temporarily overcoming longstanding budget and bureaucratic barriers. Undoubtedly, the criminal justice system is part of social response following a declared SOE, and homelessness is not an exception. Little attention has explored the historical, social, and political processes of problematizing homelessness from a criminological perspective. Drawing on theoretical insight from David Garland, Jonathan Simon, and Loïc Wacquant, the politics of homelessness and crime found in New York City (NYC) is interrogated through discourses in the New York Times (NYT) from 1970-2012. This research examines how talk about homelessness responses creates, enacts, and enforces technologies of the criminal justice system. This study finds the politicization of homelessness over time produces and legitimates increased controls and management of marginalized groups, where state authorities are experts, and the boundaries of care and criminalization are blurred. This study has implications for the management of homelessness and policies that further socially exclude the homeless from overcoming such conditions.





Included in

Criminology Commons