Invited lecture in Berlin: From Exclusion to Expulsion
I was invited to present at The Think and Drink Series is presented by the Georg-Simmel-Center for Metropolitan Studies @ HU Berlin. I am going to present the paper "From Exclusion to Expulsion: The Emergence and Development of Homelessness in Post-Socialist Czechia". You may find more info here: https://www.sowi.hu-berlin.de/en/lehrbereiche-en/stadtsoz-en/think_drink/Dateien/wise18_19-_en/from-exclusion-to-expulsion.
Homelessness is a relatively new phenomenon in post-socialist cities. Whereas it did exist under the communist regime, it fully manifested itself in Czech cities with the fall of the Iron Curtain, the democratisation of society and the early 90s integration in the global economy. Since then, the dominant narrative about homelessness has been that it represents a result of individual and/or societal causes and homeless people are socially (spatially) excluded. The goal of the paper is to explore the emergence and development of homelessness in post-socialist Czechia. In the paper, I argue that contemporary Czech homelessness is not a form of exclusion but – referencing Saskia Sassen – rather expulsion. In doing so, I first examine it in the framework of Peter Marcuse’s political-economic analysis, as emerging at the intersection of unequal distribution of income, conservative (neoliberal) political reforms and gentrification. Then I move beyond the political-economic approach and demonstrate how homelessness in post-socialist Czechia materialises through a complex assemblage of not only political-economic processes such as transformation or globalisation, but also the specific accompanying dynamics and logics based on the cultural, institutional or affective conditions typical of Czech cities and society in general. Taken together, the paper seeks to better understand the particularities of homelessness in the post-socialist context and beyond.