March 11, 2015

Engaging the Homeless Through New Media

Suzanne Bouclin, University of Ottawa Common Law Section, has published Homeless Nation: Producing Legal Subjectivities Through New Media as Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2015-10. Here is the abstract.

This book chapter describes “Homeless Nation” [HN], a Montreal-based non-profit organization dedicated to “democratizing technology” throughout Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. The overarching goal of Homeless Nation is to facilitate the street community’s ability to “tell their stories and have their voices heard” through written, audio, and video testimonials.

Its primary vehicle for doing so is a website that has been designed ‘for and by the street community’. In step with new user-friendly medial (file-sharing, portable cinematographic equipment, camera-ready phones, and new exposition venues such as YouTube), HN has, since 2003, provided access to interactive communication technologies (e-mail, blogging) and training in new media technologies (digital cameras, sound equipment, and editing software) to its members. The organization boasts more than six thousand users and one hundred guests (or “members”). Street-involved people who use the HN social media write poetry, post information about rallies, and suggest appropriate shelter or other survival strategies such as how to cash a check without identification and how to pass a driver’s test. Contributors provide “life updates” and also express political views such as critiquing cuts to social programs.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

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