chapter  1
20 Pages

Introduction

Youth homelessness, gender, and the significance of survival sex
ByJuliet Watson

This chapter charts the landscape of youth homelessness in post-industrial capitalist society. The high prevalence of young women experiencing homelessness demands new ways of theorising this phenomenon that highlight under-represented subjectivities and practices. A significant feature of young women’s experiences of homelessness is their engagement in intimate relationships as a way to manage the material disadvantage that is intrinsic to homelessness – a practice that is commonly described as survival sex. The framework of survival sex needs to be expanded, however, beyond the material aspects in order to understand the diversity of intimate relationships that are being undertaken and negotiated by young women within a context of homelessness.