chapter  2
26 Pages

Young homeless women and the neoliberal subject

ByJuliet Watson

This chapter examines the sociopolitical context of neoliberalism in which young homeless women negotiate their intimate relationships and the dominant discourses that have emerged from these conditions, through which their subjectivities are produced. The discourses discussed – and contested – here are: youth transitions; individualisation; and postfeminism. It is argued that these discourses fail to account for the structural factors that produce disadvantage and contribute to homelessness. The neoliberal emphasis on choice and responsibility positions young women as ‘at risk’; this is in binary opposition to the successful (and usually white) female neoliberal subject. However, young women’s engagement with dominant discourses is more complex, and their subjectivities more diverse, than this binary suggests.