chapter  7
21 Pages

Constructing authentic selves

ByJuliet Watson

This chapter discusses how young homeless women construct narratives of choice as a strategy to occupy more secure subject positions with regard to their intimate relationships. The empirical research undertaken with young homeless women establishes that those who present narratives in which they are consistently positioned as authentic and active agents, despite their marginalisation, demonstrate the most self-assurance and well-being. These narratives reflect an implicit affiliation with societal expectations of young women as neoliberal subjects, whereby there is a sense of taking responsibility for managing both homelessness and their intimate relationships. The narratives of choice constructed by young homeless women that are discussed here are: remaining single; leaving an abusive intimate relationship; and engaging in an intimate relationship that is mutually supportive and non-abusive.