Young Women, Homelessness and Social Justice
In this paper, we focus on the role that social exclusion and the accompanying stigma plays in furthering the disadvantage for young homeless women and the barriers it creates in their struggle to overcome their marginalised circumstances. We do this, firstly, by analysing the interconnectivity between subjectivity and neoliberalism, and how expectations of smooth transitions to adulthood and postfeminist views of young women impact on experiences of homelessness. And secondly, we conceptualise this problematic dynamic through the work of feminist and political philosopher Iris Marion Young. In particular, we examine Young’s critique of the reification of distributive justice as the dominant paradigm in social justice as well as her critique of impartiality and normalization in the construction of a social reality. We propose that a more socially just approach to homelessness needs to contest the associated stigma and look for solutions in plural notions of social justice that include issues of empowerment, self-respect and self-determination.