Entanglements of faith: Discourses, practices of care and homeless people in an Italian City of Saints

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Lancione, Michele 

This paper investigates how Catholic-inspired services for homeless people are delivered in Turin, Italy. The purpose is to critically interrogate particular faith-based organisations’ moral discourses on homelessness, and to show how they are enacted through practices of care directed at the homeless subject. The paper contributes to the geographical literature on faith-based organisations addressing its shortcomings – namely the lack of critical and contextual focus on faith-based organisations’ ‘love for the poor’. To address this point, the paper takes a vitalist perspective on the urban and introduces the notion of the ‘entanglements of faith’, which allows an integrated and grounded perspective on faith-based organisations’ interventions. The outcomes of the work suggest that these faith-based organisations propose standardised services that, producing particular assemblages and affective atmospheres, have deep emotional and relational effects on their recipients. Further lines of research are sketched in the conclusions.


This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from SAGE via http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0042098013514620

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Urban Studies
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