Confined under the open sky: experiencing homelessness during a global pandemic

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic


In international human rights law, privacy and intimacy are basic rights. This is also true in German domestic law. However, these rights and the protections in place to prevent interference with them are affixed to an approach that takes for granted that the private sphere is separated from the public sphere by the walls of one's own home. Independent housing is thus intimately linked to safety and wellbeing; it provides the space to secure one’s most fundamental needs in life without intrusion or surveillance. At no moment has this become clearer than during the corona pandemic—where containment measures have focused on self-isolation. But what happens when one has no home of one’s own, no walls to protect oneself and others? In my talk I show how unhoused people— a group which belongs to those most radically unprotected and yet most severely affected by the ongoing pandemic—seek to redefine categorizations and invade institutions and their procedures in search for care and security and how those very institutions in turn navigate such attempts and develop supportive/counter mechanisms.
Period2 Feb 2021
Held atUniversity of Sussex, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionInternational