Coffee Hour: Neoliberalizing social services: alternate geographies of street kids and social workers

Friday, November 9, 2012 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
Refreshments are offered at 3:30 in the E. Willard Miller seminar room, 319 Walker Building. The lecture begins at 4:00 p.m. in the John J. Cahir Auditorium, 112 Walker Building.

Neoliberalizing social services: alternate geographies of street kids and social workers
Street outreach workers comb public places such as parks, vacant lots, and abandoned
waterfronts to search for young people who are living out in public spaces, if not always in
the public eye. I argue that the enforcement of quality of life ordinances in New York City
has spurred hyper-mobility amongst the city's street youth population and has serious
implications for social work with homeless youth. Youth in motion have become socially
invisible and marginalized from public spaces where social workers traditionally contact
them, jeopardizing their access to the already limited opportunities to escape street life.

The culmination of a multi-year ethnographic investigation into the lives of street outreach
workers and 'their kids' on the streets of New York City, this work illustrates the critical role
that public space regulations and policing play in shaping the experience of youth homelessness
and the effectiveness of street outreach. The book is called
Street Kids: Homeless Youth, Outreach and Policing New York's Streets


gibsonKristina E. Gibson (B.S. '97, M.S. '02) is an assistant professor in residence of geography, and 
the Urban and Community Studies Program at the University of Connecticut, Waterbury.
Her research interests include critical youth studies, public space, and social justice. She teaches
courses in urban geography, urban disasters, social theory and critical social issues.