Lost in Space: The Criminalization, Globalization, and Urban Ecology of Homelessness

Lost in Space: The Criminalization, Globalization, and Urban Ecology of Homelessness
Randall Amster
July 2008

ISBN-13:  978-1-59332-297-7 / Paperback
Dimensions:  5.5 x 8.5 / xiv, 270 pages

Price   $32.95

"An unabashedly partisan piece of action research, a highly-theorized account of seemingly-mundane tussles over small patches of space, and a local case study which continually bursts its bounds, insisting on the national, even global significance of its subject.....a fascinating insight into the extent to which previously commonsense notions about urban public space have disappeared in the suburban era." -- Contemporary Sociology
"Amster interlaces heady sociopolitical constructs with humor and engaging personal narrative--he's a damned good story teller--in recounting his decade-long engagement with the urban homeless." -- Transitions
"A resource guide for anyone doing work--activist or research--on the spatial issues of control and power, as exemplified through the issue of homelessness." -- Antipode


Amster explores the historical and contemporary implications of homelessness both as a social and spatial problem, drawing upon academic disciplines and policy concerns ranging from urban geography to legal advocacy. Homeless people often find themselves on the front lines of a struggle to preserve places that are theoretically open to everyone regardless of status. Urban spaces in particular manifest a complex and dynamic ecology comprised of people, culture, architecture, technology, and the natural environment, often expressed through concrete processes such as gentrification, redevelopment, and privatization. In light of these processes, homeless people are criminalized for performing basic life-sustaining activities such as sitting or sleeping. These trends are evident in cities across the U.S. and internationally, indicating the necessity of linking local issues with wider forces of globalization.

About the Author

Randall Amster holds a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School and a Ph.D. in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. He is the co-editor of Lives in the Balance: Perspectives on Global Injustice and Inequality (Brill 1997), and has published articles in journals including Social Justice, Peace Review, and Contemporary Justice Review.

Criminal Justice