Date of Award

December 2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Don Mitchell


Encampments, Homelessness, Lefebvre, Neoliberalism, Resistance, Right to the city

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Through interviews, archival research, and fieldwork conducted in Fresno, California, this research explores how and why officials spatially control homeless communities, and how homeless people have resisted these controls. Drawing from the theories of Henri Lefebvre, I argue that encampments in Fresno enabled homeless people to assert their right to the city, and challenged the production of urban capitalist space by defying the norms of profit, surveillance, and homogeneity. Part One of the thesis focuses on the relationship between city's effort to destroy the encampments and its need to attract investment; Part Two focuses on the assignment of homeless individuals to secluded and highly governed spaces; and Part Three focuses on stigma as a product of homogenous urban space. Each section highlights the ways in which homeless people have resisted official policies and representations.


Open Access