Student Research Day Abstracts and Posters

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 12-6-2017

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Lisa Leitz

Abstract

While the stereotyping of homeless has been the topic of numerous studies, stereotyping theory has rarely been used to examine the actions of the advocates and policymakers that surround the issue of homelessness. This study not only fills this gap, but even examines how stereotyping impacts advocates’ plans to mobilize and their overall goals. In 2017, homelessness became the top concern for residents in Orange County. At the start of February 2017, the Orange County government began a public works project that required the homeless people who were living in the Santa Ana riverbed to evacuate the area and relocate somewhere else. Since then, the amount of action taken by both policymakers and advocacy groups has increased over the following months. To examine these actions I used content analysis of public meetings and individual interviews to delve into the advocate's perception of the powerholders, themselves, and the homeless population they were attempting to serve. I found that advocates negatively stereotyped those who they perceived to be their ‘opponents’. Our research suggests that advocates’ negative view of powerholder actions lead to higher levels of suspicion, distrust, and rejection of said actions. Additionally, as stereotyping theory suggests, advocates’ use of stereotypes increases the cohesion in the activist group and promotes their own verison of solutions for homelessness, painting themselves as the morally superior party in relation to others.

Comments

Presented at the Fall 2017 Student Research Day at Chapman University.

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