The Use of Turning Points in Understanding Homelessness Transitions: A Critical Social Psychological Perspective

Viv Burr, Alex Bridger, Sara Eastburn, Philip Brown, Peter Somerville, Gareth Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We argue for use of the narrative concept of the “turning point” in homelessness research from a critical social psychology perspective.


Turning points are often understood as rifts in the life course followed by significant change in direction. However, within narrative theory they are not events but subjectively significant features of the person’s life-story.

The turning point as narrative tool:

The analysis identified how turning points were deployed by participants in a study of homelessness experiences. Participants used the turning point in constructing themselves as agentic, reformed individuals who had gained insight. However, this did not necessarily bring positive life changes. Data extracts are used to illustrate the power of adopting a constructivist, narrative theoretical orientation in understanding turning points in accounts of homelessness.

Implications for practice:

Viewing turning points in this way may help us understand how best to provide support for people without housing.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalHousing, Theory and Society
Early online date4 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Apr 2024

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