Negotiating spaces of care: geographies of survival and zones of encounter

October 26, 2013  • Posted in Member Projects  •  0 Comments

Christiana Miewald, Simon Fraser University
Eugene McCann, Simon Fraser University

Our project focuses on relational constructions of poverty in low-income spaces of care within the Downtown Eastside neighborhood of Vancouver, BC. We view spaces of care as (often institutionalized) zones of encounter between low- and middle-income people where “class (and other) differences are (re)negotiated in the context of “… history, material conditions and power”” (Lawson & Elwood, 2013 quoting Valentine, 2008: 333). In them, poor and middle class people co-produce geographies of survival, whether by re-enforcing behavioral norms or re-visioning what survival means.

The two spaces of care that comprise our research are: (1) legalized drug consumption rooms, needle exchanges, and other places that operate under a ‘harm reduction’ model and provide care to street-involved drug users and (2) charitable food providers, community kitchens, and other sites of food production and consumption spaces for low-income people. The connecting themes between the two topics are care and consumption. We are interested in how encounters between classes occur in and produce these spaces and their attendant geographies of survival.

Contact: Christiana –, Eugene –

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