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Copyright (c) 2023 Elen Riot
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
My paper describes and interprets the life of people in the streets of Paris from March 2020 to April 2023. In the critical discourse analysis tradition, I contrast different perspectives to make sense of the situation: my observations from home and from the streets, the media coverage and official archives that deal with the ‘public problems’ of homelessness, migrants, Roma families, and the use of public space. I also compare different periods of time when the rules are different. I observe how the analyses of the situation vary depending on one’s perspective, on the period of time and on the importance of categories such as home and waste as references. One key question for me is how to use the notion of ‘being out of place’ for people who live in the street. To do so, I reflect on the role of words, pictures and images: they reflect what I see in situ when I take the pictures but most of the pictures, I am shown tend to illustrate categories rather than situations. I reflect on the fact that what I see is not what I am shown and how it affects my relations with people who live in the street.