Salud Callejera: Mobilizing Cuidado at the Margins of Neoliberalism; Reimagining Care for People Experiencing Homelessness in Buenos Aires
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On any given night, thousands of individuals sleep on the streets of the Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires. Without secure housing, people in situación de calle (experiencing homelessness) suffer elevated rates of physical trauma, transmissible and chronic diseases, and symptoms of depression. Nevertheless, two-thirds of this population do not receive annual health consultations, with the majority solely accessing the emergency department when their conditions severely worsen. This study finds that municipal services and, to a lesser extent, the public health system render individuals responsible for housing insecurity by adopting a neoliberal subjectivity of homo economicus, medicalizing poverty as a symptom of psychosocial illness potentially curable through economic and social rehabilitation. Those who do not conform with such pathologization or other employment-based demands confront heightened criminalization and exclusion from care services. As an alternative response, this project investigates the actions of civil society networks, which employ a contrary notion of homo politicus, reimagining care as a collective right and site of political mobilization. This thesis draws upon interviews with people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, members of civil society organizations, public health providers, and municipal social workers, as well as observations from street-outreach.