Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

David Dickens

Second Committee Member

Simon Gottschalk

Number of Pages



Most recent research on homeless men (1) uses quantitative methods, (2) frequently blames homeless men for being homeless, and (3) does not consider the different meanings different groups assign to homelessness. These studies cannot address (1) the usefulness of other methods in studying homelessness, (2) what other factors beyond personal problems may contribute to homelessness, and (3) how different groups in different locales view the condition; In this dissertation I use qualitative methods first to think about the popular meanings of male homelessness in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the late 1990s, and second, to consider the meanings that local homeless men attribute to their condition. To first determine the popular meanings of male homelessness locally, I (1) describe traditional U.S. values and how these greatly inform the perception of homelessness, and (2) analyse the content of several local newspaper stories, other documents, and the statements of non-homeless persons on homelessness. To consider the meanings that local homeless men attribute to their condition, I conduct an ethnography of homeless men in Las Vegas. My methods for this ethnography include: in-depth interviews with several homeless men and homeless service providers; participant-observation with homeless men; descriptions of the physical areas these men occupy in various Las Vegas sites; descriptions of the larger cultural setting that informs the men's outlook on homelessness; and an analysis of the diary of one homeless man; Through this research, I hope to undermine stereotypes about homelessness, and to provide information on homelessness from homeless men. This research can then inform social policy in ways that less empathetic research has not.


Ethnography; Homeless; Homelessness; Las Vegas; Men; Nevada; Vegas

Controlled Subject

Social psychology; Ethnology; Public policy

File Format


File Size

6727.68 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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