Making Sense of NIMBY poverty, power and community opposition to homeless shelters



Local citizens mobilizing in opposition to the presence of homeless people and services is increasingly common in communities across the United States. Such "'not in my backyard" politics have often been understood as resulting from prejudice, bigotry, or misguided understandings. I argue for an analysis of these social movements through considering how particular strategies and practices come to seem "natural" to social actors while other possibilities are effaced. Analyzing these ''common sense" reactions thus must entail examining the interplay between discursively made representations of homeless people and historical, class, and power dynamics that impact on people within particular communities. [Ethnography, homelessness, inequality, NIMBY, Massachusetts]