Helter-Shelter: Security, Legality, and an Ethic of Care in an Emergency Shelter
Published: September 2017© 2017
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 288 Pages
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
288 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.50 in
Helter-Shelter is an ethnographic account of the manner in which an emergency shelter is governed on a daily basis, from the perspective of the personnel who are employed and tasked with providing care.
Prashan Ranasinghe focuses on how the founding ethos of the shelter, an ethic of care, is conceptualized and practiced by examining its successes and failures. Ranasinghe reveals how this logic is diluted and adulterated because of two other important logics, security and legality, which, working alongside, take precedence and trump the import of care. The care that is deployed is heavily legalized and securitized and it is also administered inconsistently and idiosyncratically. As a result, disorder and confusion pervade the shelter.
Helter-Shelter offers a unique perspective on the delivery of care, and how this laudable intention faces such daunting challenges.
List of Figures (Illustrations)
2. Locating the Shelter, Locating an Ethic of Care
3. An Inside (and, Closer) Look at the Shelter: Spatial Tactics and the Aesthetics of an Ethic of Care
4. From the Mundane to the Chaotic: The (Un)Making of an Ethic of Care
5. The Securitization of an Ethic of Care and the Administration of Chaos
6. Gendered Security and a Gendered Ethic of Care
7. The Logic of Legality and Administration of Chaos
8. From the Laughable to the Ridiculous: The Example of ‘Zero-Tolerance’
"Helter-Shelter is superbly written. Prashan Ranasinghe shows an adept ability to synthesize and offer clarity to an oft-complex literature and set of frameworks. It is not easy to make sense of Lefebvre, Jamieson, and Bachelard, and Ranasinghe accomplishes the delicate balance between clarity while retaining the nuances offered by these authors. Ranasinghe beautifully manages to weave these and other authors on space into his analysis of the ethic of care without the reader feeling like they have been hit over the head."Dale Spencer, Department of Law and Legal Studies, Carleton University
"Ranasinghe contributes significantly to the conversation regarding the disorder, chaos and dysfunction faced by those working ‘in the field.’ The reader will leave Helter-Shelter feeling charged and, dare I say, more hopeful."Dr. Rae Bridgman, Department of City Planning, University of Manitoba
- Short-listed - Canadian Law and Society Association Book Prize