I am working part-time in a shelter for the homeless myself, and I have
often found that in the process of re-integrating these people into society
not only social workers and such are trying to make them more normal than
the normal people, but that it is the homless people themselves who are
yearning to be part of normality.
And what´s so bad about normality anyway ? If being normal means to have a
place to go to, regular meals and showers, a steady job and a perspective in
your life, most homeless people certainly wouldn´t mind giving up a few other
things in order to get there.
Normalization does not only mean suppression but also subjection - with all
neagive and positive connotations the word brings to mind.
In the process of normalization one becomes subject to power, is subjected -
but also becomes (within the borders of power) autonomous and takes part in
Just think of the Homosexual Rights Movement - for a long time, LesBiGay
people wanted to become normal, to be viewed as normal i.e. to become subjects
that matter and to take part in the workings of power, and so had to make
themselves visible, to shape a distinctive group, to become sociologically
analyzable.One can hardly blame them for "losing subversive potential on the way"
in my opinion.
Any study concerning marginalized groups would have to take into
consideration that game of subjection and the two sides of the subject, i think - that
oscilating between gaining rights and power and losing...other things.
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