Call For Papers!

The Dynamics of Homelessness: Trajectories and Policies
When Nov 01, 2019 08:00 AM to
Nov 30, 2019 05:00 PM
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Proposal Deadline: November 30, 2019


Barrett Lee, Dennis Culhane, and Marybeth Shinn are co-editing a volume of The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science entitled The Dynamics of Homelessness: Trajectories and Policies. More details about this volume are provided in the following paragraphs. Our hope is that, after reading on, you will decide to submit a brief proposal for us to consider.

The conceptual framework guiding the volume treats homelessness as a fluid status that results from contingent, multilevel influences. In particular, we are interested in papers that examine how the trajectories that people follow into, through, and out of homelessness are shaped by micro or individual circumstances (e.g., childhood neglect, health issues, domestic violence, loss of a job or spouse, social isolation), macro or structural forces (e.g., economic downturns, an affordable housing shortage, racism, mass incarceration, demographic trends, natural disasters), and the interactions between these two sets of factors. Our trajectory-oriented perspective also lends itself well to evaluations of programs or interventions designed to prevent the onset of a homeless spell, shorten that spell, or end it. Thus, another goal of the volume will be to bring recent evidence to bear on the question of which policies benefit different segments of the homeless population and under what conditions these impacts are greatest.

We encourage the development of state-of-the-art substantive papers generally consistent with the framework outlined above. Contributors are sought who span a range of disciplines and comprise not only high-profile senior researchers but younger emerging scholars. Innovative methods—quantitative, qualitative, or mixed—are welcome, as are diverse theoretical orientations. The longstanding mission of The Annals must be kept in mind, which is to promote the use of the social sciences for informing public opinion and improving public policy. To fulfill that mission, authors should highlight the policy implications of their work and write in a clear, concise manner accessible to a broad audience.

If you would like to contribute to the volume, please email a 2-3 page proposal to Barry Lee at no later than November 30, 2019. The proposal should describe your main research questions, their significance, and how you will address them. After the co-editors have completed our initial round of evaluations by mid-December, authors of 15 of the proposals will be asked to complete full paper drafts for presentation at a small conference in late May of 2020 at the University of Pennsylvania. Authors will then receive reviews from a co-editor and other conference participants, submitting revised versions of their papers by the end of August 2020. Our volume of The Annals is scheduled for publication in early 2021.

Inquiries about the volume can be directed to Barry, Dennis, or Beth (see contact info below). We look forward to receiving your contribution to what promises to be a cutting-edge, multidisciplinary look at how the micro- and macro-level dynamics of homelessness are manifested in heterogeneous trajectories and policy responses.


Barrett Lee

Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Demography

The Pennsylvania State University



Dennis Culhane

Dana and Andrew Stone Chair and Professor of Social Policy

University of Pennsylvania


Marybeth Shinn

Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair and Professor of Human and Organizational Development

Vanderbilt University