Homelessness, wirelessness, and (in)visibility: Critical reflections on the Homeless Hotspots Project and the ensuing online discourse

Jes A. Koepfler, Christopher Mascaro, Paul T. Jaeger


This paper provides a critical reflection on the Homeless Hotspots Project which was unveiled during the 2012 South by Southwest Festival held annually in Austin, Texas in the U.S. The corpus comprised 28 news articles and 1,896 tweets about Homeless Hotspots posted from the launch of the project on 6 March through the height of the debate which diminished by 31 March 2012. Using critical discourse analysis, this paper considers four perspectives that emerged from the data: the social innovator perspective, the technical digerati perspective, the social service organization perspective, and the participant perspective. The paper applies the critical lens of (in)visibility to these perspectives to examine the utopian and dystopian views of the dichotomous infrastructures of homelessness and wirelessness that were brought together and brought to public attention by the Homeless Hotspots Project.


ethics; values; ICTs; Homeless Hotspots; homelessness; wirelessness

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v19i3.4846

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