Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

You are here Courses > Undergraduate > Bachelor in Sociology & Social Policy

Youth and Society/Responding to Homelessness: Irish and International Experiences

Module Code: SSU33102 (Old Code SS3402)

Module Name: Youth and Society/Responding to Homelessness: Irish and International Experiences

  • ECTS Weighting: 10
  • Semester/ Term Taught: Michaelmas and Hilary Term
  • Contact: Michaelmas Term 1 x 2 hours lecture. Hilary Term 2 x 1 hour Lecture
  • Module Personnel: Dr. Paula Mayock and Professor Eoin O'Sullivan

Michaelmas Term - Responding to Homelessness: Irish and International Experiences (5 credits)

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  1. Understand the contemporary drivers and demographics of homelessness.
  2. Understand the different theoretical frameworks that aim to explain homelessness.
  3. Assess the role of emergency accommodation in responding to homelessness.
  4. Evaluate the impact of different models of intervention with people experiencing homelessness.
  5. Be familiar with policy and practice responses to homelessness in Ireland.
Analyse contemporary journal articles in homelessness studies.

Module Overview and Content

The number of people experiencing homelessness is rising in the majority of advanced western economies.  Responses to these rising numbers are variable across these countries, but broadly include elements of congregate emergency accommodation, long-term supported accommodation, survivalist services such as the provision of soup and blankets, and degrees of coercion. Attempts to prevent homelessness from occurring in the first instance have gained prominence in some policy responses. There are some examples where homelessness has decreased such as in Finland, or in relation to veteran’s homelessness in the USA, but these are the exceptions rather than rule. The rise in the number of people experiencing homelessness can be seen in a particularly dramatic fashion in Ireland, with the number of adults in emergency accommodation increasing by 160 percent between 2014 and 2019.

Using Ireland as a case study, but situating the Irish experience in a comparative context, this module will provide an accessible account of the contemporary drivers and demographics of homelessness, in particular the feminization of homelessness; the range of possible policy responses availed of and, equally importantly, not availed; the impact of research evidence and data on policy and practice responses; the role of social media and new civil society organisations in constructing contradictory public images of homelessness; and why, despite increased policy prominence and provision, homelessness continues to rise

Hilary Term - Youth and Society (5 credits)

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this section students will:

  • Have knowledge and understanding of the ways in which ‘youth’ and ‘adolescence’ have been conceptualised over time.
  • Be able to identify key concepts and themes that are relevant to understanding the multiple and diverse aspects of youth and youth experience.
  • Have the knowledge to critically assess popular discourses and dominant debates on young people.
  • Understand how social inequalities impact the life experiences and life chances of young people in general and marginalised youth, in particular.

Module Overview and Content

This section of the module is inter-disciplinary and will draw upon research linked to Youth Studies, Sociology, Criminology, Psychology and Social Policy. The core aim is to provide students with an in-depth, research-based understanding of youth, adolescence, and emerging adulthood. The course will focus on key theoretical approaches to understanding youth in society and will consider a range of substantive issues and areas within contemporary research on both ‘mainstream’ and ‘marginalised’ youth, but with a strong emphasis on youth ‘at risk’, including homeless youth, young people with care experience, and young people who use drugs. Varying approaches to the study of youth will be examined/reviewed and we will explore how social and economic forces influence the lives and experiences of young people generally and marginalised youth in particular.

The aim of this section of the module is

  • To enable students to identify the theoretical constructs that have been used to conceptualise and understand ‘youth’ across time.
  • To critically analyse the impact of social context, social diversity and inequality on the lives and experiences of young people.
  • To highlight challenges faced by young people due to structural inequalities within contemporary society, particularly during the transition from ‘child’ to ‘adult’, with specific attention to the situations and experiences of homeless youth, young drug users and young people in and leaving the care system.
  • To consider how governments, and Irish social policy in particular, have conceptualised and responded to the lived experience and needs of both mainstream and marginalised young people.

Recommended Reading List

  • Furlong, A. (2013) Youth Studies: An Introduction. Abingdon: Routledge. Shelfmark: PL-571-883
  • France, A. (2007) Understanding Youth in Late Modernity. Basingstoke: Palgrave Shelfmark: 301.43 P793
  • Cieslik, M. & Simpson, D. (2013) Key Concepts in Youth Studies. London: Sage  Shelfmark: HL-359-258 (Berkeley Basement); PB-251-813 (Santry Stacks)
  • Lalor, K., deRoiste, A. & Devlin, M. (2007) Young People in Contemporary Ireland. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. Shelfmark: LEN 301.43P72

Assessment Details

This course will be assessed by:

Group Project worth 15% of overall module mark to be submitted in Michaelmas Term

One 2,500 word essay worth 35% of the overall module mark to be submitted at the end of Michaelmas Term

Hilary Term 3,000 word assignment worth 50% of the overall module mark

A penalty of 10% will be applied to students who submit essays late without an authorised extension.