Research

My research program is primarily concerned with rhetoric surrounding homelessness and poverty in the United States. I write about both how homeless is represented in pop culture and how it appears in public policy conversations. To conduct this research, I supplement traditional rhetorical analysis with qualitative methods like interviews and focus groups.
 
I am currently writing a book manuscript that is about the spread of the Housing First model for addressing homelessness. The book discusses public policy advocacy as a process of rhetorical circulation, examining what helps move ideas forward and what can cause them to stall in that process.
 
Other works in progress examine representations of homelessness in Hollywood film and responses of community members to Housing First programs.
I welcome opportunities for research collaboration related to rhetoric, homelessness and/or housing policy.
Publications

"Moving Beyond Validity in Rhetorical Studies." (forthcoming). Annals of the International Communication Association. co-authored with Emily Sauter and Daniel Cronn-Mills.

"Reconsidering Symbolic Use: A Situational Model of the Use of Research Evidence in Polarised Legislative Hearings." (2019). Evidence & Policy Vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 525-541. co-authored with Robert Asen.

"'Expensive' People: Consumer Citizenship and the Construction of Neoliberal Publics." (2018). Communication and the Public Vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 190-204.

"When Homelessness Becomes a 'Luxury': Neutrality as an Obstacle to Counterpublic Rights Claims." (2017). Quarterly Journal of Speech Vol. 103, no. 3, pp. 230-250.

“Tokenism and Cultural (Mis)Recognition in ‘The Man with the Golden Voice.’” (2017). Howard Journal of Communications Vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 217-233.

Book Reviews

Review of Homeless Advocacy and the Rhetorical Construction of the Civic Home by Melanie Loehwing. (2020). Quarterly Journal of Speech Vol. 106, no. 1.

Review of The Presidents and the Poor: America Battles Poverty, 1964-2017 by Lawrence J. McAndrews. (2019). The Journal of Interdisciplinary History Vol. 50, no. 2, pp. 301-302.

Review of Distant Publics: Development Rhetoric and the Subject of Crisis

by Jenny Rice. (2014). Rhetoric and Public Affairs Vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 358-361.

 

Review of Queer Youth Suicide, Culture and Identity: Unliveable Lives? by Rob Cover. (2014). QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking Vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 216-218.

Research Interests
  • How advocacy messages move through (and/or are obstructed in) public policymaking processes.
  • How local communities negotiate policy controversy via public deliberation.
  • Research use in advocacy and policymaking.
  • Popular media representations of homelessness and poverty.
  • The intersections of gender, sexuality, race, class, etc., in representations of homelessness.
  • Public sphere theory, deliberative theory, social movements + activist rhetoric, and more.

© 2019 by Whitney Gent