Cast Out: Vagrancy and Homelessness in Global and Historical Perspective

Front Cover
A. L. Beier, Paul Ocobock, Paul Robert Ocobock
Ohio University Press, 2008 - Business & Economics - 396 pages

Throughout history, those arrested for vagrancy have generally been poor men and women, often young, able-bodied, unemployed, and homeless. Most histories of vagrancy have focused on the European and American experiences. Cast Out: Vagrancy and Homelessness in Global and Historical Perspective is the first book to consider the shared global heritage of vagrancy laws, homelessness, and the historical processes they accompanied.

In this ambitious collection, vagrancy and homelessness are used to examine a vast array of phenomena, from the migration of labor to social and governmental responses to poverty through charity, welfare, and prosecution. The essays in Cast Out represent the best scholarship on these subjects and include discussions of the lives of the underclass, strategies for surviving and escaping poverty, the criminalization of poverty by the state, the rise of welfare and development programs, the relationship between imperial powers and colonized peoples, and the struggle to achieve independence after colonial rule. By juxtaposing these histories, the authors explore vagrancy as a common response to poverty, labor dislocation, and changing social norms, as well as how this strategy changed over time and adapted to regional peculiarities.

Part of a growing literature on world history, Cast Out offers fresh perspectives and new research in fields that have yet to fully investigate vagrancy and homelessness. This book by leading scholars in the field is for policy makers, as well as for courses on poverty, homelessness, and world history.


Richard B. Allen

David Arnold

A. L. Beier

Andrew Burton

Vincent DiGirolamo

Andrew A. Gentes

Robert Gordon

Frank Tobias Higbie

Thomas H. Holloway

Abby Margolis

Paul Ocobock

Aminda M. Smith

Linda Woodbridge


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


A New Serfdom
The Neglected Soldier as Vagrant Revenger Tyrant Slayer in Early Modern England
Takin It to the Streets
Vagrant India
Vagrancy in Mauritius and the NineteenthCentury Colonial Plantation World
Doing Favors for Street People
Vagabondage and Siberia
Tramps in the Making
The Travelling Native
Thought Reform
Imposing Vagrancy Legislation in Contemporary Papua New Guinea
Subversive Accommodations
Select Bibliography

Between Romance and Degradation

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

A. L. Beier is a professor of history and department chair at Illinois State University. He is author of Masterless Men: The Vagrancy problem in England, 1560-1640 and co-editor of London, 1500-1700: The Making of the Metropolis

Paul Ocobock is currently a PhD student in the History Department at Princeton University.