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Stable Conflict in the San Francisco Homeless Policy Field

Abstract

This article combines network analysis and cognitive frame analysis to explain the institutionalization of homeless politics in San Francisco into a stasis of organized stable conflict. The persistence of stable conflict within the San Francisco homeless policy field brings into question the widespread notion within sociology that the stable ordering of a social field or institutional arena emerges when a group of incumbents or elites comes to dominate that arena and impose their conception of the world onto it. The San Francisco homeless policy field shows that even in the absence of a dominant organizing conception of the world, stable order within an institutional arena can still be achieved through a complex equilibrium of ideas, relationships, power, and resources.

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