Master of Arts (MA)
In this thesis, I present multidisciplinary research applicable to deceased unhoused individuals in urban San José, California. I present the problem of homelessness through a “hybrid collectif,” a conceptual framework that encompasses the factors that drive homelessness in life and death. I use taphonomic methodology to examine the problem of homelessness in this urban region by experimentation with porcine carcasses in simulated death scenarios. I utilize total body score (TBS), accumulated degree days (ADD), and predictive entomological species identification to examine decomposition trends. I also introduce “human survival scavenging” as an agent of decomposition, provide an account of ecological succession in this environment, and present a taphonomic index compatible in real-world death investigation of unhoused decedents. Through this report, I encourage researchers to consider the representation of impoverished communities in dense urban geographies and to recognize the value in doing so when conducting multidisciplinary decomposition studies.
Angst, Chloë, "Homelessness and Taphonomy: A Multidisciplinary Study" (2023). Master's Theses. 5391.