Political Economies Come Home: On the Political Economies of Housing

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Abstract

Struggles over housing are one of the most pressing social, economic and political issues of our time. Yet questions over access to, plus the redistribution and maintenance of secure housing have only recently begun to be considered anthropologically. Drawing on E.P. Thompson’s concept of moral economy, this special issue addresses these questions and considers how contemporary moral economies of housing play out. Citizens try to make their demands for adequate and safe housing heard, but such aspirations are often undermined by, political rhetoric, state officials, loan terms and the law. People claim allegiances to particular moral communities, thus (re)constituting themselves as deserving of secure tenure and proper homes, often in the face of stigma, laws or policies that construct them as the very reverse. By placing fine-grained ethnographic analysis in conversation with the political economy of housing, we redefine housing as an essentially contested domain where competing understandings of citizenship are constructed, fought over and acted out.
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Struggles over housing are one of the most pressing social, economic and political issues of our time. Yet questions over access to, plus the redistribution and maintenance of secure housing have only recently begun to be considered anthropologically. Drawing on E.P. Thompson’s concept of moral economy, this special issue addresses these questions and considers how contemporary moral economies of housing play out. Citizens try to make their demands for adequate and safe housing heard, but such aspirations are often undermined by, political rhetoric, state officials, loan terms and the law. People claim allegiances to particular moral communities, thus (re)constituting themselves as deserving of secure tenure and proper homes, often in the face of stigma, laws or policies that construct them as the very reverse. By placing fine-grained ethnographic analysis in conversation with the political economy of housing, we redefine housing as an essentially contested domain where competing understandings of citizenship are constructed, fought over and acted out.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritique of Anthropology
Volume38
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)121-139
Number of pages13
ISSN0308-275X
DOI
StatePublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

    Research areas

  • Moral economy, housing, security, state, third sector, financialisation, austerity

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