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Power, discursive space and institutional practices in the construction of housing problems


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Jacobs, K, Kemeny, J and Manzi, T 2003 , 'Power, discursive space and institutional practices in the construction of housing problems' , Housing Studies, vol. 18, no. 4 , pp. 429-446 , doi: 10.1080/02673030304252.

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A constructionist approach to the study of social problems and housing
policy provides a theoretically informed means of analysing the ways in which housing policy is formulated and implemented. Yet despite a strong commitment by housingresearchers to policy relevance, constructionist studies of how specific social problems are generated and deployed have so far made only a limited impact on housing research. Thepaper addresses this lacuna by first discussing important literature and the keyconceptual issues in this field of study. This is followed by a discussion of two examplesfrom recent UK housing policy (the shift in the 1980s from defining lone mothers as thevictims of housing shortages to a morally questionable group subverting needs-basedallocation policies and the re-emergence of anti-social behaviour as a problem on housingestates). The paper’s conclusion is that the ‘construction of problems’ provides a rich
source of new material as well as offering significant opportunities to develop a morecritically informed housing research agenda.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Jacobs, K and Kemeny, J and Manzi, T
Keywords: social problems, housing, power, discourse, institutional practice
Journal or Publication Title: Housing Studies
ISSN: 0267-3037
DOI / ID Number: 10.1080/02673030304252
Additional Information:

"Copyright 2003 Taylor & Francis. Reproduced in accordance with the publishers policy. The definitive published version is available online at:

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