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Panic Rooms: The rise of defensive homeownership


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Atkinson, RG and Blandy, S 2007 , 'Panic Rooms: The rise of defensive homeownership' , Housing Studies, vol. 22, no. 4 , pp. 443-458 , doi: 10.1080/02673030701387580.

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This paper documents how and attempts to explain why homeowners have adopted an increasingly strategic approach to the defence of the home and the progressively vengeful pursuit of those who invade the home. This approach has been articulated via the political process as well as through a media ‘conversation’ that form a milieu within which defensive homeownership has emerged. It is suggested that a threshold has been crossed marking a transformative moment in which left-leaning calls for understanding have been supplanted by a call for the increasingly vicious defence of home territories. In a broader context of neo-liberalism the transition toward increased privatism, freedom of choice and unfettered agency now closely correspond to the position
of homeowners as ‘consumer sovereigns’. Defensive homeownership therefore appears not only as the aspiration of homeowners for safety but also as a result of a complex interrelationship between political, media and ideological systems that have generated strong impressions of risk and
victimisation. The paper documents the powerful socio-legal and political discourses which have reinforced territorial instincts while generating a broader culture of fear played out through celebrated cases in the public domain. In conclusion, it is argued that defensive homeownership
expresses an aggressive aspect of the socio-political constitution of that tenure and a broader need
for the deployment of cathartic public policies in defence of embattled home territories.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Atkinson, RG and Blandy, S
Keywords: Homeownership, socio-legal, neoliberalism, lethal defence, revenge/revanchism For a man’s house is his castle, et domus sua cuique est tutissimum refugium [and each man’s home his safest refuge]. (Lord Chief Justice Coke, 1644)
Journal or Publication Title: Housing Studies
ISSN: 0267-3037
DOI / ID Number: 10.1080/02673030701387580
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