Open Access Repository

‘Problem families’ in public housing: discourse, commentary and (dis)order

Flanagan, K ORCID: 0000-0002-5585-2871 2017 , '‘Problem families’ in public housing: discourse, commentary and (dis)order' , Housing Studies , pp. 1-24 , doi:

Full text not available from this repository.


This article contributes to a chain of literature extending back to the late nineteenth century on the ‘problem family’, particularly when encountered by housing providers as the ‘problem’ tenant. Using archival evidence of the techniques employed by one social housing provider in the mid-1970s to identify a definitive solution to the challenges posed by ‘problem’ households, I trace the patterns and practices in ‘problem family’ discourse more broadly, and their intersection with those of other discursive fields, particularly eugenics and social work. I show how attempts to define, identify and design models of rehabilitation for ‘problem families’ can be understood as forms of a discursive strategy which Foucault identified as ‘commentary’, and argue that such commentary remains intrinsic to welfare state efforts to tackle entrenched disadvantage.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Flanagan, K
Keywords: Social housing, welfare state, problem families, discourse, eugenics
Journal or Publication Title: Housing Studies
Publisher: Carfax Publishing
ISSN: 0267-3037
DOI / ID Number:
Copyright Information:

© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Related URLs:
Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page