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Kim McKee Seminar Paper, 2011.  Exploratory qualitative study, US Seedcorn  Interviews with LCHO (shared equity/ownership) purchasers in the west of.

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Presentation on theme: "Kim McKee Seminar Paper, 2011.  Exploratory qualitative study, US Seedcorn  Interviews with LCHO (shared equity/ownership) purchasers in the west of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Kim McKee Seminar Paper, 2011

2  Exploratory qualitative study, US Seedcorn  Interviews with LCHO (shared equity/ownership) purchasers in the west of Scotland  Connect literature on the normalisation of h/ship to Foucauldian-inspired literature on ethopolitics  Focus on lay perspectives & how governable subjects can resist dominant policy norms 2

3 1. Theoretical imperatives for the study 2. Aims and methods of the study 3. Low Cost Homeownership Policy in Scotland 4. Empirical Findings 5. Conclusion 3

4  Governing as ‘conduct of ‘conduct’(Foucault 2003)  Power as productive; active agents governed through capacity to act  Rejects negative view of power derived from Hobbes (A exerting will over B)  Reconciling aims of ‘governable subjects’ with that of ‘the governors’ 4

5  Power’s effects can never be guaranteed; subjects recalcitrant  Foucault (2003) rejects the power/domination binary that has dominated the social sciences  Need to go beyond textual analysis to really understand contested nature governing practices  Combine DA with face-to-face qual methods 5

6  Rose’s (2000) ‘ethopolitics’: ◦ Constructed as ethical citizens able to self-regulate their own conduct ◦ Understood in terms of responsible conduct & acts of consumption (including housing)  Distinction between ‘good’ & ‘bad’ citizens:  Bauman (1998) flawed consumption  Active agency versus passive dependency 6

7  Well documented h/ship is ‘normalised’ as the ‘tenure of choice’ for the majority  Acts as a social signifier: “means through which the cultural competence and social position of the occupant can be expressed” (Allen 2007: 74)  H/ship promoted by gvt; whilst at the same time social housing marginalised (i.e. Cuts, LCHO) 7

8  Negative image linked to residualisation of social housing  In addition to structural inequalities, these areas suffer from negative perceptions & reputations  Focus on problem people, in problem places not new; long history in Urban Studies  Strong geographical & class dimension; focus on tenants within social housing estates 8

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11 “.... One must resist the tendency to treat the ghetto as an alien space, to see in it only what deviates from the common norm.... A rudimentary sociology of sociology would show that most descriptions of the ‘underclass’ reveal more about the relation of the analyst to the motley population it designates, about his or her racial and class preconceptions, fears and fantasies, than they do about their punitive object” (Wacquant 2008: 49-50). 11

12  Using ethopolitics, explore localised resistance to the ‘normalisation’ of h/ship  Focus on Low Cost Homeownership (LCHO) key; not one experience of h/ship but multiple  Intermediate housing market useful lens in which to explore my theoretical interests  Targets households in the SRS, who have direct experience of other tenures 12

13  Home o/ship largest tenure in Scotland (65%), but lower than elsewhere in UK (70%)  RTB important, but more recently alternative LCHO schemes developed (i.e. SE/SO)  Used to further extend h/ship via targeted public subsidy; is this sustainable?  Important in delivering regeneration outcomes 13

14  Focus on marginal homeowners purchased through LCHO initiatives  July-Sep semi-structured interviews, SE and SO purchasers in west of Scotland  Focus on LA areas Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire; large SRS & LCHO  Three housing developments (Glasgow Greater Govan, Glasgow North East & Clydebank) 14

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16  Interviewees contested dominant policy narrative re: ‘tenure of choice’  Recognised the benefits asset ownership offered  But decision to buy was primarily driven by desire to exit rental sector due to ‘decline’  Home o/ship a means to an end, not an end in itself 16

17 “It was a lovely flat I was in and the neighbours were really nice... But the housing association weren’t dealing with the anti-social behaviour... I think it’s got worse, I think they often don’t vet people” (Angela, year-old-age group, shared equity purchaser, Clydebank, previously in social housing) 17

18  Crucially, not social housing as a tenure per se that was problematised  Rather the changing social mix (residualisation)  Other day-to-day practical frustrations: ◦ Repairs ◦ Choice ◦ Allocations  Individuals direct experience of the rental sector (and desire to exit it) that matters 18

19 “One of the reasons why we bought our first council house was because they weren't doing any repairs for you. I mean we practically rebuilt that house”. (Bernadette, years old, shared owner, Glasgow Greater Govan, previously in social housing) 19

20 “You don’t really get much choice where you stay, you know …. Unless I could stay with someone for a long, long time, I’m going to get the roughest area. I’ve worked too hard to take my daughter to live somewhere like that”. (Ina, years old, shared equity purchaser, Clydebank, previously a homeowner) 20

21  Consumption as social signifier?  Majority disinterested in ‘climbing the housing ladder’; ‘satisfied’ and ‘settled’ in their home  No desire to sell their property in order to move onto a ‘bigger and better one’  Disdain for the hassle such a ‘property-ladder’ strategy necessitated 21

22 “I don’t buy into [climbing the housing ladder] because as it is painfully obvious these days too many people spend their lives watching property development programmes. I’ve just got no idea where that mind frame comes from, so I’m definitely not in that frame of mind... the kind of buying and selling and moving around and about. It’s too much hassle. Come on, we’re busy enough and have enough grief in our life without adding to it with these majorly stressful events”. (Harry, years old, shared owner, Glasgow Greater Govan, previously in private renting) 22

23  Norms equally & organically driven from within working class communities  More research needed into our assumed knowledge re: ethics, values, class & tenure  As Allen (2007) argues, lack of research that endeavours to understand w/c housing in its own terms 23

24  Interviewees’ views were nonetheless complex & contradictory  Conceded owning your home was regarded by wider society as a ‘symbol of success’  H/ship for some was associated with hard work & achievement  Housing consumption does transmit a message about individual tastes & cultural practices 24

25 INTERVIEWER: I guess some people would say that owning your own house is a symbol of success; is that something you agree with? NATALIE: I would agree with that. I think it gives you a sense of achievement. You’ve worked towards something, you’ve made sacrifices to save up your deposit. You put a lot of money and effort into getting the house. Getting all the furnishing for it is even an achievement because it costs a lot to get everything for it, do it the way you like it. (Natalie, years old, shared equity purchaser, Glasgow North East, new household) 25

26  Underlines taken-for-granted nature of the homeownership discourse  Reinforced by the media and the state (i.e. State policies, ‘property-porn’ TV shows)  However, interviewees rejected idea that social renters are flawed consumers  Staying in ‘a nice home, in a nice area’ that mattered; not tenure 26

27 “To me it’s not that important. If I was staying in a wee council house somewhere and it was a nice wee house, it wouldn’t bother me that I didn’t own it to be honest … I mean I’m no one of these people that’s jealous of somebody who stays in a bigger house form me to be honest. At the end of the day as long as I get by.” (Eleanor, years old, shared owner, Glasgow Greater Govan, previously in social housing) 27

28  Rejection of the stereotype commonly attributed to social housing, which ‘others’ social renters  Highlights importance of considering resistance to policy & political discourses  As John Clarke (2005: 460) has argued: “It is easy to read strategies, grand designs or interests as being realized in practice, but the regularity with which new strategies have to be invented suggests that reality is often recalcitrant” 28

29  LCHO specifically targets people in the SRS; personal experience of social housing key  This study reported much less tenure prejudice than in previous work  Gurney (1999) describes perceptions of social renters as ‘abnormal’ & lacking in pride  Interviewees placed a strong positive emphasis on the sector’s ‘social’ role 29

30 “I lived there [in my social rented flat] for fourteen years. I knew the area, the people were really nice, and the neighbours would sit out the back with a bottle of wine and sit and have a chat. We used to have a good laugh... there is a positive thing about social housing in that it’s giving people, affordable housing. People who canae afford to buy their own house”. (Angela, years old, shared equity purchaser, Clydebank, previously in social housing) 30

31  Talked positively about their memories of the sector  Direct challenge to popular image of social housing as a ‘tenure of last resort’  Governable subjects may be unwilling to embrace governmental prescriptions  Socialisation in shaping tenure prejudices 31

32 “I think when you’re young you don’t understand the concept of it being a council house or a private house... Certainly the [council] house I grew up in, it was a really nice street, was very quiet... it was a quite sought after area”. (Natalie, years old, shared equity purchaser, Glasgow North East, new household) 32

33  Scottish context perhaps significant; higher level of social housing historically  Rejection of wider stigmatised discourses by low-income groups elsewhere: ◦ Mee (2007) Australian public housing ◦ De Decker and Pannecoucke (2004) Belgium  Wacquant (2007): negative image reflects external moral judgements 33

34  Foucauldian framework highlights diffuse nature of power in society & way in which governable subjects themselves inculcated in projects of rule  Ethopolitics draws our attention to the role of culture, taste & lifestyle choices in contemporary technologies of governance  In housing policy, clear that homeownership is now the tenure of the majority & a normalised act of consumption 34

35  Little attempt to explore the relevance of these dominant norms for low-income groups  Significant omission, because subjects not passive & on the receiving end of power  By contrast, they can, and indeed do, challenge, contest, reinterpret & subvert dominant norms of acceptable & expected behaviour  As Foucault (2003) argues the exercise of power is not possible without some possibility of escape 35

36 This paper will be soon be available in the Journal of Urban Studies through Online Early 36


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