IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Damned by Place, then by Politics: Spatial Disadvantage and the Housing Policy-research Interface

Listed author(s):
  • Rowland Atkinson
  • Keith Jacobs
Registered author(s):

    In this paper we engage with some fundamental questions about the focus and conduct of academic research and its potential influence on policy in relation to social problems. We use the example of public housing and social-spatial disadvantage as a basis to advance an analysis of the housing researcher's role in informing and framing the policymaking process and its links to research evidence. Although our paper uses the example of Australia, the arguments presented are also applicable to other nation states, such as the UK and US, that have an under-funded public housing stock. The paper proceeds in three stages. First, we detail the role and function of public housing in Australian cities and the politics surrounding public investment in welfare provision. Second, we discuss a series of models developed around the kind of research narratives that have been linked to policy on public housing and neighbourhoods from the academy, arguing that the social composition and management of 'place' has been emphasised at the expense of structural imperatives. Third, we examine some of the more abstract concerns raised by the linkages we make, and the potentially delimited role of academic research on social problems such as poverty and locational disadvantage. We conclude the paper by arguing that the weak position of housing research has fuelled an internalised narrative-driven pragmatic realism that has occluded more useful accounts about the nature of social problems. It is therefore incumbent on researchers to challenge, in a more vigorous way, the narratives underpinning this self-restraining form of policy-realism.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal International Journal of Housing Policy.

    Volume (Year): 10 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 155-171

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:taf:intjhp:v:10:y:2010:i:2:p:155-171
    DOI: 10.1080/14616718.2010.480855
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:intjhp:v:10:y:2010:i:2:p:155-171. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.