Housing Tenure is Less Important Now for Distinguishing Between Social Classes

Housing Tenure is Less Important Now for Distinguishing Between Social Classes

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Housing Tenure is Less Important Now for Distinguishing Between Social Classes

"Does housing in general, and home ownership in particular, comprise
anything more than just a class-related distributive outcome?"
(Hamnett 1995:257)

Hamnett posed this question in 1995 in his paper 'Home Ownership and
the Middle Classes'. He went on to investigate possible answers in
much the same way as I intend to discuss the contention that housing
tenure is now less important for distinguishing between social classes
than in the 1950s. Housing has always been of interest to geographers
and sociologists alike, in their quest to determine social
stratification and in their investigation into the various
relationships between society and space. Indeed in the 1950s social
theorists and policy analysts were mainly concerned with the
reconstruction and repair of the post war society and the housing
issues relating to that, in particular a desperate need and demand for
an increased and improved council stock. However since then, and
certainly in the latter half of the twentieth century, their focus has
fallen much more on tenure, especially the continual rise of home
ownership, its causes, its effects and specifically its relationship
with class.

In thins essay I will briefly give a description of housing tenure and
an explanation of social classes (as seen from two view points) in
order to set the scene. I then propose to paint a social picture of
the 1950s and the ideas surrounding housing tenure and social classes
at the time, and indeed their importance. In order to draw a
comparison I will go on to give an account of present day theories

... middle of paper ...

...an Paul

* Forrest, R., Murie, A. & Williams, P. (1990) Home Ownership:
Differentiation and Fragmentation. London: Unwin

* Hamnett, C. (1999) Winners and Losers: Home Ownership In Modern
Britain London: UCL Press

* Hamnett, C. (1995) Home Ownership and the Middle Classes, in
Butler, T. & Savage, M. (eds) Social Change and the Middle Classes.
London: UCL Press

* Murie, A. (1991) Divisions of Home Ownership: Housing Tenure and
Social Change, in Environment and Planning A, 23, pp 329-370

* Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) www.housing.odpm.gov.uk

* Saunders, P. (1984) Beyond Housing Classes: The Sociological
Significance of Private Property Rights in Means of Consumption,
in International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Vol 8, No
2, pp 202-227

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