Explanations of social exclusion: where does housing fit in?

Somerville, Peter (1998) Explanations of social exclusion: where does housing fit in? Housing Studies, 13 (6). pp. 761-780. ISSN 0267-3037

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02673039883056

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This paper takes the view that concepts of social exclusion are socially constructed by different combinations of economic, social and political processes. It is suggested that the core meaning of social exclusion is bound up with social isolation and social segregation, and it is therefore argued that an analysis of social mobility (or the lack of it) is crucial to understanding the content and extent of social exclusion. Three approaches to the analysis of social mobility are briefly considered, and it is concluded that the causation of social exclusion appears to have three interrelated dimensions: economic, legal/political, and moral/ideological. The main theoretical approaches to social exclusion, encompassing 'structural' and 'cultural' perspectives, are then examined, and a new, more holistic theory is proposed, using the concept of a duality of interrelated labour processes. This theory is developed on three different levels, corresponding to the three dimensions of social exclusion. The final part of the paper is concerned with the application of the theory of social exclusion to housing processes. The latter are discussed under the headings of housing production, housing tenure, residential segregation, housing mobility, and processes associated with homelessness and leaving home. It is shown how housing processes cut across the different social levels (labour process, social reproduction and ideology), how they reflect prevailing patterns of social exclusion, and how they can either mitigate or reinforce those patterns. Social exclusion is distinguished from forms of housing exclusion (for example, relating to tenure), with which it is sometimes confused. It is noted that the groups which are commonly socially excluded through housing processes are those which are to be expected on the basis of the theory, namely unwaged, unskilled, not within a 'traditional' family household, and seen as 'undeserving'.

Keywords:Social exclusion, Housing, where does housing fit, housing processes
Subjects:L Social studies > L410 UK Social Policy
L Social studies > L400 Social Policy
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K450 Housing
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
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ID Code:3128
Deposited On:30 Jul 2010 13:54

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