On explanation of housing policy

Somerville, Peter (1994) On explanation of housing policy. Scandinavian Housing and Planning Research, 11 (4). pp. 211-230. ISSN 0281-5737

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02815739408730365

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This paper is concerned with making sense of current ways of explaining housing policy. Four different types of explanation are identified and analysed in detail: explanations in terms of systems of actors, hypothetico‐deductive explanations, realist explanations, and culturalist explanations. The characteristic ontology and epistemology of each type of explanation is made explicit. The four types of explanation are then evaluated, partly in their own terms, and partly in relation to each other. It is argued that explanations in terms of systems of actors are inherently superficial, so it is essential to go beyond and below them in order to achieve an acceptable level of explanatory adequacy. Hypothetico‐deductive explanations are rescued from realist and culturalist criticisms which tend to dismiss them altogether, but they are recognised as having serious limitations in terms of conceptual vagueness/ambiguity and contextual fragmentation. Realist explanations are considered in greater depth through an examination of regulation theory. This examination amounts to a critique of the theory as regards its application to housing policy. Finally, culturalist explanations are assessed by using Kemeny's theory as an illustration, with both ontological and epistemological problems being identified. The paper concludes with an evaluation of the logical relations and differences between explanations of the four different types.

Keywords:Housing policy, explanation of housing policy, explanation of housing
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K450 Housing
L Social studies > L400 Social Policy
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:3134
Deposited On:30 Jul 2010 13:17

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