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The meaning of housingA pathways approach$
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David Clapham

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9781861346384

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861346384.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The meaning of housing

David Clapham

Policy Press

This book aims to establish and elaborate a framework for analysing the housing field based on the concept of a housing pathway. This framework casts a different light on housing and opens up new important research agenda. The book explores the insights on the pathways framework by reviewing the existing research and exploring the gaps in the knowledge of housing. This book is designed to aid researchers active in the field of housing, as well as students and others interested in the topic of housing. The focus of the book is on Britain. Its main inspiration has been the dissatisfaction with the major ways of analysing the housing field. Most current approaches to housing tend to be positivist in orientation and to ignore the perceptions and attitudes of individuals and households. There is little analysis of the interactions between choice and constraint, that is, between action and structure. The framework developed in this book takes individuals and households as its primary focus. It looks at the perceptions and attitudes of individuals and households on the meaning of housing for them. Therefore, the approach adopted here is subjectivist, based as it is on the tradition of social constructionism. This approach is an important complement to the main positivist tradition of housing studies, but it is also justified by the increasing importance of ‘lifestyle choice’.

Keywords:   housing field, housing pathway, housing, pathways framework, Britain, households, social constructionism

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