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Title: Housing needs : power, subjectivity and public housing in England, 1920-1970
Author: Hollow, Matthew
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 7849
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis addresses two key questions: First, how did those involved in the provision of public housing in twentieth-century England conceptualise the people who they were providing houses for? Second, how did their ideas change over time? These questions are important and need answering because, although there has been a great deal written about the history of public housing in England, there has up until now been very little thought given to the manner in which the council estate tenants themselves were actually identified and conceptualised as subjects in need of state-funded housing. My thesis begins to redress this imbalance by providing an overview of the changing forms and practices through which prospective tenants were conceptualised and acted upon by those in positions of power in England between 1920 and 1970. Using records from local authority archives, sociological surveys, architectural and town planning journals, central government publications, Mass Observation reports and tenant handbooks, and focusing primarily on council estates in London, Manchester and Sheffield, it shows how ideas about what prospective tenants needed from their homes changed dramatically over the course of this period, with the narrowly sanitary and biopolitical approaches of the 1920s and 1930s increasingly being challenged and complemented by a host of new ideas and discourses which placed far more emphasis upon the prospective tenant’s emotional, social and personal needs. As such, this thesis not only adds substantially to our understanding of the changes that took place in the English public housing sector between 1920 and 1970, but also adds to the burgeoning literature on questions of governmentality; contributing in the process to our understandings of modern modes of power.
Supervisor: Houlbrook, Matt Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Modern Britain and Europe ; History ; social housing ; welfare state ; council housing ; governmentality ; Britain