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‘Problem families’ in public housing: discourse, commentary and (dis)order
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-19, 13:27 authored by Kathleen FlanaganKathleen Flanagan
This article contributes to a chain of literature extending back to the late nineteenth century on the ‘problem family’, particularly when encountered by housing providers as the ‘problem’ tenant. Using archival evidence of the techniques employed by one social housing provider in the mid-1970s to identify a definitive solution to the challenges posed by ‘problem’ households, I trace the patterns and practices in ‘problem family’ discourse more broadly, and their intersection with those of other discursive fields, particularly eugenics and social work. I show how attempts to define, identify and design models of rehabilitation for ‘problem families’ can be understood as forms of a discursive strategy which Foucault identified as ‘commentary’, and argue that such commentary remains intrinsic to welfare state efforts to tackle entrenched disadvantage.
Publication titleHousing Studies
Department/SchoolSchool of Social Sciences
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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