Collective realism: exploring the development and outcomes of urban housing collectives

ARCHER, Tom (2016). Collective realism: exploring the development and outcomes of urban housing collectives. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Abstract

The undersupply of housing in England has created a pervasive sense of crisis about the delivery of sufficient new dwellings. Alternative forms of housing provision therefore merit further exploration, particularly those that can deliver low cost, stable accommodation in good condition. Potential remedies may be found in various models for collective ownership of housing. Housing collectives are organisations controlled by their members and residents, operating in a defined geography, which collectively own and manage land and housing for the benefit of a designated group. But why have such organisations consistently been a marginal form of provision? And do the patterns of benefits and costs they create make their future expansion desirable? Significant gaps in knowledge emerge in attempting to answer such questions. Furthermore, the relationship between the benefits and costs arising within collectives, and the form and function of these organisations, is poorly understood. Three housing collectives were studied intensively to address these gaps in knowledge. Ideas from realist social science and analytical sociology are brought to bear on processes of change. The study finds powerful constraints and enablements in the internal workings of collectives, as well as a series of external constraints and enablements arising through the structure of relations around the collectives. Residents and members of the collectives identified a range of costs and benefits. Causal mechanisms are introduced to show how these perceived outcomes are, in part, attributable to collective form and function. The rules governing collective forms blend with internal regulation, to generate certain costs and benefits. Furthermore, the history of each collective tends to shape current behaviours to preserve original ideals and achieve desired outcomes. The lessons from this research are far reaching for activists, support agencies and governments, revealing forms of agency and state intervention which can affect the conditions for future collectivism.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2017 13:29
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2017 19:58
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/16557

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