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Housing tenure and urban unrest: Responding to contemporary rioting through housing-related mechanisms

Young, Gareth James (2017) Housing tenure and urban unrest: Responding to contemporary rioting through housing-related mechanisms. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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In 2011 England experienced the worst outbreak of urban unrest in a generation (Newburn, 2015). The cost to the public purse was significant, lives were lost and property destroyed. Immediate political pronouncements and media coverage reporting the disorder painted a picture of lawlessness and anarchy. The focus of responses from political figures and in mainstream media was on the declining moral and respect of those involved (Flint & Powell, 2012). The day before the riots the Department for Communities and Local Government launched a consultation seeking views on extending the powers of possession to social housing providers to make the process of eviction easier and more flexible. This consultation was updated on the 10 August 2011; just four days after the riots had begun, to reflect the disorder. Within this consultation a question was added as to whether more eviction powers needed to be given to housing providers to deal with situations such as riots. Despite vociferous contestation from organisations such as Shelter, the proposals passed into legislation under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act (2014). To this day there remains little evidence about the actual housing tenure of the rioters. Very little has since been discussed about the use of housing-related mechanisms as a suitable way of dealing with urban unrest. Housing has remained relatively elusive in the discussion about the riots despite new powers of possession specifically geared towards social housing tenants as a result of the 2011 disorders. This study seeks to address this gap. The exploration of the housing-urban disorder nexus is the thread running through this thesis, and it examines how the responses to the riots demonstrates contemporary rationalities for governing marginal populations and explores the apparent shift towards a more punitive society. Empirical data has been collected from 30 frontline practitioners working in housing, behaviour control and policing roles. These practitioners work in cities across England for organisations of various scales. Establishing a practitioner view was important, as these are the actors who sit between national level policy frameworks and the tenants whose day-to-day lives are governed (to a certain extent) by housing management practice. The aim of this study is to explore and attempt to understand from the perspective of one-the-ground officers and authorities why such a housing-related response to the disorders materialised, to what degree it is believed that these mechanisms are appropriate and a useful part of the behaviour-control arsenal and what, if anything, this might change for the future of governing populations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Urban Studies and Planning (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.723224
Depositing User: Dr Gareth James Young
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2017 09:11
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:45
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/18335

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