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Reconceptualising Home: A Study of the UK Bedroom Tax

Meers, Jed (2018) Reconceptualising Home: A Study of the UK Bedroom Tax. PhD thesis, University of York.

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This thesis examines the UK Coalition Government’s ‘Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy’ – known by almost everybody else as the ‘bedroom tax’. The policy has been the subject of political controversy, academic analysis from across disciplines and a number of other doctoral theses. So why is yet another PhD on the policy warranted? This research is the first detailed examination of the parallel ‘discretionary housing payment’ (DHP) scheme. The arguments it puts forward fall into three parts. Part I makes two sets of interlinked conceptual arguments. First, that Gallie's formulation of ‘essentially contested concepts' applies to the broad-ranging 'home studies' literature. Second, that the centrality of the DHP scheme to the operation of the bedroom tax is best analysed with a distinction between structural and epistemic discretion. Part II outlines the two empirical strands that support the analysis: an online vignette study with workers tasked with DHP scheme decision-making; and telephone interviews with tenants affected by the Social Sector Size Criteria (SSSC) policy. Part III builds on the theoretical arguments made in Part I by drawing on Valverde’s work on the sociology of knowledge to analyse: (i) DHP application forms, (ii) the decision-making of administrative workers, and (iii) the obligations imposed on affected tenants. This is, therefore, a thesis which is focused on a narrow policy, but which makes wider-ranging theoretical arguments. It is hoped that the findings and its theoretical approach will help to inform future studies into the discretionary mitigation of welfare reforms and contribute to ongoing debates over the ‘concept of home’ in the home studies literature.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Law
Depositing User: Mr Jed Meers
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2018 13:25
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2018 13:25
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19756

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