Precarious Social Housing: Reforming Policy, Changing Culture. An Ethnographic Case Study of the Impact of the 'Bedroom Tax'.

  • Kelly Bogue

Student thesis: Phd


AbstractThe University of Manchester Kelly Ann BoguePhDPrecarious Social Housing: Reforming Policy, Changing Culture. An Ethnographic Case Study of the Impact of the 'Bedroom Tax'2016 Through an ethnographic case study of one housing estate, this study explores the impact of the 'Bedroom Tax' on 31 social housing tenants. The research was motivated by three central questions: what impacts is the Bedroom Tax having on individuals and households? How is the policy rationalised? And, what impact is it having at the neighbourhood level? Previous research has shown the policy to be negatively impacting; financially, physically and psychologically. This study builds upon previous studies in highlighting how the increasing precariousness of social housing is producing housing insecurity, the consequences of which are having a detrimental impact on those affected. Moving beyond the impacts at the household level it addresses a gap in the literature by examining in greater depth the impacts the policy is having on localised relationships and builds upon previous studies in contributing knowledge to how the policy affects dependent children. The findings illustrate that mobility within the social sector is more complex than assumed and the push and pull factors that determine mobility are multidimensional incorporating structural and personal constraints. At the neighbourhood level, it offers insights into how a sense of being forcibly uprooted impacts on participants' sense of security, self and belonging. It concludes by arguing that the Bedroom Tax policy is socially divisive, creating and building upon resentments about the allocation of social housing resources at the local level. It offers insights into how the policy is working to reconfigure ideas about the role and culture of social housing tenure, and its ability to provide a home for life. The consequences of promoting greater transience within the social rented sector and what that may do to undermine communities experiencing poverty is reflected upon in light of the findings of this study.
Date of Award1 Aug 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorHilary Pilkington (Supervisor) & James Rhodes (Supervisor)


  • Community
  • Bedroom Tax
  • Social Housing

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