A Britain that everyone is proud to call home? The bedroom tax, political rhetoric and home unmaking in U.K. housing policy

Melanie Nowicki

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This paper explores the prominence of rhetorics of home in UK politics. Through the analysis of key prime ministerial speeches, I trace the lineage of home in political rhetoric, paying particular attention to the ways in which the imaginary of the homespace has been moralised through tenure type. The paper examines the ways in which both of the country’s major political parties have utilised rhetoric that places homeliness and homemaking at the centre of citizenship construction and nation-building, whilst simultaneously introducing housing policies that contribute to class-based acts of home unmaking. The final section of the paper examines the case study of the bedroom tax as an example of the power and influence of rhetorics of home. I draw on interviews with social tenants affected by the policy to highlight some of the consequences of the moralisation of the home, and the everyday impacts of home unmaking policies. Conceptually, the paper makes a dual contribution to social and cultural geographies. Firstly, I highlight the need for a stronger dialogue between critical geographies of home and geographies of housing literature. Secondly, the paper utilises home unmaking as an integral, and yet relatively underexplored, means of extending critical geographies of home literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-667
Number of pages21
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Issue number5
Early online date7 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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