1st Edition

Social Justice in Contemporary Housing Applying Rawls’ Difference Principle

By Helen Taylor Copyright 2019
    116 Pages
    by Routledge

    114 Pages
    by Routledge

    Philosophy is not usually seen as a guidance for modern housing policy, but in this new book, Dr Helen Taylor argues that there is something innovative, unusual, and worth discussing about the application of philosophy to housing. The philosophical framework used within this book is John Rawls’ conception of justice as fairness. The UK has gone through several shifts in housing policy over the past decade, most recently by introducing the controversial ‘Bedroom Tax’, in an effort to make more cuts to benefits and social welfare.

    Social Justice in Contemporary Housing: Applying Rawls’ Difference Principle suggests that by using ideas of agency we can understand the impact that social policy has on individuals and wider society. The work outlines the liberal principle of legitimacy and argues that Rawls’ concept of reasonableness can, and should, be used to justify the intervention of policy in individuals’ lives. This book will be of interest to undergraduate and postgraduate students of housing as well as philosophy and social policy, and also those working around the creation and implementation of social housing in the UK.

    Chapter 1 – Housing Studies, Philosophy, and Policy

    The epistemological foundations of housing studies

    The relationship between philosophy and policy

    Applied philosophy

    Policy: homelessness and housing first

    Chapter 2 – The Role of the Reasonable in Public Justification


    The two moral powers

    The use of reasonableness as a regulatory mechanism

    A political conception of justice

    The liberal principle of legitimacy

    Applying reasonableness to social policy: The ‘Bedroom Tax’

    Chapter 3 – A Rawlsian Account of Justice

    Justice as fairness

    The difference principle

    Applying the difference principle

    Justifying the use of the difference principle

    Reflective equilibrium

    Extending the concept of reflective equilibrium

    Chapter 4 – Primary Goods: An Appropriate Metric?

    Criticisms of primary goods

    Alternative metrics

    Revising primary goods

    Chapter 5 – Self-Command and Basic Justice

    Self-respect as a primary good

    Self-command and social freedom

    The revised metric

    Chapter 6 – Applying Philosophy to Housing

    The modified test

    Application to policy




    Helen Taylor is a lecturer in housing studies at Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK. She is Communications Officer for the Housing Studies Association, as well as a board member for housing sector organisations Newport City Homes and Cymorth Cymru, and sector publication Welsh Housing Quarterly.