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.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – Housing Studies, Philosophy, and Policy
The epistemological foundations of housing studies
The relationship between philosophy and policy
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
Extending the concept of reflective equilibrium
Chapter 4 – Primary Goods: An Appropriate Metric?
Criticisms of primary goods
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.