Social Justice in Contemporary Housing: Applying Rawls’ Difference Principle, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Social Justice in Contemporary Housing

Applying Rawls’ Difference Principle, 1st Edition

By Helen Taylor


108 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781138486072
pub: 2018-08-14
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781351046718
pub: 2018-09-03
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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

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



About the Author

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.

About the Series

Routledge Focus on Housing and Philosophy

Routledge Focus offers both established and early-career academics the flexibility to publish cutting-edge commentary on topical issues, policy-focused research, analytical or theoretical innovations, in-depth case studies, or short topics for specialized audiences. The format and speed to market is distinctive. Routledge Focus are 20,000 to 50,000 words and will be published as eBooks, and in Hardback as print on demand.

This book series seeks to develop the links between housing and philosophy. It seeks proposals from academics and policy makers on any aspect of philosophy and its relation to housing. This might include ethics, political and social philosophy, aesthetics, as well as logic, epistemology and metaphysics. All proposals would be expected to apply philosophical rigour to the exploration of housing phenomena, whether this be the policy making process, design, or the manner in which individuals and communities relate to housing. The series seeks an international and comparative focus and is particularly keen to include innovative and distinctly new approaches to the study of housing.

Please contact Peter King ( with ideas for book proposal or for further details.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Public Health
PHILOSOPHY / Political
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Regional Planning
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Social Policy
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Construction / General