1st Edition

Speculations on the Question: What Is Housing?

By Peter King Copyright 2022

    This book consists of a single essay that speculates on the question what is housing?, and its opposite question, what is not housing? The essay is organised around two distinct discourses around which housing can be framed. The first, which is the dominant discourse, is what I term policy thinking. This is where housing is seen solely in terms of policy formulation and action. The second discourse is private dwelling, which describes housing in terms of a private space used by households. Private dwelling might be seen as a product of policy, but, in actuality, it precedes policy thinking in being the very purpose of policy. Having made this distinction between policy thinking and private dwelling, and so stated in principle what housing is, the subsequent sections of the essay explore the nature of private dwelling in more detail and so substantiate the distinction between the two forms of discourse.

    1. The Question  2. Writing Subjectively on the Subjective  3. Policy Thinking  4. Private Dwelling  5. Dwelling Behaves  6. Machines and Organisms  7. More Machines  8. The Boundary Around Us  9. Too Much Noise  10.  Who Cares?  11. We All Share  12. At the Ends of Life  13. Cares of the World  14. The Place of Suffering  15. In praise of banality  16. Complacency and the Ordinary  17. But Is It an Illusion?  18. Appearances Seem to Matter  19. What We Are Attached To


    Before retiring in 2018, Peter King worked at De Montfort University for 25 years teaching and researching on housing and public policy. He is the author of 22 books including Thinking on Housing (2017), The Principles of Housing (2015), In Dwelling (2008), The Common Place (2005) and Private Dwelling (2004), all published by Routledge.

    "In this book, King challenges us to reconsider how we think about ‘housing’. Focussing on the concept of dwelling, he argues that the housing research community shift away from studying the exceptions of policy failure, to thinking about subjective and individual experiences of housing more broadly." - Dr Helen Taylor, Cardiff Met, UK