How housing tenure drives household care strategies and practices

Publication Name

Social and Cultural Geography


Motivated by growing policy and research emphasis on the economic care values of housing (which assume homeownership), this paper investigates how housing figures within household care strategies and practices across tenure. We place housing in two broader frames. First, we attend to the care values of housing, conceptualising the purpose and value of housing across tenure through a political ethic of care. Second, we place housing within broader geographical imaginaries of housing and home, attending to how care practices are negotiated within and through the house-as-home. We then bring together two distinct but connected in-depth qualitative case studies, both located in metropolitan Sydney, Australia, to identify the affective, temporal and material dimensions of care and bring focus to the care work and opportunities that owner-occupied, private and social rented housing afford to residents. Tenure intervenes in possibilities for household caring. It is most fully actualised through secure ownership and inhibited for renters and social housing tenants. Evaluating affordances and constraints of tenure and how they drive household care strategies is crucial in a political climate where the care securities of homeownership are prioritised. It demonstrates the limits of liberal care philosophies and raises questions around attributions of care responsibility.

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Australian Research Council



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