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The Politics of Social Housing in Britain

Jamileh Manoochehri

This book investigates the relationship between the dominant ideologies of British public life in the second half of the twentieth century and the quality of the social housing built during this period. The author compares award-winning housing projects from the 1960s and the 1980s, projects that represent two major milestones in the development of state-provided housing in Britain. Her detailed analysis looks beyond the superficial appearance of housing policy in these two contrasting periods and provides fascinating insights into the substance of the changes that took place. The book examines the influence of universalist and selectivist approaches to social housing and asks important questions about the connection between social values and government policy.


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Chapter 3 - Ideology and Social Values 109


Chapter 3 Ideology and Social Values The theoretical grounding for a correlation between social values and social policies is sought within universalism or selectivism. Adherence to one or the other approach defines the state’s position towards concepts such as the state, the relationship between labour and capital, need, equality, social justice, freedom, and choice. The dif ference between universalism and selectivism is most visible in the way each defines the above concepts and either supports or undermines them. In order to find a correlation between each of the two approaches and the social values of the time, it is important to consider the theories on the relationship between the state, its ideology, social values and social policy. It is also important to consider the general principles of the dialectics of change, state and class, and their link to the more specific case of the adop- tion of universalist or selectivist social policies, as well as their correlation with the resulting housing standards. A number of theoretical principles have been assumed – the starting point being that in capitalist economies, the state intervenes to facilitate the functioning of the socio-economic system when the market mechanism fails to provide the services and goods essential for the reproduction of means of production, and that the degree of this intervention is inf luenced by how the state defines socially accept- able standards in the fields in question. The second principle is taken to be the dialectics of change within systems. The conf lict between labour...

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