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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 4 - Perception of Social Values 135

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Chapter 4 Perception of Social Values Discourse and Content Analysis of Policy Documents and Party Manifestos Discourse analysis of written texts can help to identify the social values of a particular time period. The texts analysed in this chapter have been selected due either because of their authors or because of their audience. The content of party manifestos is contrasted with that of secret Cabinet papers in order to draw out hidden relationships. We have already considered state ideology and its connection with social policies, as well as how these policies came to be expressed in housing policies and standards in social housing. In terms of policy instruments, universalist or selectivist (targeted) approaches were shown to be the most distinctly demonstrative of social values and approaches to social policy. This chapter sets out some empirical evidence and seeks to identify the ef fect of universalist and selectivist approaches on housing standards. Initially, it identifies what constitutes the universalist approach or the contrasting selectivist approach. The term ‘policy’ is used the broadest sense and also includes statements of policy intention, where policy is implied but not necessarily explicit. The reason for this broader definition is that in order to find connections between values and policies, it is important to iden- tify the principles that informed the state’s actions as expressed through its assertions, whether these are named policy or not. Documents, drawings, information on the physical environment and archive records are examined in this chapter, in order to establish social values...

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