Policy Press

Home ownership in a risk society

A social analysis of mortgage arrears and possessions

By Janet Ford, Roger Burrows and Sarah Nettleton


Jul 25, 2001

Page count

212 pages




216 x 138 mm


Policy Press
Home ownership in a risk society

In Britain in the 1990s households containing almost 1.4 million adults and children had their mortgaged home possessed. A far greater number experienced serious mortgage arrears but managed to avoid possession. The emergence of such levels of unsustainable home ownership has consequences for many areas of social and public policy, including: the economy; public health; social security reform; and family policy.

This book argues that the emergence of unsustainable owner-occupation is emblematic of broader changes in contemporary society associated with the emergence of what commentators such as Beck and Giddens have characterised as a 'risk society'.

Home ownership in a risk society:

provides the first systematic overview of the meaning and implications of a body of research work that has hitherto remained largely fragmented;

 argues that the particular conjunction of events which generated the short-term housing crisis of the early 1990s masked a series of more enduring structural changes which have resulted in unsustainable home ownership becoming a more permanent part of the British socio-economic landscape;

 uses a wide range of methodological strategies - including in-depth qualitative interviews with adults and children, survey analysis, and the multivariate statistical analysis of large-scale data sets;

 paints a rich and detailed empirical picture of the causes, socio-economic distribution and social consequences of mortgage arrears and possessions.

This broad-ranging book is aimed at students, researchers, policy makers and practitioners with an interest in social policy, sociology, human geography, urban studies, housing studies, public health, economics and finance.

"... easy to read and provides valuable insights for both academic researchers and policymakers." Journal of Housing and the Built Environment

"This book tackles an important group of issues in a coherent way, bringing together recent research evidence and policy debate in one place." Glen Bramley, Professor of Planning and Housing, Edinburgh College of Art, Heriot-Watt University

"This book provides a timely, original and important contribution to our knowledge and understanding of 'unsustainable' home ownership. It should be required reading, not only for students and teachers of social policy, but also for policy makers and practitioners alike." Professor Peter Kemp, Department of Urban Studies, University of Glasgow

"If any publication is capable of making the government think again about the fatuity of its equity stake suggestions for tenants, it should be this one." Axis

Contents: The risks of home ownership; The 'epidemiology' and 'aetiology' of mortgage arrears and possessions; Owner-occupation and the impact of economic transformations; Unsafe safety-nets; The costs of mortgage arrears and possessions; Experiencing mortgage possession; Mortgage arrears and possessions as public health issues; Summary and conclusions.

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