This ground-breaking and compelling book takes us deep into the world of a public housing estate in Dublin, showing in fine detail the life struggles of those who live there.
The book puts the emphasis on class and gender processes, revealing them to be the crucial dynamics in the lives of public housing residents. The hope is that this understanding can help change perspectives on public housing in a way that diminishes suffering and contributes to human flourishing and well-being.
Combining long-term research into residents’ lived experience with critical realist theory, it provides a completely fresh perspective on public housing in Ireland and arguably, beyond.
"This brilliant, vividly written and compelling book, drawing on rich vibrant accounts of life on a Dublin housing estate, should be compulsory reading for everyone concerned about growing social class inequalities." Diane Reay, University of Cambridge
"Not only a deeply insightful ethnography of the lived experience of hardship and suffering among residents of a public housing estate, but a theoretically-informed analysis of the economic and cultural forces that produce what they experience. I strongly recommend this book." Andrew Sayer, Lancaster University
“A pathbreaking account of ordinary people’s attempts to work out ‘how to live’ under late capitalism. Both erudite and passionate, the book gives a voice to some of the many casualties of Ireland’s economic ‘success story’." Colin Coulter, Maynooth University
“A fascinating account of the realities, warts and all, of everyday life on a housing estate in Dublin ... a remarkable book and a welcome addition to the literature on social housing estates.” Tracey Shildrick, Newcastle University
“An excellent book that both theorises and tells the vital story of the reality and importance of class and public housing – how vital public housing is, the identities formed around it, the strength of community, but also the challenges and structural inequalities that residents face on a daily basis. An essential read for anyone interested in public and social housing, class and inequalities.” Rory Hearne, Maynooth University
John Bissett is a community worker, activist and writer. He has been a community worker for over 35 years and has organised and participated in significant housing, anti-austerity and public debt campaigns. He is the author of Regeneration: Public Good or Private Profit and is a member of Housing Action Now.
He took an undergraduate degree in Sociology, English and Philosophy at the National University of Ireland Maynooth and then went on to do his masters and PhD in Sociology at University College Dublin.
PART I: Ethography
2. Should I Stay or Should I Go?
3. Work Ethic 1
4. Work Ethic 2
5. The Food Chain
6. Means Ends
7. What Goes Around Comes Around
8. Fragile Beings
9. The Word
PART II: Critical Realism and Public Housing
10. From Manifest Phenomena to Generative Structures
11. Class as The Production of Scarcity: Wage, Price, Debt, Food
12. Women and the Affective Domain of the Bridgetown Estate
13. Class Geography: Part of No Part