Policy Press

The meaning of housing

A pathways approach

By David Clapham


Jul 20, 2005

Page count

296 pages




234 x 156 mm


Policy Press
The meaning of housing

This book offers a fresh new approach to the study of housing. It explores the meaning that housing has for individuals and households by examining 'housing pathways'.

Housing pathways refer to the varying household forms that individuals experience and the housing routes that they take over time. The book argues that housing has increasingly become a means to an end rather than an end in itself. The end is personal fulfilment and the main task of housing research is to elucidate the links. In this pursuit, the concepts of identity and lifestyle are key. 

Specifically, the book examines the structure and functioning of households and links this to changing discourses of the family; explores the important interconnections between housing and employment; considers the relationship between people and the physical aspects of a house and its location; looks at housing in terms of lifestyle choice from youth to old age and discusses the implications of the pathways approach for housing policy and future research in the field.

The meaning of housing is recommended to anyone researching and studying housing and particularly to those wishing to engage with the new research agenda set out here.

"Very useful to get students thinking about the place of housing in a wider social, political, and economic context." Jenny Muir, Queen's University Belfast

"The Meaning of Housing is an innovative contribution to what can be described as a broader attempt to diversify and re-theorise the study of housing. Hopefully, it will trigger further research and encourage others to fill the knowledge gaps that Clapham has usefully highlighted and make the case for a pathways approach more persuasively." Journal of Social Policy

"David Clapham brings a fresh approach to housing studies through the

systematic examination of the choices and constraints that create pathways

through the housing system. Its combination of insights from theory and empirical

research makes The meaning of housing essential reading for students of housing policy." Brian Lund, Principal Lecturer in Social Policy, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

David Clapham is Professor of Housing at Cardiff University in Wales. He has written and researched extensively in the field of housing and housing policy. 

Housing pathways; Households and families; Work; Paying for housing; Houses and homes; Neighbourhoods and communities; Early pathways; Housing pathways in later life; Researching housing pathways.