Housing Activism Against the Production of Ignorance: Some Lessons from the UK
This chapter traces the historical development of housing inequality in the UK and explores in particular the organising work of the Living Rent campaign in Scotland, which has achieved significant policy changes in Scotland in a very short space of time, largely due to a canny mix of direct action, dialogue with key politicians and alternative knowledge production against the production and circulation of ignorance in respect of housing affordability and rent control. It argues that, notwithstanding remarkable progress, tenant movements such as Living Rent still have to confront the ignorance that is intentionally produced by the powerful institutions holding the fort of vested interests vis-a-vis the urban question, particularly free market think tanks. Correspondingly, the analysis in this chapter is situated within the register of agnotology, a body of work that has emerged to expose and critique the intentional production of ignorance. The chapter demonstrates that the future achievements of movements for housing justice in the UK depend on their ability to organise and agitate for major policy changes in a demanding context of think tanks both producing ignorance about the causes of the housing crisis and recommending policies that will simply intensify it.
KeywordsHousing Rent control Agnotology Think tanks Activism Scotland
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