This chapter draws together evidence and ideas scattered across the book as to how we can understand British housing policy, how it is made and delivered and how the British case should be ‘read’ in relation to comparable societies. It was readily apparent in Chapter 9 that there were significant differences between even the housing systems of the wider European nations, EU and non-EU countries, although it was possible to discern underlying patterns which group nations together and help explain how — and, crucially, why — they differ or where they fit into a wider family of nations or cluster. Perhaps above all else the evidence from this book shows that purely state centred approaches to explaining these divergences are no longer tenable. A major theme of the book has been that globalization processes have increasingly impacted on the configuration of housing systems, in part because the state, certainly the British state, has been restructured under these new circumstances. As we saw in Chapter 2, the ‘hollowing out’ of the state under the impact of the transnational economic order was a major task and accomplishment of the Thatcher/Major and Blair governments. The new institutional literature is defined by its capacity to capture this wide-ranging agenda and is especially suited to help explain why different policies develop in different societies. As was shown in Chapter 9, middle-range social theory helps overcome the limitations of juxtapositional research in which the focus is boiled down to the lowest common denominator. It is precisely because institutionalist approaches engage with the wider social context of the policy-making process that it is so powerful.
KeywordsWelfare State Home Ownership Social Housing Housing Policy Housing System
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