Housing and Social Exclusion

  • Stuart Lowe


The idea of social exclusion is not a new one and has a provenance deeply embedded in the policy analysis literature. The recent use of the words has been contested but seems to have had its modern incarnation from within the EU. Rather than nations admitting to poverty the term ‘social exclusion’ became a surrogate concept (Room, 1995). As the great English prose writer and social commentator George Orwell said. ‘When there is a gap between one’s real world and one’s declared aims, one turns instinctively to long words’ (Orwell, 1954: 363). ‘Social exclusion’, in Orwell’s sense, is a concept that has the potential to obfuscate and obscure reality as much as it does to clarify it. The term has, however, come to have an important place in the vocabulary of the New Labour ‘Third Way’ and almost the first initiative taken by the newly elected government in 1997 was to establish a Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) inside the Cabinet Office, the Prime Minister’s personal domain. Two of the three initial topics of concern to the unit were housing issues — the problem of the so-called ‘worst estates’ and rough sleepers, the third being single parenthood.


Local Authority House Price Housing Market Social Exclusion Social Housing 
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Further Reading

  1. Anderson, I. and Sims, D. (2000) Social Exclusion and Housing: Contexts and Challenges, Coventry, Chartered Institute of Housing.Google Scholar
  2. Burrows, R., Pleace, N and Quilgars, D. (eds) (1997) Homelessness and Social Policy, London, Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. DETR (2000c) Coming in from the Cold: Progress Report on the Government’s Strategy on Rough Sleeping (Summer 2000), London, Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  4. Fitzpatrick, S., Kemp, P. and Klinker, S. (2000) Single Homelessness: An Overview of Research in Britain, Bristol, Policy Press.Google Scholar
  5. For government statistics and links to organizations dealing with homeless people, including the RSI visit:
  6. See also the papers by Bramley, Keenan, Lowe, Pawson, Spencer and Webster, in S. Lowe, P. Keenan and S. Spencer (eds) (1998) Housing Abandonment in Britain: Studies in the Causes and Effects of Low Demand Housing, York, Centre for Housing Policy, University of York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Stuart Lowe 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stuart Lowe

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