Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

The ‘Responsible’ Tenant and the Problem of Apathy

  • Kim McKee (a1)

In the last decade, the UK New Labour government has emphasised tenant participation in housing policy. Consequently, those individuals who decide to opt out of participation processes have been problematised as ‘apathetic’, and identified as needing to be ‘empowered’ through professional interventions. Drawing on research about community ownership in Glasgow, this paper argues that tenants' reasons for not getting involved are more than simply lack of interest. Tenants articulated an instrumental approach to participation, and rejected the conflation of tenant participation with tenant management. Practical barriers also obstructed their latent motivation.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

K. Baistow (1994)/5), ‘Liberation and regulation? Some paradoxes of empowerment’, Critical Social Policy, 14, 42, 3446.

D. Clapham and K. Kintrea (2000), ‘Community-based housing organisations and the local governance debate’, Housing Studies, 15, 4, 533–59.

D. Clapham , K. Kintrea and H. Kay (1996), ‘Direct democracy in practice: the case of community ownership housing associations’, Policy and Politics, 24, 4, 359–74.

J. Clarke (2005), ‘New Labour's citizens: activated, empowered, responsiblized, abandoned?’ Critical Social Policy, 25, 4, 447463.

M. Daly , G. Mooney , L. Poole , and H. Davis (2005), ‘Housing stock transfer in Birmingham and Glasgow: the contrasting experiences of two UK cities’, European Journal of Housing Policy, 5, 3, 327–41.

P. Dwyer (2002), ‘Making sense of social citizenship: some user views on welfare rights and responsibilities’, Critical Social Policy, 22, 2, 273–99.

J. Flint (2003), ‘Housing and ethopolitics: constructing identities of active consumption and responsible community’, Economy and Society, 32, 3, 611–29.

K. Gibb (2003), ‘Transferring Glasgow's council housing: financial, urban and housing policy implications’, European Journal of Housing Policy, 3, 1, 89114.

E. Heron and P. Dwyer (1999), ‘Doing the right thing: Labour's attempt to forge a new welfare deal between the individual and the state’, Social Policy and Administration, 33, 1, 91104.

P. Hickman (2006), ‘Approaches to tenant participation in the English local authority sector’, Housing Studies, 21, 2, 209–25.

K. Kintrea (2006), ‘Having it all? Housing reform under devolution’, Housing Studies, 21, 2, 187207.

C. McDonald and G. Marston (2005), ‘Workfare as welfare: governing unemployment in the advanced liberal state’, Critical Social Policy, 25, 3, 374401.

McKee (2007), ‘Community ownership in Glasgow: devolving local control or a centralizing process?’, European Journal of Housing Policy, 7, 3, 319–36.

McKee (2008), ‘Transforming Scotland's public sector housing through community ownership: the reterritorialisation of housing governance?’, Space and Polity, 12, 2, 183–96.

McKee and V. Cooper (2008), ‘The paradox of tenant empowerment: regulatory and liberatory possibilities’, Housing, Theory and Society, 25, 2, 132–46.

L. Milnward (2005), ‘Just because we are amateurs doesn't mean we aren't professional: the importance of expert activists in tenant participation’, Public Administration, 83, 3, 735–51.

R. Paddison , I. Docherty , and R. Goodlad (2008), ‘Responsible participation and housing: restoring democratic theory to the scene’, Housing Studies, 23, 1, 129–47.

C. Paris , P. Gray , and J. Muir (2003), ‘Devolving housing policy and practice in Northern Ireland 1998–2002’, Housing Studies, 18, 2, 159–75.

R. Simmons and J. Birchall (2007), ‘Tenant participation and social housing in the UK: applying a theoretical model’, Housing Studies, 22, 4, 573–95.

P. Somerville (1998), ‘Empowerment through residence’, Housing Studies, 13, 2, 233–57.

P. Somerville (2005), ‘Community Governance and Democracy’, Policy and Politics, 33, 1, 117–44.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Social Policy and Society
  • ISSN: 1474-7464
  • EISSN: 1475-3073
  • URL: /core/journals/social-policy-and-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 14
Total number of PDF views: 45 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 254 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.