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Om trångboddhet: Hur storleken på våra bostäder blev ett välfärdsproblem
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for Housing and Urban Research. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2013 (Swedish)In: Sociologisk forskning, ISSN 0038-0342, Vol. 50, no 3-4, 199-222 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

About crowding - How the size of our dwellings became a welfare problem     Housing policy documents have traditionally been studied by political scientists, resulting in a lack of interest in the private aspects of housing policy. Hence, this paper uses the example of crowding standards to examine how a previously private matter, the size of our dwelling, became a concern of the state. Official governmental documents are analyzed with the help of discourse theory, working on the supposition that the need of the population and the framing of a problem changes over time. The first official standard of crowding, formulated in 1946 argue for larger dwelling size in order to increase the size and quality of the Swedish population. The second standard, formulated in 1965, is based on the assumption that the population, defined as consumers, demands larger sized homes. The final standard, formulated in 1975, claims that larger sized homes is a social right.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 50, no 3-4, 199-222 p.
Keyword [en]
Housing policy, welfare state, crowding, historical discourse, need
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-213405OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-213405DiVA: diva2:681938
Available from: 2013-12-20 Created: 2013-12-20 Last updated: 2016-09-19
In thesis
1. Trångboddhet: Mellan bostadsstandard och boendemoral
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Trångboddhet: Mellan bostadsstandard och boendemoral
2016 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Residential crowding is frequently associated with impoverished segments of the population, often living in distressed neighbourhoods, and with detrimental consequences for crowded households. The aim of this thesis is to apply a sociological and historical perspective on residential crowding by analyzing Swedish governmental texts and quantitative survey data. Politically defined welfare standards, as well as the subjective experience of crowding are analyzed and interpreted through sociological welfare and governmentality theory.

The arguments justifying the official governmental standards on residential crowding – first formulated in the mid-1930s – are explored in a discourse analysis. The analysis shows that there is a strong link between what is regarded to be appropriate dwelling space and what is regarded to be morally good housing conditions. In the 1930s and 1940s experts’ decided on what was adequate dwelling space, however in the mid- 1980s experts’ ability to decide on dwelling space was highly questioned. Instead it became an individual responsibility to decide on how to reside. Hence, what constitutes morally good and morally bad dwelling conditions is debated and dispersed on many actors.

Two parallel discourses on crowding, a ”gentrified” and a “distressed” are further explored by analyzing the data from a survey study. Subjective as well as objective elements are analyzed by relating socio-economic profiles of the crowded residents in a distressed and a gentrified neighbourhood. Despite income differences within the crowded population, depending on what neighbourhood you live in, the crowded residents in all neighbourhoods experience less freedom regarding their dwelling situation than do non-crowded residents. The least amount of freedom is experienced by those who are crowded both according to the Swedish housing standard and according to a subjective measure of crowding.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. 73 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 131
housing policy, welfare sociology, governmentality theory, mixed method, needs and wants
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-303375 (URN)978-91-554-9693-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-11-04, Eva Netzeliussalen (10:K102), Blåsenhus, von Kraemers allé 1A, Uppsala, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2016-10-13 Created: 2016-09-18 Last updated: 2016-10-19

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Ekstam, Helen
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Institute for Housing and Urban ResearchDepartment of Sociology

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