From residualisation to individualization? Social tenants’ experiences in post-Olympics East Village

Humphry, Debbie (2020). From residualisation to individualization? Social tenants’ experiences in post-Olympics East Village. Housing, Theory and Society, 37(4) pp. 458–480.



This paper provides an insight into social tenants’ lived experiences in post-Olympics East Village, exploring how they are shaped by new forms of neoliberalism embedded into housing provision. Focusing on allocations policy reform and housing providers’ management strategies in East Village, this paper identifies a shift from patterns of residualisation to individualization, as self-reliant tenants are sought above those most in housing need. The housing provider’s financial responsibilisation and contractual strategies work to construct tenants with enhanced consumer identities, which shift risks from landlord to tenants, at a time when housing providers themselves are facing increased financial risks. The paper considers to what extent social housing discourse is shifting from notions of need to concerns with affordability, and how this exacerbates inequalities between working-class fractions. It is argued that it is not sufficient to simply call for more social rented housing, as social housing providers’ allocation and management practices must also be closely examined.

Plain Language Summary

This paper draws on qualitative research with social tenants in post-Olympics East Village, demonstrating how allocations policies exclude those most in need in favour of tenants deemed most self-reliant and financially stable, who are then made responsible for costs, such as the repair of white goods, formerly the responsibility of housing providers.

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