My research expertise focuses on sociological understandings of place, belonging and identity, examining how these interact and influence society, particularly in relation to both social and housing policies at both local and national scales. Having spent most of my teaching career to date contributing to post-graduate MSc / Diploma in Housing Studies, following a five year term as Head of School, I moved over to teach undergraduate Sociology and Social Policy. So having joined the School as its youngest lecturer on 1st September 1988, I now now find myself being the second longest serving member of the academic staff. Hobbies: sustainable cycling, thoughtfull photography, purposeful hill walking, passive politics, challenging gardening and satisfying slow cooking.
Invited in September 2013 by Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities to chair the Scottish Government's Private Rented Sector Tenancy Review Group which was charged with examining the suitability and effectiveness of the current Private Rented Sector tenancy regime and develop recommendations for the Scottish Government as to how the current regime might work better and/ or the options for taking reform forward. The Group reported in May 2014. See: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/privaterent/government/Tenancy-Review
Invited in September 2009 by Alex Neil, Minister for Housing and Communities to chair the Scottish Private Rented Sector Strategy Group which was charged with coming forward with a consultation paper on future legislative reform by December 2009, which fed into the Private Rented Sector (Scotland) Act, 2011. The Group then turned its attention to advising the Scottish Government on the development of a strategy for the private rented sector to help support tenants, landlords, local authorities and other interested parties. See
Having spent years undertaking empirical studies of housing renewal and regeneration, adopting a public policy focus, I was struck by the fact that both processes appeared cyclical, being re-applied in a number of 'deprived communities' many times. While physical housing conditions undoubtedly improved over time, other social dimensions of poverty persisted and, if anything, got progressively worse (Robertson, 2014 http://www.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/reports ). Trying to explain this pattern led me to the reflective sociological practice of Pierre Bourdieu and I have drawn on his work to better understand the largely hidden significance and power of place, given its importance in constructions of identity and belonging. Place, belonging and identity is also critical in the social construction of societal hierarchies, which display a remarkable resilience (see Robertson, 2013; Smyth & Robertson, 2013; Robertson, 2011; Robertson et al, 2010; Robertson, 2008, Robertson et al, 2008).
My initial interest in identity developed out from teaching Scottish Society which explores four distinct aspects of identity: nation, class, gender and ethnicity. This led to undertaking a study of the English in Scotland, with colleagues, which considered the notion of a ‘hidden' minority as well as discrimination based on voice (see McIntosh et al, 2004a; 2004b; 2005 & 2008).
I have also had a long-standing interest in flatted properties, especially the Scottish tenement, and have examined its management, maintenance and renewal over many years. Of particualr note was a major study of Scottish Housing Action Areas, with Nick Bailey, and a follow on series of international comparative studies for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on private flat management systems which helped contibute to the introduction of Commonhold legislation in England and Wales.
This work has attracted three PhD students who have a direct interest in social identity: Iris Altenberger, undertook a groundbreaking study on the renewal of Raploch, through focusing on the social and visual culture of place; Ian Glen, currently completing an ethnographic study of Fallin, Stirlingshire, exploring class and gendered identities; and, finally, Helen Young who is examining the historic role played by rural schools and female teachers in the construction of communities around Loch Tay.
Robertson D & Young G (2018) An Evaluation of Rent Regulation Measures within Scotland's Private Rented Sector. Shelter Scotland. Edinburgh. https://scotland.shelter.org.uk/professional_resources/policy_library/policy_library_folder/rent_regulation_review
Smyth J & Robertson D (2017) Lost Alternatives to Council Housing? An examination of Stirling's alternative housing initiatives, c. 1906-1939. Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, 37 (2), pp. 117-135. https://doi.org/10.3366/jshs.2017.0216
Douglas R (2016) Berlin has banned homeowners from renting out flats on Airbnb — here’s why. The Conversation. 13.05.2016. https://theconversation.com/berlin-has-banned-homeowners-from-renting-out-flats-on-airbnb-heres-why-59204
Robertson D & Serpa R (2014) Social housing in Scotland. In: Scanlon K, Whitehead C & Fernandez-Arrigoitia M (eds.) Social Housing in Europe. Real Estate Issues. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 43-60. http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118412346.html
Levy-Vroelant C, Reinprecht C, Robertson D & Wassenberg F (2014) Learning from history: Path dependency and change in the social housing sector of Austria, France, the Netherlands and Scotland, 1889-2013. In: Scanlon K, Whitehead C & Fernandez-Arrigoitia M (eds.) Social Housing in Europe. Real Estate Issuess. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 277-296. http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118412346.html
Robertson D (2014) Regeneration and poverty in Scotland: Evidence and policy review. Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Sheffield Hallam University. http://www.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/sites/shu.ac.uk/files/jrf-regeneration-poverty-scotland.pdf
Robertson D (2012) Case Studies. In: Smith S, Elsinga M, Eng O, O'Mahony L & Wachter S (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home. Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp. 117-121. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780080471631006111
Robertson D (2012) Collective Ownership. In: Smith S, Elsinga M, Eng O, O'Mahony L & Wachter S (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home. Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp. 180-185. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780080471631000485
Robertson D (2011) The state of Scottish housing and how we change it. In: Hassan G & Ilett R (eds.) Radical Scotland: Arguments for Self-Determination. Edinburgh: Luath Press, pp. 160-172. http://www.luath.co.uk/radical-scotland-arguments-for-self-determination.html
Robertson D (2010) Disinterested developers, empowered managers and vulnerable owners: Power relations in multi-occupied private housing in Scotland. In: Blandy S, Dupuis A A & Dixon J J (eds.) Multi-Owned Housing: Law, Power and Practice. Farnham: Ashgate, pp. 35-52. http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9780754675662
Robertson D & Smyth J (2009) Tackling squalor: Housing’s contribution to the welfare state. In: Rummery K, Greener I & Holden C (eds.) Analysis and debate in social policy, 2009. Social Policy Review, 21. Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 87-108. http://www.policypress.co.uk/display.asp?K=9781847423733&sf1=series_exact&st1=SOCIALPOLICYREVIEW&sort=sort_date/d&ds=Social%20Policy%20Review&m=6&dc=15
McIntosh I, Robertson D & Sim D (2008) English People in Scotland: An Invisible Minority. hors série. Lampeter, Ceredigion: Edwin Mellen Press. http://www.mellenpress.com/mellenpress.cfm?bookid=7450&pc=9
McIntosh I, Robertson D & Sim D (2008) Studying English People in Scotland. In: McIntosh I, Robertson D & Sim D (eds.) English people in Scotland: An invisible minority. Lampeter, Ceredigion: The Edwin Mellen Press, pp. 1-13. http://www.mellenpress.com/mellenpress.cfm?bookid=7450&pc=9
Robertson D (2008) Drawing out the issues. In: Scanlon K & Whitehead C (eds.) Social Housing in Europe II: A review of policies and outcomes. London: LSE London, London School of Economics, pp. 287-299. http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/LSELondon/
Robertson D (2008) Looking into Housing: A Practical Guide to Housing Research. Coventry, UK: Chartered Institute of Housing. http://www.cih.org/publication/display/vpathDCR/templatedata/cih/publication/data/Looking_into_Housing
Robertson D, Smyth J & McIntosh I (2008) The Raploch: A history, people's perceptions and the likely future of a problem housing estate. Architectural Heritage, 19 (1), pp. 83-97. https://doi.org/10.3366/E1350752408000095
Robertson D (2008) Propos d’étape. In: Mboumoua I & Tutin C (eds.) L’avenir du logement social en Europe: Acts du colloque. GIS Reseau Socio-Economie de l’habitat European Network for Housing Research: L’avenir du logement social en Europe, Paris, 22.11.2007-23.11.2007. Paris: Reseau Socio-Economie de l’habitat, pp. 127-130. http://sh.colloque.free.fr/textes/synth%C3%A8sefinalelogementsocialenEurope.pdf
Laflame V, Levy-Vroelant C, Robertson D & Smyth J (eds.) (2007) Le logement précaire en Europe: Aux marges du palais. Habitat et Sociétés. Paris: L'Harmattan. http://www.editions-harmattan.fr/index.asp?navig=catalogue&obj=livre&no=24162
Robertson D & Smyth J (2007) L’évolution du logement social en Écosse; de la norme ả la marge. In: Laflamme V, Levy-Vroelant C, Robertson D & Smith J (eds.) Le logement précaire en Europe: Aux marges du palais. Habitat et Sociétés. Paris: L'Harmattan, pp. 63-84. http://www.editions-harmattan.fr/index.asp?navig=catalogue&obj=livre&no=24162
Robertson D (2006) Scotland's new towns: a corporatism experiment. In: Beech J, Hand O, Mulhern M & Weston J (eds.) Scottish Life and Society Volume 9: The Individual and Community Life - A Compendium of Scottish Ethnology. Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers, pp. 372-402. http://www.birlinn.co.uk/search.php?mode=search&page=1
Robertson D (2006) Cultural expectations of homeownership. Explaining changing legal definitions of flat 'ownership' within Britain. Housing Studies, 21 (1), pp. 35-52. https://doi.org/10.1080/02673030500391080
Robertson D (2005) Changing the culture of buying and selling houses in England: Introducing a consumer focus to the real estate market. Annals of the University of Craiova. Economic Sciences Series, 2005.
Robertson D, McIntosh I & Sim D (2005) The English in Scotland: Focusing on an invisible minority. In: Beech J, Hand O, Mulhern M & Weston J (eds.) Scottish Life and Society Volume 9: The Individual and Community Life - A Compendium of Scottish Ethnology. Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers, pp. 575-603. http://www.birlinn.co.uk/Scottish-Life-and-Society-The-Individual-and-Community-Life-9780859766326.html
Robertson D (2005) From hovels to houses, but why not homes?. In: MacAskill K (ed.) Agenda for a New Scotland: Visions of Scotland 2020. Edinburgh: Luath Press. http://www.luath.co.uk/agenda-for-a-new-scotland.html
McIntosh I, Sim D & Robertson D (2004) 'We Hate the English, Except for You, Cos You're Our Pal': Identification of the 'English' in Scotland. Sociology, 38 (1), pp. 43-59. https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038504039360
Robertson D (2003) The Potential Impact of the Home Information Pack in Low Demand Low Value Housing Markets. Deputy Prime Minister's Office. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. http://dclg.koha-ptfs.co.uk/vufind/Record/23894
Robertson D & Whitehead J (2003) Buyers and sellers perspectives of home information packs in low demand low value housing markets: a report to The Office of The Deputy Prime Minister. Deputy Prime Minister's Office. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. http://dclg.koha-ptfs.co.uk/vufind/Record/23893
Robertson D (2003) Urban exodus: Why the Jews left Boston and the Catholics stayed. Review of: Urban Exodus: Why the Jews Left Boston and the Catholics Stayed, Gerald Gamm, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001, 384 pp. ISBN 0 674 00558 9. Urban Studies, 40 (1), pp. 181-183. https://doi.org/10.1080/00420980220080231
Wagstaff M & Robertson D (2002) Evaluation of a Pilot Seller's Information Pack: The Bristol Scheme, Final Report. Deputy Prime Minister's Office. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. http://dclg.koha-ptfs.co.uk/vufind/Record/23439
Wagstaff M & Robertson D (2002) Future Developments in Home Buying and Selling. The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). The Council of Mortgage Lenders. http://cml.org.uk/cml/filegrab/pdf_pub_resreps_43full.pdf.pdf?ref=3862
Robertson D & Rosenberry KN (2001) Home Ownership with Responsibility: Practical Governance Remedies For Britain’s Flat Owners. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation and YPS. http://www.jrf.org.uk/system/files/1859352545.pdf
Wagstaff M, Robertson D, Whitehead J & Gibson S (2000) Monitoring Industry Initiatives to Improve the Homebuying and Selling Process. Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions. http://dclg.ptfs-europe.com/AWData/Library1/Departmental%20Publications/Department%20of%20the%20Environment,%20Transport%20and%20the%20Regions/2000/Moniroring%20Industry%20Initiatives%20to%20Improve%20the%20Home%20Buying%20and%20Selling%20Process%20Part%20
Robertson D (2000) Knowing your place: Class identity and its significance in understanding social exclusion. In: Anderson I & Sim D (eds.) Social Exclusion and Housing: Context and Challenges. Chartered Institute of Housing policy and practice series. Coventry: Chartered Institute of Housing and Housing Studies Association, pp. 115-128.
Robertson D (1998) Scotland's new towns: a modernist experiment in state corporatism. In: Foster S, MacInnes A & MacInnes R (eds.) Scottish Power Centres: From the Early Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century. Print Networks, 2. Glasgow: Cruithne Press, pp. 210-239.
Robertson D (1997) The packaging and repackaging of housing policy: A comparative study of renewal coalitions in Glasgow and Edinburgh. In: Källtorp O, Elander I, Ericsson O & Franzén M (eds.) Cities in Transformation - Transformation in Cities: Social and Symbolic Change of Urban Space. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 289-315.
Robertson D (1991) Book Review: Cities, Housing and Profits: Flat Break-up and the Decline of Private Renting. Review of: Cities, Housing and Profits: Flat Break-up and the Decline of Private Renting, Chris Hamnett and Bill Randolph, London: Hutchinson, 1988, 297 pp. ISBN 978-0091732356. Urban Studies, 28 (1), pp. 153-155. https://doi.org/10.1080/00420989120080101
Robertson D (1989) The regeneration of Glasgow: the contribution of community-based housing associations to Glasgow's tenement improvement programme 1964-1984. Scottish Geographical Magazine, 105 (2), pp. 67-75. https://doi.org/10.1080/00369228918736758
Robertson D (1988) The role of voluntary housing organisation in the Government's new urban strategy. In: Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (ed.) The New Urban Strategy: What Role for the Voluntary Sector?. Edinburgh: SCVO.
Robertson D & MacGregor BD (1987) Rural housing in Scotland: an assessment of the issues. In: McGregor B, Robertson D & Shucksmith M (eds.) Rural Housing in Scotland: Recent Research and Policy. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, pp. 9-16.
MacGregor BD & Robertson D (1987) An agenda for policy and research for rural housing in Scotland. In: MacGregor B, Robertson D & Shucksmith M (eds.) Rural Housing in Scotland: Recent Research and Policy. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, pp. 185-192.