Assembling a 'kind of' home in the UK private renting sector



Soaita AM & McKee K (2019) Assembling a 'kind of' home in the UK private renting sector. Geoforum, 103, pp. 148-157.

Drawing on assemblage-thinking and specific assemblage concepts, this article explores the ways in which young, less affluent people create a sense of home in an unregulated, market- based private renting sector (PRS) that confers reduced tenant agency and frequent, undesired residential mobility. For this context, we propose the concept of „home-assembling‟ to account for the ontologically, normatively and emotionally different processes involved in constructing a sense of home than those connoted by home-making. Through in-depth telephone interviews and photo elicitation, we explore: the transient, incomplete nature of practices of home personalization; the destabilizing effect of broken things which erodes the sense of home and instils feelings of unworthiness; and processes of de-territorialisation, particularly unwanted real/feared relocation, space sharing and confinement in small rooms. We document that the struggle to continually assemble, de- assemble and re-assemble a sense of home drastically reduces private tenants‟ wellbeing through stress, anxiety, depression and alienation. However, we also indicate potential lines of change towards alternative futures not least by the emergence of a tenants‟ „collective body‟ as well as by casting tenants‟ housing ill-being as a matter of public concern.

assemblage theory; home making; private renting sector; United Kingdom

Geoforum: Volume 103

FundersESRC Economic and Social Research Council
Publication date31/07/2019
Publication date online11/05/2019
Date accepted by journal18/04/2019

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Dr Kim McKee

Dr Kim McKee

Senior Lecturer, Housing Studies

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