'Housing Problems … are Political Dynamite': Housing Disputes in Glasgow c. 1971 to the Present Day


Wright V (2018) 'Housing Problems … are Political Dynamite': Housing Disputes in Glasgow c. 1971 to the Present Day. Sociological Research Online.

Historically, it has often been easy for those in power, whether in local or national government, to try and ignore the concerns of those that lived in the housing stock they owned and managed. This was especially true in the context of increasing stigmatisation and ‘residualisation’ of council housing from the 1970s. There are obvious continuities evident in the neglect which led to the fire at Grenfell tower last year. The justified anger and activism both before and following the loss of life at Grenfell has historical precedents throughout the UK. This article takes a case study approach to analyse the campaigns undertaken by community groups in Glasgow from the 1970s and beyond to highlight the council’s blatant attempts to blame the residents for its failures. This was not a new strategy for Glasgow’s municipal authorities, which had been struggling with some of the highest levels of overcrowding in the UK for decades. Persistent narratives which stigmatised residents in the city’s inner city and peripheral housing estates helped the authorities to try and minimise or dismiss demands for housing improvements. This article highlights how activists in the Gorbals and Castlemilk fought back by drawing public attention to the conditions in which they were living. There are lessons to be learned from their methods and tactics, a heritage currently being drawn upon by housing activists in Glasgow today.

agency; community activism; council housing; Glasgow; history; housing; protest; social housing

Sociological Research Online

FundersUniversity of Glasgow
Publication date20/06/2018
Publication date online20/06/2018
Date accepted by journal07/05/2018
PublisherSAGE Publications