Hysteresis: Understanding the Housing Aspirations Gap


Crawford J & McKee K (2018) Hysteresis: Understanding the Housing Aspirations Gap. Sociology, 52 (1), pp. 182-197.

Drawing on qualitative research on housing aspirations in Scotland, the objectives of this article are threefold. Firstly, this article will contextualise the subject of housing aspirations within relevant research literature and situate it within wider debates which revolve around the relationship between housing and social class. Secondly, in order to understand the implications of the research, this article uses Bourdieu's notion of 'sociodicy' to help explain the 'social' reasons which incline people to have housing aspirations. Thirdly, the data will be analysed to understand the differences in 'aspirations' between groups, concluding that the generational differences, which correspond to the epochal changes in the economy, are more important than class differences when understanding the uneven distribution of housing outcomes and housing wealth in developed societies. The article concludes that the Bourdieusian concept of hysteresis explains the gap between the subjective expectations of young 'professionals' and the objective chances of their realisation.

Bourdieu; generation rent; home ownership; housing aspirations; social class

Sociology: Volume 52, Issue 1

FundersScottish Government
Publication date01/02/2018
Publication date online11/08/2016
Date accepted by journal01/07/2016
PublisherSAGE Publications

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