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Untitled Document
Home Ownership and Globalisation

Created in 2005


Caroline Dewilde
University of Tilburg
Department of Sociology
Tilburg, The Netherlands
John Doling
College of Social Sciences
University of Birmingham
Birmingham, UK
Richard Ronald
Centre for Urban Studies
University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Upcoming event: Home ownership in transition
11-12 May 2017 at University of Granada (Spain)
While homeownership once represented a bedrock of ontological and economic security and was central in the advance of ‘middle-class society’, owner-occupation has become increasingly fragmented as a tenure and vulnerable to economic volatility. In many countries, owner-occupancy rates have begun decline and at a more universal level the advantages of ownership, especially the economic ones, have become increasingly uneven. In this seminar we consider emerging patterns and contemporary trends in home ownership and housing systems and ask what these changes mean. We invite the submission of abstracts of papers (only in English) that provide new empirical and/or theoretical insights on home ownership, especially those that reflect on the wider cultural, socioeconomic and political implications of shifting housing wealth and tenure distributions in different countries, cities and regions.
Abstract deadline = 15 April. Submission to Barend Wind b.j.wind@uvt.nl

Description of the Working Group (central theme)
This working-group was in part established around a group of researchers who have participated in a number of EU-funded projects, three of which have now been completed: Home Ownership, Social and Economic Problems (HOSE), Origins of Security and Insecurity: the interplay of housing systems with jobs, household structures, finance and social security (OSIS), and Demographic Change and Housing Wealth (DEMHOW). A further project NEUJOBS (involving OTB Delft and University and Birmingham) was completed in 2015. Collectively, these projects were largely concerned with understanding and explaining the relationships between globalisation and home ownership markets as they have been emerging in Europe. Research has attempted to mutually and interactively map the main developments in labour and financial markets, social security systems and housing markets.

Attention has also been given to security and insecurity within home ownership and the implications for individuals and society. Research has addressed, firstly, the factors that have impacted upon individual households which have had consequences for their position as home owners, and secondly, how households have perceived security and insecurity, and the advantages and disadvantages of different housing positions. A specific concern was how these perceptions have moulded personal strategies with respect not only to housing, but also to matters such as jobs, family size, education and pensions, and how those positions have provided them with material security or insecurity. This has contributed to understanding of the ways in which housing systems contribute to, and detract from, the EU’s growth and employment agenda .

The most recent – ongoing – projects underpinning the working group are two European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant Projects that started in early 2012: HOUWEL (University of Amsterdam) and HOWCOME (Tilburg University).  The projects also address home ownership, but in context of social transformations and in relation to, respectively, welfare systems/relations and structures of social inequality. HOUWEL (http://houwel.uva.nl/), led by Richard Ronald, concerns housing markets and welfare state transformations. The study specifically addresses, in diverse comparative contexts, how family housing property practices and conditions are reshaping welfare regimes. The second is HOWCOME (www.tilburguniversity.edu/howcome), headed by Caroline Dewilde, which is looking at the interplay of changes in housing regimes and trends in social and economic inequality in advanced welfare democracies. The focus is the interaction between causes and consequences of risk and inequality in different institutional settings.

Future plans
It is expected that a meeting of the Working group will be held next in the spring of 2017. A particular date and location has not yet been decided. Members however met informally at the ENHR main conference in Belfast and at a conference on Housing Wealth and Welfare held at the University of Amsterdam in May 2016. About 65 participants attended this 2-day conference. The Home Ownership and Globalisation group will continue to meet outside of the main ENHR meetings.

Summary of the activities of the past few years
Partly on the basis of the results of the HOSE, OSIS and DEMHOW projects, five successful workshops were organised at the ENHR conferences in Cambridge (2004), Reykjavik (2005), Ljubljana (2006), and Rotterdam (2007) and three working group meetings were held in Delft (2006, 2008 & 2012). Five books associated with these meetings have been published by DUP Science and IOS Press: Globalisation and home ownership (2004); Home ownership: getting in, getting from and getting out, part I (2005), part II (2006) and part III (2010); The social limits of growth (2006); Home ownership beyond asset and security (2007). Other related volumes include Beyond home ownership (Routledge, 2012) and Demographic Change and Housing Wealth (Springer Publishers, 2012) .

A working group meeting was organised in autumn 2012 in Delft. At this meeting new activities and projects on the topic of the working-group were communicated: the FP7 project NEUJOBS, the final book on DEMHOW and the two new ERC projects HOUWEL and HOWCOME. Caroline Dewilde was co-organizer of the annual ECSR-conference (European Consortium for Sociological Research) which is organized at Tilburg University from 14-16th for October 2013. This conference hosted several sessions on Housing and Inequality – a call for papers was posted on the ENHR-website. Richard Ronald chaired the ISA RC43 conference in Amsterdam between July 10th and 11th. The theme of the conference was ‘At Home in the Housing Market’ and focused on the on-going financialisation of housing in the post-crisis era.

The working group ran a workshop in Paris in May 2014, about  home ownership and housing wealth. The main focus was on the impact of both long-term and more recent (i.e. the Financial Crisis) changes in housing regimes – albeit idiosyncratic and path-dependent – on housing and welfare outcomes across developed societies. The aim was to identify  ‘links’ and ‘linking mechanisms’ between broader social changes (including changes in housing provision) and welfare state transformations, as well as between institutional changes and housing and welfare outcomes (e.g. through a change in the meanings and uses of housing wealth, through sustained policy choices and restructuring of welfare states, through specific housing market dynamics).  Further details of the workshop including abstracts and presentations can be found at: http://houwel.uva.nl/workshop/workshop.html.

 Based on the workshop presentations, an edited volume on ‘Housing Wealth and Welfare’ is to be published by Edward Elgar Press in February 2017. The edited book addresses housing wealth and welfare relationships across various developed societies, and interprets the concept of ‘welfare’ in its diverse manifestations and meanings, i.e. welfare provision, but also well-being, inequality and poverty. In this sense, the book extends on previously edited volumes and brings together a more varied range of authors from different disciplines.

The working group also ran a workshop in May 2015 at the University of Bucharest, Romania. Entitled ‘The Shifting Context of Home Ownership’, the workshop was informed by the transformation over the last decade in the social, economic and political roles of housing markets and owner-occupation. Support of home ownership as a social project, characteristic of the 1980s and early-1990s, has been largely subsumed by a more neoliberal one demanding even greater efforts to both promote market housing and sustain housing markets. This has had a remarkable impact on the nature of state housing interventions, on the one hand, and the mobilization of families around the acquisition and distribution of housing goods and assets, on the other. Both governments and households have had to adapt to new conditions and adopt new expectations of homes, housing careers and property markets. At the same time, the impact of new global imperatives have been mediated by historical contingencies, socio-cultural practices and geographic dynamics that vary remarkably from country to country and city to city. The domestic and political economies of home ownership are thus being renegotiated in different contexts with significant outcomes in patterns of inequality. The three-day workshop, attended by 24 researchers presenting 18 papers, engaged with new theoretical developments and the latest empirical research that inform the complex relationships between housing and society, and in particular systems of, and differentiation in, home ownership practices.

Policy implications
The NEUJOBS project, funded by the EU, had a specific role in informing policy makers at the EU wide and member state levels of the future labour market outcomes of developments in housing markets, especially related to home ownership. A series of dissemination events have been held and policy briefs produced. The papers presented at the Bucharest workshop informed policies relating to the development of home ownership sectors. For the conference on ‘Housing Wealth and Welfare’, policy-makers from different regional levels (cities, countries, European Union) were invited.