The True Radicalism of the Right to Housing
British Academy Review, Issue 21, January 2013
5 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2013
Date Written: January 8, 2013
This article argues that while a human right to housing is often posited as too radical, stretching the human rights corpus beyond its appropriate shape, the way in which the right to housing has been interpreted by courts and by those international bodies responsible for developing it appears to hold no such radicalism. Instead, the right emerges as a thin concept, which carries little risk – or promise – within it. Here, I suggest that the right to housing is indeed radical. However, this radicalism does not lie in the fears generally expressed about the right (which can be categorised as political and economic), but in its radical social implications. I sketch this radical potential here in three case studies: women's social roles; housing, citizenship, and community; and housing and indigenous/minority identity.
Keywords: housing, human rights, right to housing, social change, women, indigenous, identity, gender, citizenship, community, minority
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