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Our Project

DOC-team 114: The Contested Provisioning of Care and Housing

Funded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) as "DOC-team 114", our project develops a framework to jointly and interdisciplinary investigate the provision of senior care and housing in three European countries: Austria, Hungary, and the Netherlands. Despite being seldomly investigated together, care and housing as well as their related crises are co-constitutive: housing means living in a place which is always entangled with caring – not only for others, but also for one’s own habitation, the residential environment, and local communities. Caring, therefore, is not restricted to one’s own place of living, but shapes and is shaped by spatial relations – be it specific localities or transnational networks. Care and care work are provided in a specific built environment with different configurations of housing, depending on appropriate infrastructures, including buildings, retailing, green and leisure facilities.

We argue that there are two simultaneous tendencies happening in both fields. On the one hand, the increasing importance of market-based mechanisms to tackle care and housing crises. This goes along with dynamics of commodification and marketisation. On the other hand, the growing significance of innovative, community-based forms of care and housing provision. While, at times, showing contradictory dynamics, these tendencies change the way societies organize care and housing and (re)produce inequalities along the lines of gender, race, class and age. This makes the provision of care, as well as housing a contested terrain.

The project raises the question of how and why these dynamics (might) differ in the three countries and two fields under investigation. Our goal is to relate forms of marketization and communitisation across disciplines, fields and cases. Since the provision of care and housing depends on the varying relationship of state, market, civil society, and individuals, different economic, social, political, and cultural logics are of crucial importance.

Consequently, we combine insights from sociology, philosophy, socio-economics, and economic geography and situate our research within the interdisciplinary research fields of the International Sociology of Care and Housing Studies. In order to do so, we employ a joint theoretical perspective, based on Karl Polanyi's writing and the neo-institutionalist Institutional Logics perspective.

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