The Contested Provisioning of Care and Housing

Amplified by the Covid-Pandemic, symptoms of housing and care crises are all around us. Not only did the recent experience highlight the inherent fragilities of these societal systems and intensified associated inequalities, but it also increased the awareness of how crucial care and housing as well as their interdependencies are for human flourishing.

Funded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) as "Doc-team 114", our project, thus, develops a framework to jointly and interdisciplinary investigate the provision of elderly care and housing in three European cities: Vienna, Amsterdam, and Budapest.

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. Both tendencies show conflicting and, at times, contradictory dynamics. As such, they 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 cities and two fields under investigation. Our goal is to relate forms of marketization and communitarisation 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. We therefore believe that our research object requires a comparative and interdisciplinary approach. Consequently, we combine insights from sociology, 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.

The project is funded for three years and has started in August 2021.

For a more detailed description of our approach, please access our first working paper.

Wohngebäude
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Kran Gerüste 2