Care and dispossession: contradictory practices and outcomes of care in forced public housing relocations

Kristian Ruming*, Maria de Lourdes Melo Zurita

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


We examine the contradictory practices of care surrounding forced relocation of public housing residents. Our case study is the Ivanhoe public housing estate, located in Sydney, Australia. In 2015 the New South Wales State Government announced that the estate would be redeveloped and all residents relocated. We explore two separate, yet inter-connected, scales of care. First, we explore how policy and program spaces were opened up during the relocation process, allowing care practices to be enacted. Second, we explore the care practices of relocation officers. We examine how relocation officers went “above and beyond” to care for residents at a stressful period in their life. However, we argue that the practices do not meet the definition of care put forward by Tronto (1993) as they do not “maintain, continue, and repair” on an ongoing basis. Rather, we argue that care has been mobilised as a means of efficiently facilitating relocation and redevelopment. The process of forced relocation cancels existing care spaces and practices. Care practices emerge as tools of a neoliberal government seeking to relocate a disadvantaged community in an effort to facilitate public-private development. These care practices result in dispossession, which benefits private and government interests via redevelopment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102572
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Care
  • Forced relocation
  • Public housing
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Urban regeneration


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