Everyday Discourses of Support and Resistance: The Case of the Australian Social Housing Initiative

Kristian Ruming*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Discourse analysis has a long history in housing studies and is used to explore the role of language in determining meaning and power in the urban policy field. This study explores the competing discourses used to frame new social housing construction in Australia under the Social Housing Initiative, introduced as part of the National Building Economic Stimulus Plan. Drawing on interviews with stakeholders (n=152) conducted at 21 developments, discourse analysis reveals a series of discursive themes used to represent, support and challenge new social housing provision. Negative, mixed and positive discourses emerge - Housing Commission as negative; public/social housing as mixed; community housing as more positive. Each discourse provides a unique representation of the sociocultural, physical or economic values of social housing. The language used reflects the dominant status of home ownership in Australia and the extent to which each of these discursive groupings differ from or align with the ideal of home ownership. While failing to dislodge the powerful status of home ownership, it revealed how the mobilization of discourses which align social housing with the dominant ownership discourse might offer an opportunity for addressing tenure- and place-based stigmatization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-471
Number of pages22
JournalHousing, Theory and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Everyday Discourses of Support and Resistance: The Case of the Australian Social Housing Initiative'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this