The ‘‘Roll’’ of the State: Government, Neoliberalism and Housing Assistance in Four Advanced Economies
The neoliberal restructuring of government policies in developed nations since the 1970s has stimulated many observers to observe the "roll back" of the state from social assistance, including housing. Some suggest that the "roll out" of new forms of state activity are occurring. This paper argues that perceptions of "roll back" and "roll out" arise from a particular conception of the capacity of the state that focuses on apparent state action over discursive production. A modified version of governmentality theory is deployed to demonstrate that despite perceptions of a weakening state housing assistance presence in Australia, the UK, the Netherlands and New Zealand, the conceptive and discursive role of the state has remained strong. The paper concludes by arguing that greater appreciation of the persistent pragmatic capacity of the state to define the objects, subjects and relationships of housing policy fruitfully illuminates the condition of the state under neoliberalism.
Housing, Theory and Society
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