Comparative housing research: a 'system-embedded' approach

Mark Stephens

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    This paper seeks to rebuild and strengthen the case for policy-related comparative housing research as an academic activity. Critiques that have discouraged the practice of international research have undermined its legitimacy whilst eroding the evidence base, and have devalued its function through the use of value-laden language and unevidenced assertions. While ‘glocalisation’ presents a challenge to cross-national research we argue that nation states are still policy resource rich, and that the existence of distinctive national
    institutions through which common international pressures are mediated strengthens the case for it. Building on an examination of the distinctive qualities of housing compared to the main ‘pillars’ of the welfare state, we make the case for what we call ‘system-embedded research’.
    This marks a development from existing ‘middle ways’, being founded on the principle that
    policy is conceived within wider housing systems and housing systems themselves operate
    within wider social and economic structures. Through contrasting case studies we show that
    if founded on the principle of being system-embedded, policy-related comparative housing
    research can reap high rewards; but if it does not it carries grave risks.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMeaning and Measurement in Comparative Housing Research
    EditorsMark Stephens, Michelle Norris
    Number of pages19
    ISBN (Print)9781138000667
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • comparative housing research
    • comparative methods
    • housing
    • policy transfer


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