Accepted Paper:

'Co-opportunistic' mobility: experiencing social housing in London  


Patrick LAVIOLETTE (FSS, MUNI, Masaryk Univ.)

Paper short abstract:

Domestic mobility; alternative tenancy; co-operative social housing; opportunism; alienability; gender identities; placelessness. This ethnographic case study examines these issues from conceptual and methodological perspectives grounded in both auto-biography as well as an 'archaeology of the contemporary past'.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores the dynamics of temporary urban residency. It looks at the relationships between domesticity, mobility and improvisational housing - all relevant to Britain's housing crisis. The paper empirically tackles the issue of transient co-operative residency from a perspective grounded in auto-biographical anthropology. Hence, I offer a reflexive ethnographic description of 'short-life' co-op living based on a five year account of managing vacant properties that await refurbishment or re-development by two major Charitable Housing Trusts based in West London. In questioning how tenants deal with the constant threat of having to move, I ask how members of a short-life housing co-op create their own sense of self and stability through a temporary form of accommodation. My goal is thus to investigate how these co-op tenants appropriate space, relocate themselves and cope with transient domestic alienability. In so doing, I examine how they perform their senses of belonging through moving and short-term habitation. Here, the members are domestic bricoleurs and most of them become masters of movement. The creative formulation of individual and community identities are central to the wider understanding and implications of residential instability, alternative lifestyles and the general underlying ethos of co-operative organisations.

Panel IW01
Mobility: frictions and flows