Accepted Paper:

Looking for a house to govern: occupying and living in a public housing in contemporary Milan  

Author:

Giacomo Pozzi (University IULM)

Paper short abstract:

Based on an ethnographic study in Milan, the paper explores ideas of ownership of a house in certain public housing neighbourhoods in the city. In what way can squatting practices and public housing assignation policies transform the ideas of house property and home loss?

Paper long abstract:

In the Italian context, buying a home is considered one of the most important economic, social and cultural investments in people's lives. Local, regional and national policies, as well as the inhabitants' imaginary, tend to convey and reinforce the idea that ownership of a house represents a source of psychological and economic stability for the majority of Italian citizens. Specifically, it is seen as offering the ability to have a good future.

The recent economic crisis has not only hindered the purchase of new housing, but in many cases it has made it impossible to meet rent costs; in 2014, 13,000 evictions were recorded in the city of Milan. This "housing crisis" has strengthened social movements that deal with the right to housing. Based on an ethnographic study in progress in the city of Milan, the paper explores different ideas of " ownership" of a house in certain public housing neighbourhoods in the city.

In what way can squatting practices and public housing assignation policies transform the ideas of house property and home loss? Included by socio-economic exclusion, a part of the population of Milan finds itself in a position to construct new forms of access to housing; others, who use the local welfare housing services, face situations of marginalisation, hardship and loss. In both cases, the problems of access reveal a complex and contradictory dialectical relationship between ideas and practices of dwelling.

Panel P035
Home loss: house-ownership and credit in the austerity regime