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Accepted Paper:

Private hostels in Czechia as arenas of state´s fight against the poverty, people living in poverty and poverty business  
Kateřina Čanigová (Masaryk University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses the failure of social welfare state on the example of private hostels. Insufficient and inhumane temporary housing for the most marginalized, mainly Roma people. It shows how regulations of welfare system can instead of protecting cause risks and operate as a social control.

Paper long abstract:

Private hostels – tiny apartments located in socially excluded areas owned by “slumlords” are the answer to low capacity of social housing and discriminatory housing market in Czechia. The apartments and hostels have insufficient living conditions and low hygiene standards. They are inhabited temporarily as the last option before living rough. Roma people rent accommodation in private hostels at extremely high prices. The result of this situation is growing poverty business based on renting private hostels. Through its measures and regulations, the state aim to „fight against poverty businessmen”. This fight become the official state social policy.

With the help of collected interviews with Roma women the paper shows how these measures directly negatively affect people living in poverty and how the social policy is gendered and racialized. Welfare system is being revised with stricter conditions for people who are recipients of social benefits to other forms as workfare, prisonfare or centaur state (Wacquant, 2009; 2010) The welfare state not only fails to protect and take care of the marginalized, but deepens the housing precarity crisis and increases the risks of poverty.

At the same time the state is dependent on private hostels, as there is no standard housing available for Roma. The paper observes the switch from protecting to punishing the poor. We can see this trend worldwide, here I present it on the example of private hostels and the fight against them.

Panel P069b
Inhabiting liminality. Housing precarity in its spatial, political and social dimensions II
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -