Rethoric of housing and social construction of housing policy
The reappearance of the housing question in the public debate in Italy invites various questions about the categories adopted and their effectiveness in dealing with the new terms of the question. Everywhere in Europe the reappearance of new forms of housing deprivation from the ’70s has deeply changed the housing question and this makes even more evident the limitations of the traditional structure of social housing policies. In all countries, the selection of target populations has been weakened by considerable elements of irrationality and great limitations in terms of social adequacy: redistributive inadequacy and scarce effectiveness as regards some components of the population in need. The most remarkable has been the exclusion of poor and marginal groups of population from the benefits of housing social policy. The crisis of housing policy in the ’79s and ’80s opened a new space for making housing policy more «social». The coming of new practices, in contradiction with many traditional policy notions, offered new opportunities to get over the social limitations of policies and to improve their consistency with the needs and experience of dwellers. In this perspective the debate regained an idea which had a long tradition in the critical thinking on housing: that – further than its physicality and «object» nature – «housing» is act – meaning, action, relationship. The article argues that these principles – whose influence on policies so far has been very scarce – can work as a real counter-model even to-day and that the current risk of a new «differentialism» in housing urges reconsideration of their potentiality for housing policies.