Neoliberal Nomads: Housing Insecurity and the Revival of Private Renting in the UK

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This paper offers a critical analysis, including insights from the fledgling sub-discipline of neurosociology, with the aim of challenging some of the key assumptions informing the state supported revival of the UK private rented sector (PRS) as a mainstream form of housing tenure. As is widely recognised, the PRS's expansion has occurred in tandem with the long running decline of social housing and the more recent reversal in the longstanding trend towards increasing owner occupation. This paper asserts that the policies supporting this overall trend are misconceived on a number of fronts, as the loosely regulated UK private rented sector is not only a major contributor to the country's ongoing housing crisis but carries with it a range of unacknowledged economic and social problems including profound effects on personal well-being, some fairly evident and others less so. With respect to the latter, it is argued that coming to an understanding of the negative implications of private renting in the UK under current arrangements, in addition to the more evident issues associated with poor condition and high cost accommodation, also requires an appreciation of the deeper psycho-social effects of involuntary mobility, insecurity and socio-spatial dislocation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number4
Early online date1 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • Landlordism
  • Neoliberalism
  • Housing
  • ''Generation Rent''
  • Precarity
  • Neurosociology


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