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Title page for ETD etd-04022007-151501

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Nelson, Michael Henry
Author's Email Address m.nelson@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-04022007-151501
Title Housing Advocacy and Political Change: An Interview Case Study in Historical Perspective
Degree Master of Science
Department Community Research and Action
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Paul Speer Committee Co-Chair
William Partridge Committee Co-Chair
  • housing policy
  • advocacy
Date of Defense 2007-03-30
Availability unrestricted
This thesis uses thirteen interviews with low-income housing advocates to place current housing advocacy practice in its historical context of the last 150 years. Historically, housing policy has become more progressive when two conditions are present: one, urban social unrest and, two, professional housing advocacy. However, once major successes were made during the sixties, neoliberal federal policy changes put advocates on the defensive. Analysis of the interviews indicates that preferred strategy of housing policy modification differed along participants’ social position and level of investment in the current system, level of outrage, and belief in democratic agency. Four main strategies of advocacy work were found, each differed to the extent it was public as opposed to private. The four strategies were: educating and mobilizing the public, educating public officials, lobbying public officials, and mobilizing private organizations. Advocates most invested in the current system of property relations promoted the least public forms of action, while those on the margins promoted the most public forms of action. Theoretical and practical implications for advocacy, political economics, and democratic theory are discussed.
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