Handbook on Global Social Justice
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Handbook on Global Social Justice

Edited by Gary Craig

In the fifty years since Rawls seminal work A Theory of Justice, the concept has been debated with those on the political right and left advocating very different understandings. This unique global collection, written by a group of international experts, offers wide-ranging analyses of the meaning of social justice that challenge the ability of the market to provide social justice for all. The Handbook also looks at how the theory of social justice informs practice within a range of occupations or welfare divisions.
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Chapter 27: Housing and social justice

Peter Somerville


This chapter evaluates housing policy in relation to principles of social justice. It is not about resistance or alternatives to neoliberal housing policy, nor is it about setting future directions for housing policy and practice. Housing policy, as with social policy and public policy more generally, is dominated by neoliberal interpretations of social justice principles. There are many interpretations, but they have in common a belief that the fairest (or perhaps least unfair) society is one in which capital is able to move freely, being invested in whatever activities produce the most profit. A just society in this framework is understood to be one in which markets are free from state interference and people receive rewards that match their contributions. Perhaps the main problem with neoliberal social justice, which is discussed in this chapter in relation to housing, is that it misrecognises the nature of capitalist exploitation and domination that is fundamentally responsible for social inequality.

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