Deakin University
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'Build it, fill it and bill it' : how work in the public housing sector has changed (and stayed the same)

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conference contribution
posted on 2010-01-01, 00:00 authored by Tony ChalkleyTony Chalkley
This paper is an ethnographic account of how 'wicked' (i.e. entrenched and enduring) problems with the 'building, filling and billing' of public housing have shaped and influenced the work of public housing workers in Victoria, Australia. With a few exceptions, the front line work of housing staff is represented in the literature as smaller, constituent parts of some larger policy process, organisational event or procedural reform. In order to understand how housing work has been constructed over time, this paper attempts to consolidate these fragmented narratives (contained in old documents, training manuals, news articles and reports) into an historical account of 'what it was like' to work in the public/social housing sector. In this paper, I will construct this 'historical account' with the stories I gathered over twelve months of field work in three different public housing offices. In their stories, public housing workers tell me how subtle and incremental has been the change to their work, how increasingly complex are the needs of tenants and how dfficult their work has become. Their stories illustrate the complexity of undersdanding and addressing these 'wicked' housing problems when tenants change, staff change and
the public housing sector has a history of frequent 'restructuring'. This contextualisation of 'old and new stories' will allow the reader to understand how the organisational reality of present day housing work has been socially constructed ('sedimented') by generation, of workers, managers and tenants.



European Network for Housing Research Conference (22nd : Instanbul, Turkey)


1 - 18




Istanbul, Turkey

Place of publication

[Instanbul, Turkey]

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End date




Publication classification

E2 Full written paper - non-refereed / Abstract reviewed

Copyright notice

2010, The Authors

Title of proceedings

ENHR 2010 : Proceedings of the 22nd International Housing Research Conference : Urban Dynamics and Housing Change : Crossing into the 2nd Decade of the 3rd Millennium.

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