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The Right to Housing

Law, Concepts, Possibilities

By: Jessie Hohmann
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Published: 01-03-2013
Format: EPUB eBook (?)
Edition: 1st
Extent: 286
ISBN: 9781782250999
Imprint: Hart Publishing
RRP: £26.99
Online price : £21.59
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About The Right to Housing

A human right to housing represents the law's most direct and overt protection of housing and home. Unlike other human rights, through which the home incidentally receives protection and attention, the right to housing raises housing itself to the position of primary importance. However, the meaning, content, scope and even existence of a right to housing raise vexed questions.

Drawing on insights from disciplines including law, anthropology, political theory, philosophy and geography, this book is both a contribution to the state of knowledge on the right to housing, and an entry into the broader human rights debate. It addresses profound questions on the role of human rights in belonging and citizenship, the formation of identity, the perpetuation of forms of social organisation and, ultimately, of the relationship between the individual and the state. The book addresses the legal, theoretical and conceptual issues, providing a deep analysis of the right to housing within and beyond human rights law. Structured in three parts, the book outlines the right to housing in international law and in key national legal systems; examines the most important concepts of housing: space, privacy and identity and, finally, looks at the potential of the right to alleviate human misery, marginalisation and deprivation.

The book represents a major contribution to the scholarship on an under-studied and ill-defined right. In terms of content, it provides a much needed exploration of the right to housing. In approach it offers a new framework for argument within which the right to housing, as well as other under-theorised and contested rights, can be reconsidered, reconnecting human rights with the social conditions of their violation, and hence with the reasons for their existence.

Shortlisted for The Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship 2013.

Table Of Contents

Introduction. The Right to Housing: Law, Concepts, Possibilities
I Assumptions, Definitions, Scope
1 The Right to Housing in the International Bill of Rights
I Introduction
II Universal Declaration of Human Rights
III International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
IV International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
2 The Right to Housing in Subject-Specific International Conventions
I Introduction
II Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
III Convention on the Rights of the Child
IV Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
V Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment
VI Conclusion
3 The Right to Housing in Regional Covenants
I Introduction
II The Right to Housing in Europe
III African Regional Housing Rights
IV Inter-American Human Rights System
V Arab Charter on Human Rights
VI Conclusions on the Regional Protection of the Right to Housing
4 The Right to Housing as a Constitutional Right: South African and Indian Experiences
I Introduction
II A Justiciable Right to Housing: the South African Approach
III The Right to Housing as a Right to Life: the Indian Approach
5 The De-radicalised Right to Housing: An Assessment of Interpretive Failings
I Introduction
II Gaps and Weaknesses in the Legal Interpretation of the Right to Housing
III Conclusion
6 Privacy
I Introduction
II Public/Private and the Operation of Law in the Creation of Homelessness
III Visible Homelessness of Street and Pavement Dwellers and Deprivation of the Private
IV Women's Essential Homelessness and Enforced Privacy
V Erasing the Public/Private Distinction and the Hidden Homelessness of Domestic Workers
VI Conclusion: Homelessness, Rightlessness and the Right to Housing as Social Belonging
7 Identity
I Introduction
II Promoting Identity: Constituting Personhood and Community through Housing
III Constraining and Erasing Identities: Housing as Social Control
IV Conclusion
8 Space
I Introduction: the Spatiality of Rights
II Housing as Social Control/Housing as Social Transformation
III Mumbai: Housing, Rights, Citizenship, Space
IV Vision Mumbai and the Planning of Social Transformation
V Conclusion: the Boundaries of Spatial Analysis and the Possibilities of the Right to Housing
9 Possibilities, Politics, Law
I The Right to Housing: Illustrating Ambivalence in Human Rights for Social Transformation
II Institutional Mythologies and the Hidden Politics of Human Rights
III The Ownership of Rights
IV Conclusion: Human Rights Utopia and Fundamental Human Equality


“…a major mile-stone in human rights literature and adds considerably to discourse concerning the right to housing in the United Kingdom and beyond…As well as being of interest to those who engage with the right to housing within the legal regimes considered, the philosophical reflections on the right to housing, and its place within broader human rights discourse, offered by the text will undoubtedly interest academics and students alike. In summation The Right to Housing: Law, Concepts, Possibilities by Jessie Hohmann is a must-read text for those interested in human rights and the right to housing.” –  Mark Jordan, Cambridge Journal of International & Comparative Law, Volume 2. No.3

“Jessie Hohmann provides an insightful and sophisticated analysis of the meaning, content, scope and nature of housing rights…While rooted in a legal analysis, she draws on a range of disciplines including anthropology, political theory, philosophy, and geography, to create a major contribution to knowledge in this area…For anyone with any sustained interest in the right to housing this book is invaluable. Well-written, concise, well researched and structured, it is essential reading for lawyers, academics, advocates, and policy makers.” –  Padraic Kenna, European Journal of Homelessness, Volume 7. No 2

“...Hohmann's work is a fitting introduction to the convoluted topic of housing as a human right. She adds insightful commentary to the concepts of housing and home...” –  Matt Hartman, LSE Review of Books

“...I think this is an absolute bargain and would urge anyone who really wants to think about housing law (in the widest possible sense) to buy this book.” –  Nearly Legal Blog: Housing Law News and Comments

“There are significant, original elements to this book that make it an important read for anyone with a serious interest in the right to housing or housing-related rights (whether 'human rights' or otherwise). Crucially, Hohmann challenges the reader to consider how the right to housing has been conceptualised by different actors – and how these conceptualisations might and should be improved upon if the right is to have meaning for those to whom it is of greatest importance. As such, this is not merely a scholarly work providing a useful, detailed analysis of decisions by a set of bodies in order to advance abstract academic debate about the content of the right to housing. Rather, it is motivated, and enlivened, by a galvanising, persuasive concern with making the right to housing 'real'.” –  Aoife Nolan, Human Rights Law Review, Vol 14, No 3, September 2014

“This is a rich and informative discussion, which is warmly welcomed.” –  Adrian Stalker, The Edinburgh Law Review

“Hohmann's book is an excellent resource on the right to housing...[it] is immensely important.” –  Jayna Kothari, The British Yearbook of International Law, 2014

The Right to Housing: Law, Concepts, Possibilities is an important book for students of housing as well as beyond in law, urban studies, geography and sociology.” –  Craig Hatcher, International Journal of Housing Policy, 2015

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