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Making a House in Multiple Occupation a Home: Using Visual Ethnography to Explore Issues of Identity and Well-Being in the Experience of Creating a Home Amongst HMO Tenants

Barratt, C and Green, G (2017) 'Making a House in Multiple Occupation a Home: Using Visual Ethnography to Explore Issues of Identity and Well-Being in the Experience of Creating a Home Amongst HMO Tenants.' Sociological Research Online, 22 (1). 1 - 18. ISSN 1360-7804

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Abstract

Housing research and sociological research on ‘home’ has under-explored Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) as a form of specific and relatively marginalised housing tenure. In this paper we utilise data collected through participant photography and interviews with vulnerable HMO residents in a seaside town to explore their experiences of homemaking in HMOs. Drawing on literatures on home, identity and wellbeing we explore how HMO residents create a home in the space in which they live and how where they live simultaneously moulds their sense of identity. Our analysis is based upon interviews with, and photographs taken by, HMO residents. We highlight how home is created and experienced in a setting where basic levels of privacy can be hard to maintain, where space is constrained, and where residents would often prefer to live elsewhere. The meaning of ‘home’ in a HMO is influenced by personal histories and circumstances, by the normative attitudes towards housing in the UK, as well as by the space itself. The impact that living in a HMO might have on a tenant's identity and as a consequence their wellbeing is therefore highly contextual – not solely due to the characteristics of the property itself and the stigma some associate with this housing type but as an outcome of how the tenants relate to the property given their own preferences, conditioning and previous housing experience. There was variation in the extent to which respondents wanted their room to reflect, project or build their identity.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), Private Rented Sector, Identity, Wellbeing, Mental Health, Home
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Health and Social Care, School of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 03 May 2017 16:13
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2018 13:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/19613

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