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Justice Homelessness Housing Notes

Politics Notes > Issues in Political Theory Notes

This is an extract of our Justice Homelessness Housing document, which we sell as part of our Issues in Political Theory Notes collection written by the top tier of University Of Warwick students.

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*Link - 1.2 John Rawls' A Theory of Justice / 1.3 Robert Nozick's Entitlement Theory

Justice, Homelessness & Housing
QUESTIONS

How should we understand the wrong of homelessness?

Does the wrong of homelessness consist in always being under the power of others?

Are the homeless unfree? If they are, what makes them unfree?

What does justice require when it comes to the provision of housing?

INTRODUCTION
According to housing charity Shelter, 320,000 people were recorded as homeless in the UK in 2018. This is an increase of 13,000 or 4% on last year's figures, and equivalent to 36 new individuals becoming homeless every day.
For van Leeuwen, the fact that homeless still occurs in the world's richest welfare states highlights a puzzling contradiction; namely, that 'liberal-democratic states contain citizens without the defining characteristic of liberalism itself - a private sphere'.
TYPES OF PROPERTY
Public property

'A place is common property if the point of placing it under collective control is partially to allow anyone in society to use it without having to secure the permission of anyone else' [Waldron]

Prohibitions specific to public places provide the basis for their commonality; ensuring fair access for all in such a way that prevents people from precluding their use by others (user equality).

Benefits include: the provision of space for activism, socializing & religious worship; a resource for those without private property.

Private property

Rules of property are organized such that particular contested resources are assigned to the decisional authority or 'normative control' [Essert] of particular individuals.

If I privately own a piece of land, I possess certain exclusionary rights over it: [Wells]

1. The right to possess, and 'have exclusive physical

4. The right to security - 'one cannot be ejected from control over one's space'
the property, except on certain grounds, within the period of tenancy'

2. The right to use at one's discretion

5. The right to capital - 'the power to alienate the item,
and the liberty to consume or destroy it'

3. The (limited) right to manage - 'to allow or deny others admission, to decide what visitors can and cannot do once in the space'

Private property rights & negative liberty
Consequently, 'others have a duty not to use it (without my consent) and there is a battery of legal remedies at my disposal which I can use to enforce this duty. The right correlative to this duty is an essential incident of ownership, and any enforcement of the duty necessarily amounts to a deliberate interference with someone else's action' [Waldon, 1991]

Benefits include:

Stability & security - protection against the elements/danger, a place to store one's valuable possessions, etc.

Addresses are required to register to vote, give appropriate information on medical forms, and receive benefits.

Non-domination (see: 'ESSERT')
'Constitutes a unique domain/'bastion' of personal autonomy' [Schrader]

Privacy

Identity formation
Frank claims that privacy facilitates the kind of reflection required for developing an intact sense of self away from the demands/pressures of public life - 'The way I understand myself is related to the place

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