Ageing, housing and home : personal experiences of older Czech residents in the post-socialist era and beyond.
|Type||Appeared in Conference without Proceedings|
|MU Faculty or unit|
|Description||Many authors point to the importance of housing as a base for social inclusion and satisfaction in other areas of life. Multi-dimensional frameworks that consider social exclusion in later life consequently identify home and community as being of central importance to inclusion in old age. In the Czech Republic, the period after the fall of state socialism was characterised by struggles over the meaning of housing and home with contradictory outcomes. On the one hand, the neo-liberal rhetoric led to the general perception of housing as a “commodity like any other”. On the other, the processes of housing stock privatisation, rent deregulation and restitution led to the relatively homogenising, but also regionally uneven trajectories of housing distribution, affordability and security. Thus, this paper has two aims. Firstly, we present a short overview of the development of the housing market and policies in the Czech Republic after the fall of state socialism with a special focus on its changing impact on the older population. Secondly, we illustrate the variability of effects of this development from the perspective of older residents. We do this by drawing on two waves of qualitative interviews (from two interconnected projects researching quality of life and housing experiences in selected urban and rural areas). These “housing stories” told by older home-owners and tenants reflect both the material struggles and symbolic meanings connected with home, belonging and place. The paper concludes by arguing for a stronger focus on housing and home in research on old-age social exclusion.|