Publication details

Svépomocné bydlení v době pozdního státního socialismu: responsibilizace, ideologie a beton.

Title in English Self-help housing provision during late state socialism: responsibilisation, ideology and concrete


Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Studia Ethnologica Pragensia
Keywords self-help housing; responsibility; housing; state socialism; ideology
Description Self-help housing has been proposed as a solution to provide qualitatively adequate and affordable housing not only nowadays, but also during the late state socialism in the 1970s and 1980s in the former Czechoslovakia. In this article, we focus on how the self-help housing provision was during that era linked with the responsibilisation of households, a technique of governance usually associated with neoliberal regimes. On the case of self-help housing construction in town Myjava, which was supported by local authorities and initiated by local company eager to attract workers, we show then eventually main burden for management and risks steaming from the construction was carried by the individuals and their (extended) families. Seemingly the ideological contradiction of this individualistic solution was resolved through rigorous standardization of construction projects, which enabled to maintain a self-help housing as one of the regime’s tools for solving the housing question. We argue that in this respect, in the shift of responsibility from the formal institutions to the individuals, the housing system displays continuity between the late socialist and capitalist regimes, thus contributing to emerging body of literature which problematise the strict dichotomy between the socialist and capitalist eras.

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