Probing the moralities of remote area indigenous public housing
(University of Sydney)
Paper short abstract:
This paper calls upon fieldwork gathered during the unfolding of Australia’s largest remote area Indigenous housing and infrastructure program to explore the moral pedagogy embedded within housing policy formulation and implementation.
Paper long abstract:
This paper calls upon fieldwork gathered during the unfolding of Australia's largest remote area Indigenous housing and infrastructure program, the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP), to explore the hidden moralities of housing. It argues that houses are expected to exert a moral force on Indigenous people, transforming their lifeworlds towards the habits of institutionalised existence (routinised school attendance, employment and most importantly, financialised indebtedness), but there is more to it than this. While such moralities are certainly the justification for (providing or withholding) interventions, the moral pedagogy of housing can also be located in the anarchic conditions of policy assemblage and implementation. Switching attention to these infrastructural moralities, I probe the affective conditions under which a construction program, meant to deliver well-designed and robustly-built housing to create a fixed and orderly population, has to be wilfully and doggedly pulled into place. Attention is also turned to the moral framings within housing analyses: what moral forms are in play when housing policy can only be analysed in terms of the householder and not its construction agents?
Material moralities of homes and housing