The paper reviews major examples of comparative housing research which have been published in the last twenty years and suggests that the dominant approach — grounded in pluralism and convergence theory — which they exhibit is inadequate. Future studies need to be both more detailed and wider in scope, examining the dynamic of the interrelations between the institutions and the social forces involved in the provision of housing. Such a perspective is briefly developed and related to current developments in the housing markets and policies of some advanced capitalist societies. The paper concludes with a discussion of some of the practical problems of cross-national housing research.
* This paper is a revised version of a paper originally delivered at a conference on housing research, sponsored by the Environment and Planning Committee of the Economic and Social Research Council held in Bristol in September 1983. We are grateful for the helpful comments made on this draft by Steve Merrett, David Donnison. Michael Ball and anonymous referees.
† Director, Institute for Urban Studies, University of Essex.
‡ Senior Research Officer, Department of Sociology, University of Essex.