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A History of BME Housing Associations

Cambridge University’s Dr Neil Stott and Michelle Fava have authored a study that examines how Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) housing associations in England have developed and evolved since the 1948 ‘Windrush generation’.

The authors examine the interplay of institutional control, agency and resistance, in a highly racialized context.

The authors identify five phases in the development of grassroots organizers into housing associations, describing the different types of “institutional work” involved in challenging racialized institutions and establishing new institutions. The exercise of episodic power to achieve institutional agency created resistance from powerful actors seeking to maintain systemic power. The growing movement for black and minority ethnic housing fought to establish organizational legitimacy. Achieving this not only enabled them to serve and represent their communities but also entailed compromising more radical political agendas.

Dr Neil Stott says: “The study aims to address the fact that racialised groups, such as BME housing associations, have been largely invisible in the organisational literature. We encourage more extensive empirical research on forgotten activism to overcome the daily grind of racism, including the history of individual associations and their communities, as this could shed much-needed light into the activities of marginalised groups that create and maintain institutions that foster greater opportunity.”

Challenging Racialized Institutions; A history of black and minority ethnic housing associations in England between 1948 and 2018 authored by Neil Stott and Michelle Fava, Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation, University of Cambridge, Cambridge (2019), UK is available here

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