I Did it My Way Managing Recalcitrance in Public by cib68395


									I Did it My Way: Managing
  Recalcitrance in Public
      Daphne Habibis

The Study

• Managing Demanding Behaviour
• AHURI Funded National Study with Rowland
• Systematic Literature Review and Interviews
  with Housing personnel
• Positioning Paper and Good Practice Guide

Changes in Australian Housing
Two years ago we did not have the capacity to
evict people for disruption. Under our policies we
had to just keep transferring them. As a result of
this inquiry we now have policies that enable us
to go that extent if we have to. It is not
something that we want to pursue, but we will if
people will not do the right thing.
Mr Malcolm Downie, General Manager, to SA
Parliamentary Inquiry into SA Housing Trust

 Difficult and Resistant Tenants
So I keep working with them and keeping them
informed every step of the process: ‘OK, so now we’ve
got further complaints and this is what this means for
you’ and explain all of that to them so at each point they
can make that active choice to either engage or not
engage. And I’ve had some that have refused all the
way to the end and it’s led to eviction, which is
unfortunate, but others, sometimes it will get to that
point of where a notice of termination is issued and then
they’ll go, oooh, OK and they want to work with
services then and it’s often easier to get services
involved when you’ve got a crisis like that.

 ASB and Australian Housing Policy
• Australian responses to ASB have differed from those in
  England. English law distinguishes the tenancy rights of
  social tenants from other residential renters and has
  manipulated them in attempts to control behaviour.
• Historically, Australian law has not made such a marked
  distinction. Used existing statutory provisions against
  disruptive tenants and only after early intervention or
  other more holistic approaches have failed.
 Hunter, Nixon & Slatter 2005:156

    Emerging Regime of Disciplinary
 responses in Australian housing policy
• Context of residualisation of social housing
  – Conditional leases introduced into public housing
    tenancies Tasmania, NSW, NT and Victoria
  – Acceptable Behaviour Contracts introduced into public
    housing tenancies in WA, NT, NSW and SA.
  – Enforcement by third parties in SA and NT
  – ASB legislation in NT
  – ‘Rights, Respect and Responsibility’ part of NSW State

   The non-responsive Tenant
• Nuisance end of the Nuisance-Crime ASB
• Tenancy placed at Risk
• Refusal to engage
• Non-statutory

    Nuisance Behaviour and Social
•   Even mild nuisance behaviours can cause significant
    problems to neighbours and the broader community
•   Demanding Tenants often have high and complex
    needs. Risk factors include:
      •   Having substance use problems
      •   Living in situations of family violence
      •   Experience of abuse
      •   Mental health needs
      •   History of exclusion from school
      •   History of State care

     Nuisance Behaviours and Social Harm
• Vulnerability to homelessness post-eviction
• Serious consequences for safety, physical and mental
  health, eg Indigenous people with renal failure
• Loss of attachment to place, social ties and networks
• Affects third parties, with children of special concern
• Possibility of problem complainers and ulterior motives

• Issues of racial discrimination, limits of tolerance of
  cultural difference
• Politics of behaviour and the non-responsive tenant

Reasons for non-engagement
Clients can not want to engage for a whole range of
reasons. It’s a personal thing and it varies from case
to case. It could be simply that they don’t want
people meddling in their life, others have fears
about if services get to know really what’s going on
for them then for example, they might lose their
kids; or it can be quite overwhelming for some,
particularly for some Aboriginal families.

                             Quic kTime™ and a
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It can be particularly daunting to have a bunch of white
people come in to have a look at what you’re doing to
fix the situation, you know. It can be fear, distrust - a
whole range of things - and some clients won’t engage
because they’ve got cognitive deficits and they just
don’t understand what the issues are, how they’re
impacting upon their tenancy or their life and the need
to do anything about it; and others might just, will
choose straight out, understanding full well that there’s
implications and consequences and all that, but this is
what they want to do, for example, particularly around
drug usage you know, and behaviour that comes out of
that. They might want to keep engaging in that lifestyle.
So, I mean they’re the fundamental ones that spring to
my mind.

 Five Reasons for non-response
• Valuing personal privacy
• Valuing a particular lifestyle
• Fear and distrust of the consequences of
• Fear of the demands associated with
• Inability to understand the consequences of
  failure to address the behaviour

          Valuing Personal Privacy
– Embarrassment and shame in a stigmatised
– Values based resistance
   • History of regulation and surveillance
   • Help seeking by marginalised social groups
       – Uneven relationship with helper
       – Loss of dignity
       – Weakened confidentiality
       – Permanent official record
       – Public acknowledgement of vulnerability

• Valuing a Particular Lifestyle
   – Choice embedded in cultural practice and identity
   – Social costs
• Fear of Consequences
   – History of surveillance and control
   – Rational basis for fears
• Fear of Demands
   – Difficulties in negotiating interpersonal contact
   – Engagement = stress
   – Inability to meet demands
• Inability to Understand Consequences of Non-Conformity
   – Cultural reasons
   – Cognitive reasons

Deacon’s Three Justifications for
    Welfare Conditionality
• Paternalist justification justifies
  welfare conditionality on the grounds
  that social exclusion, poor living skills
  and dysfunctional family
  backgrounds prevent tenants from
  recognising where their best
  interests lie. Compulsion is
  necessary to force tenants into
  environments and situations which
  will ultimately benefit them.

• Desirability argument
   – Focus on tenants needs side-steps issue of
     imposition of middle class morality
   – Also takes account of behaviours that are
     low order ASB
• Effective strategies
   – The light bulb argument

• ‘Hidden prince’ theory
• Constructs tenants as passive victims but can this be justified for
  some tenants, eg those with disabilities? Leaves tenants to ‘rot with
  their disabilities on’.
• Paternalism of limited duration
• Programs such as Dundee Intensive Housing Support aim to establish
  empowerment of tenants although the process involves extreme
  surveillance and regulation.
• Paternalist argument may have relevance for some tenants,
  especially if resistance stems from fear of demands or failure to
• Does not deal well with tenants whose refusal is based on active
  exercise of agency, eg rejection of regulation or lifestyle choice.

Contractualist Argument

In return for the Government
providing good quality, affordable rental
housing, our tenants have an obligation to
be co-operative and helpful in their
behaviour and contribute to strong and
peaceful communities.
Ministerial Statement, Department of Housing and Works, WA
Crackdown on Unruly Tenants, 22 April 2005 in Hunter, Nixon and
Slatter 2005:160

• Welfare conditionality justified on the grounds that the
  state is entitled to make demands of its citizens so long
  as this takes place within relationship of fair reciprocity.
• Conservative version: public housing tenants should
  conform because being given public housing: But this
  assumes level playing.
• Radical argument includes redistribution to compensate
  for social exclusion
• If fair reciprocity is established is intervention justified?


• If no support is offered then state can’t
  complain about a little recalcitrance
• Neither paternalism nor contractualism
  can deal with active exercise of agency

Mutualist Argument

• Any community is entitled to expect its citizens to treat
  one another with respect and regard and to apply
  sanctions on those who breach this
• If difference damages then intervention is justified
• Depends on how ‘social harm’ is defined and who is
• Implies redistribution and full citizenship since social
  exclusion and community are oxymorons

           Mutualist Argument
• Constructs tenant as active agent
• If citizenship rights met then argument has relevance for
  tenants whose agency is compromised by deficits of
  some kind
• But leaves unresolved the tenant who rejects the
  support/good behaviour deal

          A Question of Agency
• Central to this debate is the question of
  construction of tenants as moral agents
• Neo-Liberal model
     • Highly individualised
     • Denial of social context
     • Active, rational agent empowered to make choices
  – Fails all three of Deacon’s welfare conditionality

            Marxist Model of Agency
  In his study of the working class people in Rotherham, Charlesworth
      Marx made the point that the social and cultural resources for developing one’s
      inalienable human capacities, what Marx called ‘species-being’, of coming to
      frution as a person of categoric value, are inequitably distributed, with the
      result that the possibility of the development of capacities important to personal
      fulfilment are frustrated. Moreover, I depict a relation to being contained in
      working class people’s economic and social condtions, that forecloses upon
      and makes almost impossible autonomous ways of becoming a self-developing
      subject, of value for oneself and to others; capable of founding through oneself
      and others an intersubjctive realm of mutually constituted empathic self-
      involvement. (Charlesworth 2000:7-8).
• Justification for radical version of contractual model of welfare

    Postmodern Feminist Model
• Subjectivist
• Socially situated
• Inner diversity and conflict (fractured
• Need for model of the self which rejects
  oppressive regimes
• Provides a framework for understanding
  the recalcitrant tenant

• Suggests multi-strategy approach
  (disciplinary regimes and strategies of
  desire) which matches multiple causes of
• Assumes service and support
• Assumes ethic of care which respects
  tenant choice


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