Shared Housing, shared lives: unravelling tenure and intimacy
Increasing numbers of people in the UK experience shared living arrangements at some point in their lives, largely in response to life stage considerations and/or limited housing options, and sometimes through choice. This paper explores the nature of everyday domestic intimacy in different types of shared housing, from housing co-ops and cohousing schemes through to joint tenancies in the private rented sector and private lodging arrangements. It considers the specific impact that tenure has on expectations of privacy or communality and the nature of the relationships that consequently unfold.
The paper draws on data from an ESRC-funded project, Under the Same Roof: The Everyday Relational Practices of Contemporary Communal Living, directed by Sue Heath between 2013 and 2015, which focuses on shared living arrangements across the lifecourse. The project has a particular focus on the ways in which the temporal, spatial, economic and ideological facets of shared living variously interact to either foster or discourage shared intimacy and communality.
Sue Heath is a Professor of Sociology and a co-director of the Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives. She joined the University of Manchester in September 2010, having previously worked at the University of Southampton since 1998, where she was co-director of two ESRC Research Centres: the National Centre for Research Methods and the Centre for Population Change. Sue started her lecturing career in the Sociology Department at Manchester in the mid-1990s, and before that she worked as a researcher in various posts around the North West.