Housing Strategies in Multigenerational Rural Households Living in Precarious Prosperity in Romania

Monday, 11 July 2016: 15:00
Location: Hörsaal 12 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Laura A. TUFA, Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy, Romania
George I. ZAMFIR, Department of Sociology, University Babes-Bolyai, Romania
This presentation aims to describe and explain housing strategies of households living in precarious prosperity (Hubinger 1996, Budowski et al. 2010) in Romania. As a theoretical framework, we employed housing pathways (Clapham 2002), a perspective that allowed us to understand housing patterns in time and space by looking at individual, familial and historical changes of our households.  The data comes from a qualitative survey carried out in a rural community in 2013-2014. The survey consisted in 25 in depth interviews with households situated above the poverty threshold and facing high material deprivation. Our qualitative analysis sheds light on the relationships and interactions that shape housing practices.  Results show how housing difficulties and postponed improvements are connected to the wider structural context given by the rural setting and the housing policy in Romania. Findings also underscore how households under scrutiny deal with housing issues by prioritizing their everyday needs, this particular strategy revealing the precariousness of their living conditions. The paper situates housing strategies within the larger discussion of the ambivalent role of house ownership in the life of the precarious prosperity stratum in Romania: a certain security and protection on the one hand, coupled with the burden of maintenance and upgrading to modern standards on the other hand.