But the book is also a major sociological contribution to the understanding of social policy in general. Housing has always been the odd man out in the apparatus of the national welfare state and has not always been given sufficient priority in accounts of social change. Michael Harloe places housing at the centre of public and scientific attention and this is bound to change a lot of ideas about the present welfare state. With the international breadth of his approach Michael Harloe shows what sociologists can do for the understanding of social policy - and perhaps therefore lay the basis for the construction of an international welfare state.
Covering a wide range of international evidence the book is a tightly controlled theoretical exposition of social rented housing within general social policy. It is a formidable achievement." Peter Townsend, University of Bristol "This book is the boldest comparative study of housing policies I have ever read, and of a kind we all were waiting for. Detailed first-hand findings fit remarkably well in broad, analytical perspectives. Michael Harloe offers us both an account and an epic of the welfare state in that field, its premises and promises, its fulfillments and shortcomings, its looming demise." Christian Topalov, Harvard University "This is the closest thing to a definitive study of social rented housing in advanced capitalist countries currently available, and I do not expect it to be superseded for many years to come." Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design