Getting ‘Out There’ and Impacting: The Problem of Housing and Urban Research and its Anarchist Alternative

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Allen, C

The Institute for Housing and Urban Research Housing and Urban Researchers (HURs) are under intensifying pressures to impact on society. Although this orientation towards research impact sits well with “policy oriented” HURs, it has sat less well with some “critical” HURs. It would nevertheless be wrong to paint critical HURs as unconcerned with research impact. Debates about research impact led to the emergence of “critical” Housing and Urban Research (HUR) in the first place. Critical HURs simply seek to ensure that their research impacts in different ways. In fact, this is the problem. Policy and critically oriented HURs both presume social science to be an appropriate vehicle for impacting social change. Yet, such presumptions were questioned in my 'Fallacy paper', which was philosophically hostile to the idea of social scientific HUR which it sought to dethrone. However, it stopped short of outlining an alternative to it. This paper addresses this lacuna by suggesting an anarchist approach to impacting social change that is equally suspicious of social scientific HUR but, unlike the 'Fallacy paper', conciliatory towards it.
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