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Investigating Everyday Life in a Modernist Public Housing Scheme: The Implications of Residents’ Understandings of Well-Being and Welfare for Social Work

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Camilla Lewis



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This article examines the concerns of residents living in a modernist social-housing scheme in Edinburgh, Scotland, chosen as a focus because the architects’ designs were originally intended to foster better community, well-being and welfare. After reviewing literature on community and social work, the article outlines the ethnographic approach used in this research, the purpose of which was to pay close attention to the ways in which residents’ well-being and welfare concerns arise in situ. Data were collected in 2016 via semi-structured interviews with seventeen residents, three of whom also took part in diary-elicited discussions and seven in walking tours of the community. These methods were used to elicit sensory and spatial aspects of respondents’ experiences. The article outlines findings relating to residents’ well-being and welfare concerns and goes on to discuss community relations, the association of stigma and social welfare and, finally, residents’ responses to those in need of community or social work support. Addressing social class and belonging, the complexities of attachment to place and how environment contributes to the emergence of relative welfare of residents, the article considers the implications for social work of an emplaced understanding of well-being and welfare.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hicks S, Lewis C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: The British Journal of Social Work

Year: 2018

Volume: 49

Issue: 3

Pages: 806–823

Print publication date: 05/10/2018

Acceptance date: 29/08/2018

Date deposited: 13/09/2019

ISSN (print): 0045-3102

ISSN (electronic): 1468-263x

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bcy084


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