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‘So, don’t you want us here no more?’ Slow violence, frustrated hope, and racialised struggle on London’s council estates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Accepted/In press14 Jul 2021

King's Authors


Since 1997, over 50,000 homes have been demolished to allow for the ‘renewal’ – and de facto gentrification - of council estates in London. This has involved the ‘decanting’ of short and long-term tenants, as well as those leaseholders who bought their homes under ‘right to buy’ legislation. Often described as a form of ‘social cleansing’, the racialised dimensions of these displacements remain under-explored despite a sizeable literature documenting the connections between race, place and state-subsidised housing in Britain. Drawing on interviews with Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) residents – including many active in housing movements - this paper shows that displacement is understood in relation to histories of racial discrimination, the destruction of ethno-cultural infrastructures, and long-standing racialised inequalities. These themes resonate with a politics of resistance grounded in a racialised class consciousness that seeks to intervene more broadly in the politics of capital and the state. However, our research suggests that this racialised resistance often fractures as the slow violence of renewal serves to wear down householders who experience ‘frustrated hope’ as the promises of renewal dissipate.

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