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Council estates: Laurie Taylor explores the concept of the 'sink estate' and hears about an in-depth study of a contemporary housing estate.

Council estates: Laurie Taylor talks to Insa Lee Koch, Associate Professor in Anthropology at the LSE, and author of a new study which explores the history of housing estates and the every day live of residents on one such estate in southern England. How did council housing turn from being a marker of social inclusion to a marker of abject failure? Also, the origins and symbolism of the ‘sink estate’, a term invented by journalists and amplified by think tanks and politicians. Tom Slater, Reader in Urban Geography at the University of Edinburgh, traces the usage of this term and the long term impact of associating council estate residents with effluence and sewage.

Producer: Jayne Egerton

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28 minutes


The Invention of the ‘Sink Estate’: Consequential Categorization and the UK Housing Crisis’ in The Sociology of Stigma (edited by Tom Slater and Imogen Tyler) 2018


‘Personalizing the State: An Anthropology of Law, Politics, and Welfare in Austerity Britain’ (2019) OUP


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