Work in Progress in the Social Studies (WIPSS): 2019/20 | 23rd Year
Towards an inclusive housing policy in Malta: a queer ethnographic approach
Speaker: Dr Rachael Scicluna
Tuesday 8 October 2019
18:00 till 20:00
Arts Library, Faculty of Arts, University of Malta, Msida Campus
Prof. Peter Mayo
Dr Michael Briguglio
Mr Francois Zammit
Construction and infrastructure policies are at the heart of right-wing, neoliberal states such as America, the UK, and, increasingly, Malta. Based on local research and the implementation of policy through government funds, this presentation seeks to untangle the processes involved in policymaking through a queer perspective. I contend that the leadership style based on masculinist values, which are further enhanced by a patriarchal ideology, can be problematic since it only portrays a partial worldview based on economic growth while leaving out the everyday realities of those in need (Fraser 1996). Such processes and practices of 'real politics' around the negotiating table are inherently gendered practices of 'normative leadership' and need to be, first, 'seen' and taken into consideration while conducting research at a political level; second, they need to be untangled; and third, such a worldview needs to be queered in order for policy itself to offer real solutions to precarious experiences from hidden homelessness, crowded parental homes, substance abuse, relationship breakdown, to financial burden. Following queer and feminist anthropologists (Lewin 2017, Allen 2017 and Manalasan 2017), I argue that specific research methods based on continuous dialogue should become a mode of inquiry which purposely unsettles normative understandings of society at large, but is specific to issues of housing, home and family. This worldview is crucial in order to design and implement a culturally-sensitive urban policy that works for Malta.
Rachael Scicluna has her Ph.D. from the Open University, Milton Keynes, England. She is an urban anthropologist currently based at the Parliamentary Secretariat for Social Accommodation and a part-time lecturer at the University of Malta. Her research interests range from the anthropology of home, housing and domesticity, to queer anthropology, alternative family formations, gender, urban development, shared housing, and feminism.