The City pp 97-117 | Cite as

Market Forces and Property Relations

  • Brian Elliott
  • David McCrone


Social relations in contemporary society cannot be understood without examining property relations. The life chances of individuals, the broad patterns of economic and social inequality, the institutions, culture and ideology in present-day western societies, all reflect fundamental characteristics of the institution of private property and the differential distribution of productive resources.


Real Estate House Price Public Housing Institutional Investor Pension Fund 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Some of the most acute observations on the institution of private property are found in the work of C. B. Macpherson. See his article ‘Capitalism and the Changing Concept of Property’, pp. 104–25, in E. Kamenka and R. S. Neale, Feudalism, Capitalism and Beyond (London: Edward Arnold, 1975).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    M. Weber, Economy and Society (University of California Press, 1978) p. 928.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See, for instance, H. Richardson, J. Vipond and R. Furbey, Housing and Urban Spatial Structure (Farnborough: Saxon House, 1975).Google Scholar
  4. C. Peach (ed.), Urban Social Segregation (London: Longman, 1975).Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    J. Parry Lewis, Building Cycles and Britain’s Economic Growth (London: Macmillan, 1965).Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    Of the 200 landlords we interviewed as part of our project, 54 per cent had inherited some or all of the properties they owned.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    This is the theme Thernstrom explores when looking at the pattern of owner-occupation among migrants to the USA in the nineteenth century. S. Thernstrom, Poverty and Progress: Social Mobility in a Nineteenth-Century City (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974).Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    T. H. Marshall, Sociology at the Crossroads (London: Heinemann, 1963) p. 239.Google Scholar
  9. 8.
    We have discussed the traditional powers of landlords in a forthcoming article, ‘The Social World of Petty Property’, in P. Hollowell (ed.), Property and Social Relations (London: Heinemann, 1982).Google Scholar
  10. M. Harloe (ed.), Proceedings of the Conference on Urban Change and Conflict (London: Centre for Environmental Studies, 1975).Google Scholar
  11. 9.
    Elliott and McCrone, ‘The Social World of Petty Property’.Google Scholar
  12. 10.
    See J. Rose, in Investors Chronicle, 21 December 1979.Google Scholar
  13. 11.
    J. Lorimer The Developers (Toronto: James Lorimer, 1978).Google Scholar
  14. 12.
    L. Gertler and R. Crowley, Changing Canadian Cities: the Next 25 Years (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1977), show that Canada’s rate of urban growth has outstripped that of any other western nation since 1945.Google Scholar
  15. 13.
    O. Marriott, The Property Boom (London: Pan Books, 1967).Google Scholar
  16. 14.
    Marriot, ibid; S. Jenkins, Landlords to London: Story of a Capital and its Growth (London: Constable, 1975).Google Scholar
  17. Counter Information Services, The Recurrent Crisis of London: Anti-report on the Property Developers (London: Constable/CIS, 1973).Google Scholar
  18. 15.
    Marriott, The Property Boom, p. 21.Google Scholar
  19. 16.
    There is a very real need for research on land-assembly operations, as indeed there is for general studies of the construction and development industry in Britain.Google Scholar
  20. 17.
    Lorimer, The Developers, passim.Google Scholar
  21. 18.
    The Guardian, 16 June 1972.Google Scholar
  22. 19.
    Gerson Berger, Investors Chronicle, 6 May 1977, p. 499.Google Scholar
  23. 20.
    See the report by the Benwell CDP, Benwell’s Hidden Property Companies (Newcastle, 1976).Google Scholar
  24. 21.
    See the Milner Holland findings, Report of the Committee on Housing in Greater London, Cmnd 2604 (London: HMSO, 1965).Google Scholar
  25. 22.
    The Holloway Neighbourhood Law Centre report, ‘David and Goliath’ (Barnsbury, 1973) (no page number).Google Scholar
  26. 23.
    See Marriott, The Property Boom, p. 177.Google Scholar
  27. 24.
    Geoffrey Wilson, ‘Government Recognises the Role of the Developer’, Investors Chronicle, 9 November 1979, p. 13.Google Scholar
  28. 25.
    Some discussion of Edinburgh’s property companies is contained in our paper, ‘Landlords in Edinburgh: Some Preliminary Findings’, Sociological Review, 23 (3), 1975. The same point was made in Benwell CDP’s Benwell’s Hidden Property Companies, p. 17.Google Scholar
  29. 26.
    J. Rose, Investors Chronicle, 21 December 1979.Google Scholar
  30. 27.
    R. Minns, Pension Funds and British Capitalism (London: Heinemann, 1980).Google Scholar
  31. 28.
    A useful analysis of changing tenure patterns in England and Wales is provided in Central Statistical Office, Social Trends (London: HMSO, 1979).Google Scholar
  32. 29.
    B. Berger, Working Class Suburb (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1960). For appraisal of the British versions of the arguments, see J. H. Goldthorpe et al., The Affluent Worker: Political Attitudes and Behaviour (Cambridge University Press, 1968).Google Scholar
  33. 30.
    One of the earliest studies was R. Durant, Watling: a Survey of Social Life on a New Housing Estate (London: P. S. King, 1939), and in the 1950s and 1960s other accounts of local communities complemented her discussion. See T. Lupton and D. Mitchell, Neighbourhood and Community (Liverpool University Press, 1954).Google Scholar
  34. P. Collison, The Cutteslowe Walls (London: Faber & Faber, 1963).Google Scholar
  35. M. Stacey, Tradition and Change (Oxford University Press, 1960).Google Scholar
  36. N. Elias and J. Scotson, The Established and the Outsiders (London: Cass, 1962).Google Scholar
  37. 31.
    See, for instance, K. Young and J. Kramer, ‘Local Exclusionary Policies in Britain: the Case of Suburban Defence in a Metropolitan System’, in K. Cox, Urbanization and Conflict in Market Societies (London: Methuen, 1978).Google Scholar
  38. P. Saunders, Urban Politics: a Sociological Interpretation (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978).Google Scholar
  39. 32.
    J. Rex and R. Moore, Race, Community and Conflict: a Study of Sparkbrook (Oxford University Press, 1967).Google Scholar
  40. 33.
    J. Rex, ‘The Sociology of the Zone of Transition’, in R. Pahl (ed.), Readings in Urban Sociology (Oxford: Pergamon, 1968).Google Scholar
  41. 34.
    R. Haddon, ‘The Location of West Indians in the London Housing Market’, New Atlantis, 2 (1), 1970.Google Scholar
  42. 35.
    P. Saunders, ‘Domestic Property and Social Class’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 2 (2), 1978, p. 238. The argument also appears as chapter 2 in his book Urban Politics: a Sociological Interpretation (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979).Google Scholar
  43. 36.
    R. Barrell and M. Farmer, ‘Homes or Jobs: Maggie’s choice’, The Observer, 21 October 1979. This same theme has also been discussed in the broader economic arguments of H. Leyer and G. Edwards, in two articles in the Sunday Times, 2 November and 9 November 1980, where they claim that the very favourable rates of return on home ownership, and property more generally, have done much to limit the flows of capital to Britain’s ailing productive industries.Google Scholar
  44. 37.
    Central Statistical Office, Social Trends (London: HMSO, 1974).Google Scholar
  45. 38.
    See the Investors Chronicle, 7 November 1980.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Brian Elliott and David McCrone 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Elliott
    • 1
  • David McCrone
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of EdinburghScotland

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