Housing policy and outcomes in Southern and Southeastern Europe Bulgaria and Greece compared
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This PhD comparatively analyzes and explains the institutional structure, functioning and transformational dynamics of the Bulgarian and Greek housing systems, also considering the wider geopolitical context. Despite their historically differentiated backgrounds, the two countries are selected due to several structural similarities in their housing systems. Likewise, neither is easy to fit into the socialist and southern European groupings, and both are experiencing radical transformational pressures and severe systemic shocks as a result of socio-political and financial turbulences. Despite the academic interest, housing research in both countries has been relatively 'introverted', mainly confined to describing sociopolitical ‘idiosyncrasies’ and applying 'typologies'. An elaborate comparative study of the two countries is practically inexistent, while the increasing transformational dynamics in the Bulgarian and Greek housing systems remain insufficiently discussed. Thus, the available literature lacks outreaching comparative perspective and has trouble being incorporated in wider studies. By employing an institutionally embedded mixed-methods approach the research assesses similarities whilst respecting differences, avoiding dogmatic adherence to typologies. Primary data was collected through qualitative in-depth interviews with housing experts and households in Bulgaria and Greece. The EU-SILC and national statistical agencies databases have been the main source of secondary quantitative data. Officially published reports and newspaper articles provided complementary secondary qualitative and quantitative data of relevance. The thesis shows that the Bulgarian and Greek housing systems are since circa the 1990s gradually moving away from de-commodified and towards pre-commodified forms. Established institutional interfaces are now being challenged, stressed under the weight of strong socio-financial restructuring forces and persisting societal housing precepts. Comparing the two countries with each other and with their wider groupings, allows for improved inclusion in southeastern European housing systems. Consequently, the latter can be better incorporated in broader comparative housing studies. This research overall contributes to the wider ongoing discussion about housing system transformation in southeastern European countries under transition.