Student housing in a post-disaster context : controlling mobility and recreating security.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis examines how 18 University of Canterbury students based in Christchurch experienced housing insecurity during the three years after a series of major earthquakes from late 2010 and throughout 2011. I adopted a qualitative exploratory approach to gather students’ accounts and examine their experiences which were analysed using constructivist grounded theory methods. Three core categories were identified from the data: mobility, recreating security, and loss. Mobility included the effects of relocation and dislocation, as well as how the students searched for stability. Recreating security required a renewed sense of belonging and also addressed the need to feel physically safe. Lastly, loss included the loss of material possessions and also the loss of voice and political representation. The theory that emerged from these findings is that the extent to which students were able to control their mobility largely explained their experiences of housing insecurity. When students experienced a loss of control over their mobility they effectively addressed this by being resourceful and drawing on existing forms of capital. This resourcefulness generated a new form of capital, here called security capital, which represents a conceptual contribution to existing debates on students’ experiences of homelessness in a disaster context.