Projects per year
Housing associations have traditionally been bound together by notions of providing for those in housing need, non-profit making and a voluntary ethos. Since the mid 1980s these understandings have altered when associations began to develop a private sector ethos leading to: increased priority given to the needs of private funders; the professionalisation of boards of management, largely at the behest of the state regulator; and a re-imaging of tenants as 'customers'. These changes have raised fundamental questions about the appropriateness of associations' modes of internal governance through voluntary governing bodies. This article explores those shifts in culture and the ways in which they have created difficult and contradictory subject positions for members of boards, particularly tenant board members. The article raises questions about the application of corporate governance models to the housing association sector, and the appropriateness of applying private sector principles of corporate governance to organisations in the voluntary/quasi-public sector. Using Foucault's insights on the subject and power the paper will consider how tenant board members are constructed by others and themselves, and how these constructions could effect their potential for intervening in the power relations of the board.