Domestic colonisation: the centrality of the home in experiences of home takeovers and hate relationships

John Clayton*, Catherine Donovan, Stephen J Macdonald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper we introduce the concept of ‘domestic colonisation’ as a contribution to the literature on critical geographies of home. This provides a lens to focus on the ways in which domestic spaces might be exploited and/or dominated though familiar relationships. With reference to two research projects in North East England, we explore everyday occupations and sieges of home-spaces by neighbours as a means of reinforcing positions of relative social advantage. We show how these experiences become overwhelming through the intrusion of home-spaces and (with it) the life worlds of already structurally vulnerable(ised) communities. Domestic colonisation allows us to think through both the damage done through/to the home and connections beyond those spaces. To do this we focus on 'home takeovers' (or ‘cuckooing’) and ‘hate relationships’. Our work on cuckooing shows how the occupation and control of the home by those who re-produce and seize upon structurally vulnerable(ised) people, is a process which re-configures the home as an exploitable resource. Understandings of home and intimate social relationships as ‘private’, combined with complexities regarding culpability, conceal the damage done in contexts of diminished social infrastructure. With reference to our work on hate relationships we outline how homes are a means of identifying and targeting those who become subjected to a range of hateful acts. This produces everyday spaces of siege and entrapment that control, immobilise and are difficult to escape. Formal interventions are unable to adequately support those victimised through lack of recognition, misrecognition as atomised disputes and a tendency to (re)move those victimised. We end by questioning how we might better address the needs of those subjected to such harms, with an emphasis on the relational production of the home.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Early online date11 Dec 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Dec 2023

Cite this