Foucault’s recognition of the ambivalent, two-edged nature of the Enlightenment project underpins a central proposition of his work, namely that the discourses and practices of modernity inextricably couple questions of knowledge and power. Escobar (1992, 1995) has built on Foucault’s insight to formulate what has become a quite widely recognised critique of development or social planning as a key instrument of what Foucault (1979) labels ‘governmentality’2 —the disciplinary mode more familiarly known in the Anglophone world as ‘social engineering’, of which housing policy is undoubtedly a part.