Financing Social Reproduction: The Gendered Relations of Debt and Mortgage Finance in Twenty-first-century America

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Abstract

This article addresses a gap in the international political economy (IPE) literature on housing finance by highlighting the ways in which the deepening of mortgage debt is part of a broader attempt to individualise and (re)privatise relations of social reproduction under neoliberalism. While the extension and deepening of debt has been underpinned by policies and discourses that assume the formal equality of individuals, the attempt to erase the gendered subject in the context of ongoing inequalities in paid labour markets, in asset ownership and in the division of unpaid labour has served to reproduce various overlapping social divisions and inequalities. In linking social reproduction to financial markets, the promotion of homeownership in the US has also rendered the social reproduction of present and future generations increasingly insecure. This work contributes to feminist and other critical IPE debates by highlighting the ways in which accumulation in financial markets has been based on the perpetuation of divisions and inequalities between social classes, between men and women and along certain racial and ethnic lines. It also centralises the role of the state in conditioning these processes. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-42
Number of pages21
JournalNew Political Economy
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

Keywords

  • debt
  • feminist political economy
  • housing finance
  • social reproduction
  • subprime mortgages

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