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This chapter summarises the material of the book. It revisits some of its core theoretical themes, suggesting that there are openings within the fissures presented by rentier capitalism’s corrosion of community, and its densification of everyday life within dwindling space. The author argues that these openings incorporate alternative strategies of social reproduction that signal a ‘will to become’: a desire for generational reconfiguration borne from the erosion of ‘secure’ pathways to traditional kinship structures.

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This chapter looks at the ways that affective politics circulate within precarious rental accommodation, amidst constricted desires and difficulties in holding boundaries. Moving from a discussion of sexual constriction to feelings of ‘displaced sovereignty’ among respondents who are mistreated by, yet defend, controlling landlord behaviour, the chapter makes connections between capital’s constriction of embodied agency and the suppression of political subjectivity. In the second part of the chapter, the author explores the efforts of queer collective households to realign their homes with desire for social and political transformation, and the tensions and challenges experienced along the way.

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This chapter sets out the substantive content of the book and its broad themes of generational inequality, housing unaffordability and intimate relationships. The chapter includes an account of the author’s personal housing experiences and an overview of their critique of the nuclear family. The author connects the generational disjunctures posed by housing inequality to the diminishing political purchase of the home-owning family, identifying the precarious intimacies of the rented sector as fertile ground for exploring this historical moment in the history of capitalism. There is also a discussion of methods.

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This chapter explores the immaterial, affective and invisibilised labour that renting respondents carried out to replenish their relationships. It first focuses on the affective labour carried out by some social housing residents affected by intergenerational histories of racial capitalism – something the author terms ‘cumulative precarity’. The chapter goes on to explore the precarious relational labour involved in creating a sense of belonging in transient, privately rented homes, looking at relationships to home improvement and outdoor space.

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This chapter draws out the politics of renting respondents’ reproductive imaginaries, and how they speak to the different lives that can be made and remade amidst precarity. The chapter explores the assumed dependentlessness embedded in the transient temporalities and dense spaces of London renting, and examines the ways that both social and private tenants’ access to social reproduction is eroded by the formulation of housing as either investment or consumption. The final section of this chapter shifts focus from the reproduction of families to the reproduction of romantic relationships.

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Generation, Rent and Reproducing Relationships in London

In a time of increasing social and economic inequality, this book illustrates the precarity experienced by millennials facing both rising rents and wage stagnation. Featuring the voices of those with lived experience of precarity in north-east London, MacNeil Taylor focuses on intimacy, reproduction and emotional labour.

The book widens readers’ understanding of a middle-class ‘generation rent’ beyond those locked out of anticipated home ownership by considering both social and private renters. Situated in a feminist and queer theoretical framework, the book reveals the crucial role of British policy-making on housing, welfare, and immigration on deepening inter- and intra-generational inequality.

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This chapter provides a conceptual overview of the theoretical literature and research on precarity, intimacy and reproduction. It unites these concepts to formulate a theory of precarious intimacy as the ‘place between difficulty and desire’ in insecure rented accommodation. This chapter also offers a geo-historical account of the assetisation of housing in Britain and specifically in London, with emphasis on the imperialist politics undergirding this process.

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In this chapter, I profile feminist political economic geographer, Beverley Mullings. Dr Mullings’s research brings to economic geography a much-needed focus on global and intimate forms of neoliberal governmentality through an intersectional, multi-scalar analysis. Over her career, Dr Mullings has brought a sustained critique of the ways that development and state policies transform subjectivities, everyday lives and possibilities. Through a commitment to feminist political economy, she has been a leader in pushing the discipline to centre the multiple systems of oppression that shape people’s lives in space and place. Importantly, she has done this by focusing on the relationship between diaspora and home, spheres of social reproduction and the politics of praxis. In this profile, I shed light on how these three threads of her research work in concert and are each primary concerns for economic geography and geographers. Mullings’s research and her own praxis provide a more just model for doing economic geography research and academia.

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This chapter explores the resurgence of interest in social reproduction in the social sciences and its stalled uptake in economic geography. Charting a brief history of analyses of the relationship between productive and reproductive labour, I argue that feminist economic geographers have long called for a future research agenda for economic geography that takes seriously the domains of reproduction and care as ‘properly economic’. That reproductive labour is racialized, as well as gendered and classed, signals the imperative for feminists to take seriously the imbrication of social reproduction and racial capitalism in relation to both research and praxis.

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The subdiscipline of economic geography has a long and varied history, and recent work has pushed the field to diversify even further. This collection takes this agenda forward by showcasing inspiring, critical and plural perspectives for contemporary economic geographies. Highlighting the contributions of global scholars, the 30 chapters highlight fresh ways of approaching economic geography in research, teaching and praxis. With sections on thought leaders, contemporary critical debates and future research agendas, this collection calls for greater openness and inclusivity.

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