Finance, Housing, and Feminist Struggle
In The Home as Laboratory, Cavallero, Gago, and Mason-Deese offer a pithy and urgent feminist analysis of the debt traps posed by the neoliberal precarious home. These debts are extracted disproportionately from the growing informal class of nonwaged gendered care workers whose vital essential work became momentarily visible during the global pandemic. The authors examine the aftermath of the pandemic re-ordering of home and work life, from their vantage point of the precarious peripheries of Buenos Aires, and offer what are in fact global lessons for feminist mobilization against debt and the financialization of the home. Paula Chakravartty, James Weldon Johnson Associate Professor of Media Studies, NYU The personal is political! Such a foundational feminist statement has undeniable economic implications: capitalism cannot be grasped without understanding the everyday functioning of homes. This does not mean sticking to the standard complaint, Oh, how important but overlooked reproductive work is! but instead, identifying how this role is reconstructed and challenged. Home as Laboratory shows how homes were used as a laboratory during the COVID-19 pandemic to test new forms of value extraction in financial capitalism. But it goes further: while a reprivatization of reproduction is imposed, Cavallero, Gago, and Mason-Deese show us that our task is to render visible the domestic territories that overflow beyond four walls. There lie the possibilities for imagining and enacting a common responsibility in maintaining life and rebelling against capitalan urgent and collective task. Amaia Prez Orozco, author of The Feminist Subversion of the Economy If you remember the COVID-19 pandemic as a suspension of the rules of ordinary life, this compelling book will wake you up. Our confinement indoors was not a refuge from the specters of capital afoot outside. Instead, it allowed our homes to be a proving ground for new capitalist forms that were busy transforming the gendered character of work, shelter, and finance, while turbo-charged currents of debt swirled all around us. Home as Laboratory offers a breathtaking analysis! Andrew Ross, author of Creditocracy and the Case for Debt Refusal Debt, violence, domestic labor, rent, eviction, fintech, production of value, insecurity, poverty, desperation, love, racism, gender mandates and property titleswhat happens when we analyze the circuits of financial capital from the place we call home? This brilliant book by leading scholar-activists Luci Cavallero, Vernica Gago, and Liz Mason-Deese is the Grundrisse for just such a radical left feminist project. Read it now! Wendy Brown, author of In the Ruins of Neoliberalism: The Rise of Anti-Democratic Politics in the West Elegantly translated, and lucidly argued, Home as Laboratory provides a much-needed post-COVID-19 analysis of the ways that households have become spaces for experimentation for new dynamics of capital. Expanding existing Global South feminist theory and resistance in practice, Cavallero, Gago, and Mason-Deese forcefully demonstrate how the intensification of social reproduction exploitation and extraction via apparatuses like debt has been brutal. Home as Laboratory offers us more than just critique; it inspires autonomous feminist struggle and hope wherever the tentacles of financial capitalism need be severed. Jason Thomas Wozniak, assistant professor at West Chester University, codirector of the Latin American Philosophy of Education Society, and organizer with Debt Collective By weaving together detailed social inquiry with innovative theoretical investigations, Luci Cavallero, Vernica Gago, and Liz Mason-Deese provide both a model for research and an orientation for future lines of struggle. Michael Hardt, author of The Subversive Seventies and coauthor of Bolivia Beyond the Impasse
Vernica Gago is the author of Feminist International: How to Change Everything and coauthor of A Feminist Reading of Debt, with Luc Cavallero. She is a leader in Argentina's #NiUnaMenos movement (Not One More!), as both a theoretician and an activist. She is a Professor of Social Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires, Professor at the Instituto de Altos Estudios, Universidad Nacional de San Martn, and Assistant Researcher at the National Council of Research (CONICET). Her work is deeply influenced by active participation in the experience of Colectivo Situaciones, whose 19 and 20 and Genocide in the Neighborhood recorded the Argentine social movements around the 2001 debt crisis with remarkable acuity. Luca Cavallero is coauthor of A Feminist Reading of Debt, withVernica Gago. She has a PhD in Social Science, is a researcher at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, and member of the feminist collective Ni Una Menos. Her research focuses on debt and gender. She teaches in the gender studies masters program at the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero. She is also the coauthor in Spanish of Quien Le Debe A Quien? Ensayos Transnacionales De Desobediencia Financiera, with Silvia Federici and Vernica Gago (Tinta Limn 2021). Liz Mason-Deese holds a PhD in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a member of the Counter-Cartographies Collective, the Viewpoint Magazine Editorial Collective, and the translation collective Territorio de Ideas. Among other works, she has translated The Feminist Subversion of the Economy by Amaia Prez Orozco (Common Notions, 2022), A Feminist Reading of Debt by Luci Cavallero and Vernica Gago (Pluto Press, 2021), and Feminist International: How to Change Everything by Vernica Gago (Verso Books, 2020).
1. The Home as Laboratory Introduction Debt in the Center The Domestic in Dispute Essentialness and Remuneration: Separate Issues The Factory-Home The Indebted Home Feminist Assembly of Villa 31 y 31 Bis House Titling Based on Debts Reinforcing the Family and Gender Mandates through Property Titles #StayAtHome The Consolidation of a Subject of Struggle: Renters The Home as a Laboratory of Capital Conclusions 2. Counter-Cartographies of Domestic Territories Feminist Counter-Mapping as Method Understanding Geographies of Social Reproduction The Home Spills Over Mapping Lines of Struggle 3. Postscript on the Emergency Society Logic of the Emergency Discipline, Control, and Pandemic Program