Household Finance

Authored by: Christopher Harker , Johnna Montgomerie

The Routledge Handbook of Financial Geography

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815369738
eBook ISBN: 9781351119061
Adobe ISBN:


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In this chapter, we argue that geographical approaches make clear how crucial the household is for understanding finance and financialization. We outline how geographical approaches have positioned households as distinct but interconnected financial spaces. In so doing, we argue that the household has been understood in three overlapping ways. The first is the household as a scale; the second is the household as a node in networked relations; third, the household as a place of and for lived experience. Many geographies of household finance cited in this chapter advance multiple spatial perspectives at once, sharing concerns about agency and power. They demonstrate that households and household finances vary geographically and historically. They also understand the household as a space through and in which political, economic, social, cultural, and ecological power relations become knotted and potentially transformed. In other words, the household can become a location or a conceptual lens through which to critically understand and change geographies of finance. We show how such a lens works in relation to austerity in Anglo-America. We argue in conclusion that financial geographies of the household provide a specific way of framing socio-economic changes that, in turn, provides crucial insights about the ways in which incorporation/exclusion, power/resistance, and divergence/difference operate to produce and reproduce the global financial system. Geographical approaches to household finance make visible new hierarchies and inequalities in the distribution and redistribution of gains and losses from financialization.

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