Financialization and the Household

Caitlin Zaloom, Deborah James

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Finance and the household are a pair that has not received sufficient attention. As a system, finance joins citizens, states, and global markets through the connections of kinship and residence. Householders use loans, investments, and assets to craft, reproduce, attenuate, and sever social connections and to elevate or maintain their class position. Householders' social creativity fuels borrowing, making them the target of banks and other lenders. In pursuit of their own agendas, however, householders strategically deploy financial tools and techniques, sometimes mimicking and sometimes challenging their requirements. Writing against the financialization of daily life framework, which implies a one-way, top-down intrusion of the market into intimate relations, we explore how householders use finance within systems of social obligations. Financial and household value are not opposed, we argue. Acts of conversion between them produce care for the self and others and refashion inherited duties. Social aspiration for connection and freedom is an essential force in both financial lives and institutions.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)399-415
    Number of pages17
    JournalAnnual review of anthropology
    StatePublished - Oct 23 2023


    • austerity
    • debt
    • family
    • financialization
    • household
    • instruments
    • kinship
    • welfare

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cultural Studies
    • Anthropology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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