The Home as Laboratory: Finance, Housing, and Feminist Struggle

Regular price $ 16.00

by Verónica Gago and Lucía Cavallero, Translated by Liz Mason-Deese

Common Notions

4/16/2024, paperback

SKU: 9781945335075


The home has become a laboratory for capital but also for forms of financial disobedience.

It has become increasingly clear that home is not a site of private life and isolation, but a battleground where the conflict over the reorganization of working days, over what even counts as labor, is waged. In the very spaces that capital historically sought to portray as an "unproductive" and apolitical space, and refused to pay for, now emerge new forms of debt and profit extraction. Although the home has been transformed into a favored site of finance's colonization of social life and of experimentation for capital, this is not a finished process-or one without its resistance.

The Home as Laboratory traces this story through the links between debt and financial technologies, the violence of property, and reproductive and feminized labor, and everyday forms of feminist organizing.

Drawing on militant research and interventions with feminist organizers in informal settlements and renters' organizations in Buenos Aires, Luci Cavallero, Verónica Gago, and Liz Mason-Deese offer a powerful feminist methodology that points to the vital space of the home as an open dispute. They critically analyze the changes that have occurred in domestic routines, in labor dynamics, in the very cuts imposed by the pandemic's reorganization of the sensible and of logistics. Thus, the home--its spatiality, functioning, and dynamics--suffered from reconfigurations during these novel years of the COVID-19 pandemic that have not ended. Yet, these processes are also resisted by feminist organizations, which have put the question of debt at the forefront of alliance-building, political education, and public interventions.

The Home as Laboratory provides key insights into transformations in the home leading up to and during the pandemic, showing how what was historically considered an "unproductive space" became a crucial laboratory for capital and new financial technologies. Luci Cavallero, Verónica Gago, and Liz Mason-Deese analyze how the home has become a site of battles over what work is considered essential, the intensification of paid and unpaid work, often at the same time, the expansion of new forms of financial extraction, and multiple and interconnected forms of violence. But, importantly, by highlighting the research and action of feminist and housing organizations, they also demonstrate how these processes are being resisted on a daily basis.


"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 capital--an urgent and collective task." -- Amaia Pérez Orozco, author of The Feminist Subversion of the Economy

"Debt, violence, domestic labor, rent, eviction, fintech, production of value, insecurity, poverty, desperation, love, racism, gender mandates and property titles--what happens when we analyze the circuits of financial capital from the place we call home? This brilliant book by leading scholar-activists Luci Cavallero, Veróoacute;nica 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

About the Contributors:

Verónica Gago is the author of Feminist International: How to Change Everything and coauthor of A Feminist Reading of Debt, with Lucí 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 Martín, 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.

Lucía Cavallero is coauthor of A Feminist Reading of Debt, with Verónica 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 Verónica Gago.

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 Pérez Orozco, A Feminist Reading of Debt by Luci Cavallero and Verónica Gago, and Feminist International: How to Change Everything by Verónica Gago.