Intimate Labour and the Precarious Reproduction of Relationships among Young Renters in the London Borough of Hackney

Authors: Faith Taylor*,
Topics: Economic Geography, Political Geography, Social Geography
Keywords: social reproduction, financialisation, life course, intimacy, young people, London
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Napoleon A3, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Cindi Katz describes social reproduction as the 'sensuous labour' of everyday life (2015). This paper builds on this definition by welding the reproduction of kinship and relationships to the reproduction of society and social relations. This is framed through the functioning of UK housing policy and everyday experiences of relatedness within London’s rental market. Both are explored as part of ongoing research into the impact of rental precarity on the reproduction of familial and intimate relationships among young people in the Borough of Hackney. Research has involved qualitative interviewing with a cross-section of young renters to investigate the ways that they experience and envisage their familial and romantic lives as unfolding events that are obstructed, subverted, or otherwise facilitated by their housing situations and surrounding economic circumstances. Through locating exchanges of labour and capital that are affective, intimate, and immaterial, the paper dismantles theoretical divisions between reproduction and production. Instead, the renter is positioned as worker through the exchange of labour for shelter and associated accumulation of financial and political capital. The paper thus situates the home itself as a locus of financial production, whereby individual trajectories, life plans, and trajectories of relatedness are constructed around the financial demands of the housing market. By mapping continuities between economic policy, demographic ideology, and the impingement of rental markets on intimate trajectories, this paper reconfigures social reproduction as a process that is bonded to the precarious navigation of relationships, and their commodification within a daily life that is increasingly financialised.

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