- Center for Migration and Development
- Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies
- Program in Latino Studies
This talk introduces the concept of “transnational household infrastructure” as a creative analytic for understanding the current moment in financial capitalism. It does so from a little studied vantage point: the perspective of Latin American migrants, particularly of Ecuadorian origin. Migrants who bought into the Spanish housing bubble in the early 2000s, and became unemployed, were foreclosed and evicted following the financial crash. In their efforts to face dispossession, they became activists in Spain’s largest social movement for the right to housing: the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages —or La PAH for its Spanish acronym. Suarez’s ethnographic material shows that the intersection of international migration and the financialization of housing in Spain is not a zero-sum game, whereby banks repossess a house, and migrant debtors lose their home. Rather, Suarez claims, if we pay attention to the architecture of household relations and the financial arrangements that enable home ownership and the sustenance of family obligations, we obtain a different picture. This approach reveals a distinct entanglement with transnational forms of speculation, and provides a space for thinking with both remittances and mortgages as a reconfiguration of the political.