ASA PEWS Panel: The Family and the Market

A Political Economy of World Systems (PEWS) session for ASA conference next year. Consider submitting a proposal for the session:

The Family and the Market in the Longue Durée

As Melinda Cooper shows in Family Values, neoliberalism and the new social conservativism converge in the US in the 1970s to re-establish the private family as the primary source of economic security and a comprehensive alternative to the welfare state. Rather than being a compromise, the embrace of family values for neoliberals like Hayek and Friedmann is overt and central to the project of expanding the market. And neoliberalism and the new social conservativism were largely successful in perpetuating state-sanctioned family values – of monogamy, patrimony, and so on – and the family as a main instrument for the distribution of wealth and income – in the form, for example, of asset price inflation, private savings accounts (e.g. IRAs) – throughout at least the Anglo-speaking countries. This success in re-inventing the family both drew on early-modern poor law tradition and incorporated non-normative family forms (e.g., the gay family) of the 21st century. Despite the evident centrality of the family to the neoliberal social order, academic accounts of neoliberalism tend to relegate the defense of family values “much to the flotsam and jetsam floating above the real story of monumental wealth redistribution and class warfare” (Cooper, p 22). What does this constant forgetting of the familiality and sociality of political economy reveal about our affinities? What may it mean to center the family in research on political economy and world systems? How does centering the family shape the extent to which our analyses pay attention to capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy?
Marion Dixon, Point Park University; mdixon@pointpark.edu

Published by marionwdixon

I am a full-time faculty member in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA.

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