The Global Household: Toward a Feminist Postcapitalist International Political Economy
Signs, Vol. 36, No. 1, Feminists Theorize International Political Economy Special Issue Editors Shirin M. Rai and Kate Bedford (Autumn 2010), pp. 99-125; The University of Chicago Press
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In what follows, then, we are not only correcting an oversight but attempting to constitute an object of inquiry, policy, and politics where none formerly existed. We begin by locating the global household as a
cognate of two recognizable and relatively respectable theoretical objects— the household and the transnational family. We then attempt to build its credentials as a macroeconomic category by estimating its (considerable) size and representing its consequential role in international finance and production. In the latter part of the article, we explore some potential effects of activating the global household as a political economic concept, looking particularly at three areas of inquiry and activism: globalization,
development, and economic transformation. Specifically, we argue that a prioritizing focus on the global household strengthens the vision of globalization from below; alters the participants, practices, and potentials of economic development; and reconfigures the imaginary of economic transformation. We conclude with an invitation to explore the unknown territory of the future armed with new concepts and a refusal
to accept standard notions of economic power and global unfolding.
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