Practice Job Talk | Hope Harvey


About this event :

Hope Harvey is a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University. She completed her Ph.D. in sociology and social policy at Harvard University. She studies questions related to poverty and inequality, family and household complexity, and housing and residential decision-making. Her main line of research examines the experiences of families with children who live in doubled-up households and the consequences of these arrangements.

Economic Exchange and Relational Work within Doubled-up Households

Doubling up, or sharing a home, is an important and increasingly common private safety net. Doubling up often financially benefits both householders and guests, as guests receive housing but generally contribute towards household expenses. Drawing on 173 in-depth interviews with 60 parents, I ask how doubled-up household members understand and contest their economic relationships. I argue that the success of intra-household economic exchange depends on not only the amounts exchanged, but also the shared meanings behind these exchanges. Without institutionalized expectations guiding doubled-up household relationships, household members are able to draw upon competing norms, framing the household as either a family-like solidarity unit or market-like direct exchange. While disagreement over economic relationships are common, multigenerational households often benefit from more established norms to guide their relationships compared to other doubled-up household types. Additionally, some households are able to establish clear terms of exchange, either through direct negotiation or because support only flows one way. This study sheds new light on the economic and social dynamics of doubled-up households, with lessons for our understanding of social support relationships. Additionally, by highlighting the importance of shared conceptions of relationships for household economic arrangements, the findings provide new insight into the link between incomplete institutionalization and household functioning.

 

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