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Gender inequalities and the rise of contemporary domestic space

RITA #20 (pp.20-41). Blind peer reviewed. Ed.RedFundamentos Madrid. November 2023

In the 1980s, the German activist Maria Mies coined the term housewifization to describe the political process through which, for the past 2 centuries, domestic labor has been confined and privatized within the home while being "naturalized" as a work carried out specifically by women.

As a result, the design of contemporary family home is most of the times the result of applying a generic template that, driven by market interests, incorporates by default certain assumptions about the nature of the family that it might contain and the roles that each of its members should play within this basic structure, consolidating one of the most obvious – and still unresolved – social inequalities: that between men and women.

Following feminist activists and thinkers, the text places this inequality at the center of the debate on domestic space and the project of housing analyzing its effects on architecture to reveal how the relationship between space and gender has evolved alongside pervasive socioeconomic systems, and how this circumstance has been mutating our homes into spaces of exploitation and dispossession.

KEYWORDS: housing, gender politics, family, reproductive labor, patriarchy, material feminism, biopolitics, primitive accumulation, familiar horror.

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