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Housing on the frontier of uneven development and social struggles on Europe's eastern periphery

Conference contribution
Authors Agnes Gagyi
Zs Pósfai
Published in 13th Conference of the European Sociological Association. Athens: 29 august - 01 september
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Language en
Links https://www.europeansociology.org/
https://www.europeansociology.org/s...
Subject categories Sociology

Abstract

One of the frontiers where reorganizations of accumulation meet social resistance in the present crisis of capitalism is that of housing. Financialized capital is (yet again) redirected towards investment in the built environment, and specifically housing; social struggles arise from the threats this poses to social reproduction. Cities have been pointed out as a prominent arena for the politicization of conflicts between accumulation and social reproduction for long. Although this process unfolds globally, it is concretely articulated in variegated ways on different points of the global economy. Our approach connects insights on the urban frontier to a long-term dynamic view on localized aspects of uneven development, and asks how present conflicts in the field of housing are situated within that context. We discuss the case of present dynamics of the Hungarian housing market and the structuring forces of public policies in this field. We argue that the housing market is an important driver of uneven development on various scales. One such aspect we identify in the dynamics of the urban-rural divide as a local polarization between metropolitan and satellite functions of world-economic integration. We analyze strategic problems of housing movements in Hungary today against the background of structural hierarchies produced through Hungary’s long-term integration into global accumulation processes. This approach complements our understanding of the complex field of social forces within which housing conflicts are set, and provides a specific angle on the strategic questions they face as they strive to give political articulation to systemic tensions.

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