Accepted Paper:

Housing as a livelihood strategy: gender, multi-generational households and financial interdependence  


Lucia Petrovičová (Commenius University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper deals with household strategies connected to house proprietorship in Ukraine. Based on anthropological research in Ivanofrankivsk region, it argues that multi-generational financial interdependence represents the main strategy, shifting gendered hierarchies of power between generations.

Paper long abstract:

In contemporary Ukraine, it is almost impossible to acquire a house through mortgage, due to low incomes and high interest rates; however, house or flat ownership is embedded in more complex livelihood strategies of families and households. This paper is based on long term anthropological research in a small district town in western Ukraine, Ivanofrankivsk region. The research shows that my informants were actually quite well shaped to face economic hardship connected with inflation, increasing prices and house proprietorship. Even if during socialism, the housing was allotted by state and most often distributed to young families, social rights officially granted often had to be claimed with help of family, friends or other social networks. These became even more important during the nineties, when the whole state monetary system collapsed and large masses had to rely on self-subsistence, mutual cooperation, pooling household resources etc. I argue that these livelihood strategies, based on cooperation within extended family have paradoxically helped younger generation to start their own family at quite an early age. These strategies also comprise help with raising children, financial support, sending remittances etc. Worth to note, it is most frequently older women, near retirement age who travel abroad to finance studies or housing of their children. This financial interdependence obviously produces gendered hierarchies of power within household, but also allows much appreciated model of young women exclusively taking care of children. On the other hand, it incites criticism on men, supposedly stripped off their manhood and their provider role.

Panel P035
Home loss: house-ownership and credit in the austerity regime