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Manufacturing Debt: The Financialisation of Northern European Housing Regimes

Week 9 of the Spring Term at 15.00-16.00 in the PG Hub 1 will feature Timothy Blackwell from the University of Sussex on “Manufacturing Debt: The Financialisation of Northern European Housing Regimes”.

Timothy's research focuses on the rise of financialisation primarily in Sweden but also elsewhere in northern Europe. His work is extremely important, as it challenges common assumptions connecting increases in household debt with declining standards of living and welfare state retrenchment.

Through an approach combining housing studies and political economy, Timothy's work delineates the discursive and institutional specificities of financialisation in Sweden and northern Europe, which allows for an understanding of rising private indebtedness that is culturally specific, and politically contingent.
In turn, this provides the analytical tools required to explain the 'Swedish case' of bourgeoning levels private indebtedness paralleled with high standards of living and strong welfare provisions.


This project works towards the integration of housing studies within a political economy framework in an attempt to understand the socio-economic and political determinants influencing the burgeoning levels of household debt in Sweden. This project principally tells the story of ‘financialisation’ in Sweden, but its analytical purview extends beyond there to examine the dynamics of this phenomenon elsewhere in northern Europe. The aim is to develop conceptual tools for analysing historical developments in debt, housing and finance and to illustrate the growing economic importance of the housing-finance nexus in the contemporary political economies of northern Europe. Of central concern will be to understand how financialised regimes of accumulation transform housing regimes in unique and contingent ways, and how discursive institutional mechanisms have elicited ‘financialised housing economies’, predicated on household consumption and debt. Key to this research will be to analyse the formative role of fiscal, economic and monetary governance in both bringing about and sustaining the rise of household debt through housing conduits.