Culture of Mortgage-based Homeownership in Crisis

Jane Zavisca, Associate Professor of Sociology

With Confluencenter’s Faculty Collaboration Grant, Sociology Associate Professor Jane Zavisca and Marilyn Robinson (CAPLA) launched a new research agenda that challenges mainstream conceptions of American homeownership, based on archival research on the history of mortgage marketing, and interviews with homeowners in Tucson. They also organized a two-day symposium at UA with national and local experts on homeownership. Additionally, a paper from that research emerged, Financing a Woman’s Place: The Gendered Marketing of Mortgages in the 1920s, which was accepted in the 2013 Consumer Culture Theory Network conference and was part of the “Reformulations of Domesticity in Times of Unstable Boundaries” panel discussion.

This project, combined with Zavisca’ prior investigation of mortgages in Russia, evolved into a large-scale comparative investigation. “The Confluencenter grant supported new research on how Americans understand the relationship between mortgages and ownership,” Zavisca said. “This research enabled me to connect local, global and historical developments in mortgages and homeownership in new ways. This work inspired a comparative project with significant external funding.”  In 2013, the Department of Defense’s Minerva Research Initiative awarded Dr. Zavisca, as a collaborator with Principal Investigator Dr. Ted Gerber, a $3.7 million  grant for the five-year investigation of the links between homeownership and societal stability in Eurasia. (Read about it here.) In 2015, Newsweek featured an opinion piece from Gerber and Zavisca arguing for American policies that embrace the exchange of ideas and cultural products among the U.S. and former Soviet states.

Last updated on March 27, 2017.