ICS Seminar - Emma Power, Kate Huppatz and Emma Mitchell

Households: Changing Economic and Social Function during COVID

Event Details:

Date and Time: Thursday, 5 May, 11:30am - 1:00pm

Location: Building EZ, Conference Room 1, Parramatta South Campus, Western Sydney University

Chair: Yinghua Yu

Panellists: Emma Power, Kate Huppatz and Emma Mitchell


With COVID lockdowns, the household has accumulated power, new pressures and modified meanings. Homily spaces become saturated with contradictory affects: boredom, comfort, frustration, delight, panic. Habits and relations are renegotiated through a mix of these fluctuating household moods, government mandates, and care, work and study demands. As sites of production, homes need also to zone times and places for the conduct of paid and unpaid labour. The laws of the house – origins of the word “economy” – reassert their role at wider scales of social and economic activity.

Equally, precarious, unaffordable, crowded or surveilled housing serves to compound lockdown effects and delineate new dimensions of inequality. Zones of housed life – vertical towers, or suburbs west of an arbitrary dividing line – become subject to states of emergency whose stigmatising effects last long past curfews and mandates.

How should we now think of the household, and the functions it performs? This week we bring together scholars whose work has been critical to an understanding of housing and homes as sites of care, labour and governance. Associate Professor Emma Power works on urban geography, housing inequity and the politics of care. Dr Emma Mitchell researches welfare and multicultural life in high density urban environments. Together they collaborate on an ARC ‘Shadow Care Infrastructures: Sustaining Life in Post-welfare Cities’, a project deeply engaged with this week’s topic. Associate Professor Kate Huppatz studies questions of gender, motherhood, households and labour, and recently co-authored “A Sociology of COVID-19”, no less central to the panel’s concerns. Doctoral student Yinghua Yu chairs the panel, and contributes her own insights as a scholar of professional Chinese women in Australia.


Emma Power

https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/ics/people/school_based_researchers/emma_power (opens in a new window)

Emma Mitchell

https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/ics/people/researchers/emma_mitchell (opens in a new window)

Kate Huppatz

https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/staff_profiles/WSU/associate_professor_kate_huppatz (opens in a new window)