The discreet power of real estate. Money and housing among the upper classes in the private sector

Money to rule
By Lorraine Bozouls

This article analyses the way in which property wealth reinforces the elite positions of households belonging to the economic fractions of the upper classes. Housing makes it possible to study the uses of money from two different angles: as a consumption good, it reveals spending practices and norms; as an investment good, it supports a speculative attitude towards the future and is a factor of enrichment. Their economic capital gives the households studied purchasing power and enables them to acquire large houses in suburban residential areas in accordance with their socially situated tastes. Wealth also confers the power to set one’s own limits and to be able to minimise one’s wealth in interview while accumulating wealth, especially through the use of credit. But property wealth also sheds light on how this power is unequally distributed within couples, with men retaining decision-making power over spending.

  • upper-classes
  • Wealth
  • Housing
  • consumption
  • gender
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