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Home Economics: A Documentary of Suburbia

by Jenny Cool

An ethnographic look at the American Dream of homeownership.

As mortgage market "meltdowns" and the environmental crisis bespeak its wider consequences, HOME ECONOMICS bursts the bubble of the American Dream of homeownership and reveals the deep human costs of suburbanization and automobilization. In candid interviews, two working mothers and a teenager speak about the social tolls of long daily commutes, racism, crime, the Protestant work ethic, and the meaning of home. Subtly and sensitively, the film explores the relation between our built environment and our daily lives, revealing a sad irony—home ownership is often achieved at the expense of the very values a home is said to represent.

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quoteHOME ECONOMICS is a stunningly original and shocking glimpse of the consequences of postmodern urbanism. It is compulsory viewing for anyone interested in the contemporary city.
Michael Dear, Professor of Geography University of Southern California

quote...of great utility to teaching on a variety of urban issues from urban planning to community and ethnic relations...HOME ECONOMICS is terrific! It bursts the bubble of the great American Dream of suburban home ownership and sensitively reveals the deep human costs of automobilization and suburbanization.
Philippe Bourgois, Professor of Anthropology
San Francisco State University

quoteA wonderful piece of contemporary Americana. This video constructs and documents...the self-delusive discourse in the contemporary suburban reaches of distinctively American aspiration.
George Marcus, Professor of Anthropology
Rice University

quote...filmmaker and anthropologist Jenny Cool probes delicately, gently but insistently in HOME ECONOMICS...Cool scores her artistic points through the often ironic juxtaposition of images with a steady, confident interviewing approach which eventually produces heartfelt honesty from the people with whom she speaks.
New York Daily News

John P. McCarthy
full review

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  • P.O.V. Series, PBS Television Network
  • Act of Video Festival, Downtown Community Television

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