An ethnographic look at suburban sprawl and its social costs

...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, Richard Perry University Professor of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania

While mortgage market meltdowns and environmental crises bespeak its large scale consequences, Home Economics bursts the bubble of the American Dream of homeownership to reveal 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, racial tensions, crime, the Protestant work ethic, and the meaning of home. Subtly and sensitively, Home Economics explores the relation between the built environment and the daily lives of residents of a bedroom community outside Los Angeles whose testimony reveals a sad irony—home ownership is often achieved at the expense of the very values a home is said to represent.


HOME 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 City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley

A 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, University of California, Irvine

HOME ECONOMICS is a pure use of the documentary format and a model of how to evoke the general from the particular. 

John P. McCarthy, Variety

...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.

Eric Mink, New York Daily News