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Securing the Home Front: The Pursuit of "Natural Living" Among Evangelical Christian Homemakers
Abstract

Abstract:

The pursuit of natural living is a project undertaken by a growing number of mostly US white middle class women who embrace homemaking as a transformative practice to secure the home against the increasingly destabilizing effects of economic crisis and endless war. The erosion of the welfare state intensifies the responsibility that falls on women to assume the burden of ensuring the well-being of their families. Women engage in practices of self-discipline and self-transformation in the management of domestic space to protect their family members from the deregulation of food safety and environmental protections. Purging the home of industrial food and household chemicals, learning DIY skills of food production and processing, and learning how to source food directly from small farmers all become part of a joyful process of producing the home as a sovereign space. However, postfeminist configurations that see women as embracing this domestic role as a form of agency must be seen in a complex relationship with neoliberal logics that intensify the need for making the home a stable bulwark in a time of financial instability, job insecurity, and the contraction of the political. The rhetorical and material practices of women who identify as Christian homemakers illuminate the forces reconfiguring domestic space as a place for political agency in the United States post-9/11.



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