Hae Yeon Choo | Urban Studies
Since the 1960s, urban South Korea has seen a series of real estate booms characterised by a huge surge in the construction of apartment complexes and skyrocketing housing prices. In this environment, many South Koreans have begun to view their homes as a source of profit-making. Through in-depth interviews, I examine how women in South Korea have emerged as agents of this urban transformation by engaging in ‘speculative homemaking’, an activity that merges the domestic work of household management with the work of real estate speculation. This article investigates how South Korean women’s gendered practices are embedded in the larger landscape of women’s work for class mobility and reproduction, highlighting class-divergent pathways to homeownership that are propelled by distinct affect – fear, anxiety and ease. Demonstrating how speculative logic pervades the domestic and the everyday, this article foregrounds the significance of gendered labour and affect for the study of urban processes and class formation.