Immigrant Enterprise, Deregulatory Inclusion, and the Flexibilization of Economic Citizenship

Apr 25, 2024, 12:00 pm1:15 pm


Event Description

About the Talk:

For much of the 20th century, the mixing of home and market life, by turning homes into sites of production, exchange, or speculation, was seen as a threat to both family life and to economic security. These practices were stigmatized as racialized informality, regulated by armies of labor, land-use, and code enforcement inspectors, and pathologized for promoting an aberrant domesticity and child labor. However, since the 1970s, diverse forms of what I term “home-based moneymaking” have not only proliferated, but perceptions of them have shifted too. This paper will draw on cases of the regulatory politics of immigrant home-based informality since the 1970s to consider how many of these practices—ranging from home-based production, childcare, and commerce—have become moralized and re-signified practices amid the broader restructuring of the American economy.  I highlight the paradoxical politics of “deregulatory inclusion,” through which the legalization of forms of informality could be promoted as a form of gendered and ethnic inclusion. The broader project from which this talk is one part traces the replacement of the 20th century model of economic citizenship, resting on a carefully regulated family wage and unproductive single-family home, to one where the management of economic insecurity, reproductive labor, and a variety of social crisis could be privatized through the commercialization of home life.


About the Speaker: 

Luis Flores is a Stone Program Postdoc at Harvard University, and incoming Assistant Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley (Fall 2025). Drawing on historical methods, his research examines the regulatory politics at the boundary of home and market, shaping the extent to which homes can serve as sites of production, exchange, and speculation. His previous work examined how early American zoning laws shaped wealth and labor dynamics through the separation of home and market. His current research turns to the contentious blurring of home and market in the post-industrial present. As a Stone Postdoctoral Fellow, Luis is expanding his dissertation, The Regulatory Politics of Home-Based Moneymaking After the American Family Wage, into a book manuscript. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the American Sociological Association (ASA), and received awards from four ASA sections.

  • The Effron Center for the Study of America
  • Program in Latino/a Studies