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Centre for Criminal Law and Criminal Justice


Publication details for Professor Lorna Fox O'Mahony

Fox, Lorna (2008). Re-possessing ‘Home’ A re-analysis of Gender, Home Ownership and Debtor Default for Feminist Legal Theory. William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law 14(3): Article 2.
  • Publication type: Journal papers: academic
  • ISSN/ISBN: 1081-549X
  • Keywords: mortgage and repossession and gender and feminist and theory and home
  • View online: Online version
  • Durham research online: DRO record

Author(s) from Durham


The recent crisis in sub-prime mortgage lending in the US has highlighted the risks associated with borrowing money against the security of one’s home. From a macro-economic perspective, rising levels of default, foreclosure and bankruptcy have significant adverse implications for the housing market and the wider economy, both in the US, and as a ripple effect around the world. Debtor default also has major implications for the individuals whose homes are at risk of repossession at the hands of a creditor. This article considers this risk, as well as the reality of losing one’s home, from a gendered perspective. Drawing on empirical evidence relating to the meanings and values of the home for occupiers, including specific analysis of the relationships between women occupiers and their homes, it argues against the traditional rejection of ‘home’ as a positive phenomenon in feminist theory. Building on evidence concerning the experiences of women as home buyers, home occupiers and defaulting debtors, the article calls for a re-conceptualisation of ‘home’ in feminist legal theory.