Habitat as a security: Pledged property and financialisation


The project investigates residential property under conditions of financialisation in Madrid and Berlin. It seeks to find out how property changes when it is used to secure financialised debt relations, which are characterised by the global distribution and concatenation of debts and titles of ownership.

The project establishes a theory of obligation from the perspective of cultural sociology to describe the contractual, material, political and familial duties which transform property into a security for financial products. It uses Madrid and Detroit as its urban laboratories to examine how residential property becomes a stabilising as well as controversial component of social structural change.

Project activities


Academic publications 
  • Tellmann, Ute (forth.): ““Who owns…?” Public Truth and the Forensics of Finance”, In: Berliner Journal für Soziologie (Heftschwerpunkt: Eigentum im städtischen Raum). (2024)
  • Tellmann, U.; Braun, V.; Brandl, B. (2024): "The challenges of assets: Anatomy of an economic form“, In: Economy and Society 53:1, 1-14, https://doi.org/10.1080/03085147.2024.2307779.
  • Tellmann, Ute (2022): “The politics of assetization: from devices of calculation to devices of obligation”, In: Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory 23 (1), 33-54. DOI: 10.1080/1600910X.2021.1991419.
  • Tellmann, Ute (2021): “Immunization, sensibility and the ressentiments of finance”, In: Finance and Society 7 (2), 158-61. DOI: 10.2218/finsoc.v7i2.6638.
Media and podcasts


  • “Wohnen, Wasser und Energie als öffentliche Infrastrukturen: Kommunalisieren, vergesellschaften, enteignen? Gespräche und Debatte mit Gästen aus Zivilgesellschaft, Politik und Wissenschaft”, Jena - Discussions and debate with guests from civil society, politics and science. (05.10.2022)
  • Ute Tellmann;  Lukas Lachenicht; Daniel Kunze: “Der Streit um das Wohnen. Die politische Sprachen der Finanzialisierung”, Lecture in the room of the “Wohnen” series by Forum Siegen. (13.01.2022)


  • Making Publics for Finance – Making Finance Public: Methods and Politics in Studying Finance“, Workshop, Marburg (23.07.2024)
  • “Scripts and Codes - Eigentumscodierung & Assetization”, with Dr. Veit Braun, Dr. Felicitas Sommer; Andreas Dimmelmaier, Darmstadt. (17.11.2022)
  • “Ad Hoc Group on Asset Economy”, with Dr. Veit Braun, Prof. Barbara Brandl, Prof. Fabian Muniesa, Congress of the German Sociological Association (GSA) and the Austrian Sociological Association (ASA) 2021, Vienna. (23.8.2021)

Project Staff