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Project II - Meanings & Practices

O. Druta / Dr. R. Ronald



Project two is an exploration of the meaning and use of the home as both a social and market good. Studies have associated the home with important categories of meaning in everyday life: as the centre of family living; a place of safety and retreat; a medium of freedom and independence; a marker of social identity and status. Indeed, the home is a place of being and belonging – and a special centre of meaning – but also constitutes a space in and around which daily affairs and interactions are regulated. In this study particular attention is paid to how individual meanings associated with home and related vernacular housing practices are shaped by, and contribute to local interactions between housing and social systems. Increasingly, the meaning of the home as a commodity has adopted a particular salience along with tenure system shifts, market price augmentation and neoliberal socioeconomic restructuring. Changing housing markets, employment and public welfare conditions have, over time, shaped particular demographic distributions of housing wealth in each country. This has contributed to embedding of housing assets in flows of material and non-material assistance across generations. Project two thus not only addresses the everyday meaning and use of housing, but also how individuals, households and families together perceive and relate to their homes and housing choices in unified ways. Qualitative field studies carried out in the six countries will thereby contribute to a material sociology of the home that accounts for vernacular meanings and practices in relation to cultural and social processes.