“Hotel House Is My Home”. at-Homeness Practices in a Multiethnic Condominium

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: 422
Oral Presentation
The paper focuses on the everyday construction of domesticity ‘away from home’ in a large and isolated condominium, called Hotel House, primarily inhabited by migrants (95% of the residents) and situated in a small Italian city (Porto Recanati, Mc).

It firstly analyzes home-making practices as forms of spatial appropriation strongly related to emotion and nostalgia, as well to more pragmatic needs and material resources. Migrants living in Hotel House re-territorialize themselves inside the condominium breathing new life into their own memory, flavors and smells. They create new domestic spaces imbued by personal and collective identities looking for a sense of continuity and "comfort". As comfort we intend a ‘background mood of well-being, trust and confidence’ and the ‘fit’ we experience in relation to the space  we  inhabit  and  the  practices  we  perform’  (Noble  2005: 114).

The paper secondly outlines “at-homeness” practices (Seamon 1979) of people coming from different countries and related to different patterns of house ownership and analyzes “home” not as an essence but as a process of production, reproduction and construction of space, bearing in mind the importance of the socio-spatial dialectic (Soja 1980).

It thirdly highlights how these practices often break the boundaries between private and public spaces creating new “parochial spaces” and how these uses of spaces are frequently perceived by autochthonous people as unfamiliar, strange and disturbing.

In conclusion the paper intends to outline how people’s relationships to their own domestic places are an ever-changing, dynamic phenomenon and how these re-territorialization dynamics are a central part of the human being-in-the-world.