Missing Bodies? the Visual Landscape of Home and Its Meanings to Solo-Living People

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 9:30 AM
Room: 417
Oral Presentation
Lucie GALCANOVA , Faculty of Social Studies, Office for Population Studies, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
Barbora VACKOVÁ , Faculty for Social Studies, Office for Population Research, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
Michaela KVAPILOVÁ BARTOšOVÁ , Faculty for Social Studies, Office for Population Research, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
Not only presence of other bodies, but also the absence of bodies of others has a significant effect on the contemporary experience of domesticity and belonging. In her classical study on home as a tyranny, anthropologist Mary Douglas (1991) addresses solo-living only once, mentioning that conflict between persons is just transformed into conflict of wants within one person. In that sense, the normativity of home in terms of routines created via the relations of its various members is produced by the single member who has to discipline him- or herself. Goffmanesque “backstage” of home becomes a highly important “onstage” via internalized social norms or aesthetics. In our research we focused on home-centred and home-generating practices performed by the occupants themselves, or between the occupants and the materiality of their dwellings and other non-human players (e.g. things, animals). In this paper, we will present the photo essay based both on 1) visual diaries, where photographs and texts were taken and written by participating dwellers focusing on mundane routines and everyday situations (of “doing nothing”) as well as on the moments of significant ruptures and changes, and 2) on visual material collected by participating researchers during the research events using go-along ethnography in the dwellings. Both are then interpreted in relation to other written or oral narratives produced within different phases of the research project aiming to understand how the meaning of home is constructed by solo-living men and women, which practices they use to create, maintain, experience and imagine their homes in space and time, and how they position themselves within wider social networks, family and society. We are seeking for more fluid, open and empirically grounded concept of home based not on essentialism and normativity, but rather on performativity and it’s becoming-into-being through active bodies, dynamic meanings and mundane aesthetics.