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Material objects, identity and the home: towards a relational housing research agenda

Jacobs, K and Malpas, J 2013 , 'Material objects, identity and the home: towards a relational housing research agenda' , Housing Theory and Society, vol. online , pp. 1-12 .

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Although it is understood that the home constitutes one of the ways that individu- als articulate a sense of self-identity, housing researchers have largely focussed on the sym- bolic meaning of home. In our paper, we seek to extend the field of housing studies by exploring the relational effects of the home. Our two key arguments are the following: first, the objects have effects that are independent of our awareness of them, and second, the formation of self is constituted in relation to the material world rather than through a separated interiority. We begin our paper with a number of observations about research on the home and the ways that sociologists and anthropologists have viewed the significance of material objects. In the main part of our paper, we draw upon Proust’s novel In Search of Lost Time to illustrate our arguments. In the conclusion, we consider how Proust’s novel might be used as a resource for a more extensive “relational” housing research agenda.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Jacobs, K and Malpas, J
Keywords: Home, identity, subjectivity, relationality, Proust
Journal or Publication Title: Housing Theory and Society
ISSN: 1403-6096
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